The Work and Pensions Select Committee investigated the impact of changes to Housing Benefit announced in the June 2010 Budget. This is the evidence that BSHF submitted to the select committee.
The Emergency Budget of June 2010 contained a number of measures relating to Housing Benefit. Several of the mechanisms adopted in the budget gave cause for concern, as they are likely to:
- have unintended consequences that minimise the public expenditure savings;
- fail to meet one of the stated aims of the budget: supporting the most vulnerable;
- undermine the core purposes of housing benefit, i.e. provision of access to affordable housing and protection of residual income (the money left to live on after rent);
- remove the link between the level of support with housing costs and actual housing costs.
Portrayals of the housing benefit system being “out of control” are inaccurate. The proposals to rapidly reduce expenditure announced in the emergency budget are likely to have detrimental social and economic effects. However, there is still a clear need for long term reform of housing benefit and the wider system of support with housing costs.