‘Worry and confusion’ over housing benefit cuts

Housing benefits cuts are causing worry and confusion among families with children, according to research published by the housing charity Shelter. Families are generally confused about forthcoming benefit changes, and those faced with housing benefit cuts have no strategies to cope, it was found.

These interim findings come from an in-depth qualitative study of 18 participants living in London in the private rented sector. All the participants have children and are receiving housing benefit. 

Key findings

  • There is a lack of awareness about the new universal credit system, and confusion over the distinction between it and the benefit cap.
  • There is also a high level of confusion surrounding changes to benefit entitlements.
  • All participants were worried about any potential reductions in their housing benefit entitlement: but most felt unable to say in practical terms how they would cope with any reduction.
  • Those affected by a reduction in local housing allowance felt there was little they could do until they were evicted by their landlord or taken to court for rent arrears.
  • Reductions in benefit entitlements were perceived by some as an additional incentive to find work, but not as a 'trigger'.

Source: Natalie Cass, The Experiences of Families Claiming Housing Benefit During a Time of Cuts and Changes to Benefits: An Interim Report, Shelter
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Publication date: 
May 17 2013