Labour councillor says Government welfare reforms are hitting families on low incomes

The latest round of welfare reforms are another example of the Government hitting families who can least afford it, a Labour councillor has claimed.

A new cap on the amount of benefits a household can claim is set to be introduced later this year.

Around 60 families are likely to be affected by the move, along with 15 who saw benefits capped in a previous round of welfare reforms.

Cllr Sue Woodward

Cllr Sue Woodward

Cllr Sue Woodward, leader of the Labour opposition group on Lichfield District Council, said the move smacked of financially punishing certain sectors of society.

“Far from us ‘all being in it together’ this Government is yet again hitting those on the lowest incomes and without the range of choices that many of us enjoy,” she said. “Whether they are elderly or disabled or, as we’ve seen with the closure of the Foyer, vulnerable young people, they are being hit financially on every front.

“In the sort of decent and fair society we would all want, this simply isn’t just, especially when those with far higher incomes are being given tax breaks.”

The new measures will see families restricted to £20,000 a year – a fall of £6,000 from the current levels.

A report to Lichfield District Council’s community, housing and health overview and scrutiny committee warned that some people may find it “increasingly difficult to afford their rental payments” under the new system.

The report added that a limit on the amount of rent payment covered in line with the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate could also add to the woes of some residents.

It continued: ““There is a more signifiant issue for social housing tenants who are elderly, learning disabled etc living in supported housing where the costs of their tenancy – because of the additional support provided – will be above the LHA rate.

“Bromford has 238 sheltered and extra care tenancies affected, plus 22 units of temporary accomodation. The estimated shortfall between current cost and LHA-capped housing benefit has been estimated at £500,000 per annum.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

3 Comments

  1. Concerned citizen

    6th June, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Is this the leader of the opposition on LDC where councillors have just voted for a 15% increase in their allowances? Strikes me that there is an inconsistency in the words and actions here when reviewing the council cuts.

    We need the citizens of Lichfield to call their councillors to account.

  2. Rob

    6th June, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    £20,000 a year seems quite enough money for doing nothing.

  3. Mat

    6th June, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    A few weeks ago, I met a guy in the library. He has been in there 27/7 applying for jobs and has done so for 4 months. Don’t assume that just because someone is in need of benefit, that they are doing nothing. With an average rent of £650 per month, rising energy prices, increased motoring costs etc- £20,000 is hardly being in the lap of luxury. What encourages me is that most people in society don’t think so either.

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