An extra £5.9m of Government funding has been allocated to councils across London to help benefit claimants renting in the private sector.
The funds are part of a £49m package that will be allocated to British councils to help with the transition to new Housing Benefit rules until 2015. This is on top of the £130m Discretionary Housing Payments and the £10m for homelessness prevention in London.
The funds will help residents and councils to renegotiate their rents with landlords and find more affordable properties.
Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said:
The cost of paying Housing Benefit in the private rented sector has nearly doubled in a decade, so it’s only right that we introduce new reforms to get these spiralling costs under control. The additional £5.9m funding for London will help councils to prepare and assist residents make the transition.
We are already seeing councils pulling together to create innovative projects to target support for tenants and work with landlords to renegotiate rents or find affordable properties.
We look forward to councils continuing to work together and with local groups to make the very best use of these new resources.
Last year, 10 projects across the UK were created with the first £4m of funding and all councils across Britain will now share the latest £15m slice of funding.
The Government hopes councils will use the first projects as examples of how they can pool resources and co-operate to support residents.
Projects established last year are seeing councils co-operating and working with a range of voluntary bodies including:
- A social letting agency targeting landlords in eight local authorities in East London provided by the East London Housing Partnership;
- An advice service across six local authorities provided by the North London Housing Partnership with voluntary organisation Islington People’s Rights.
- A digital service covering 50,000 households across five local authority areas in West Yorkshire provided by Kirklees Council.
- A software package available to 168 local authorities to highlight people affected.
- An advice and information website for all 22 counties across Wales run by Cardiff City Council.
- Proactive targeting of claimants who may need support by the London Borough of Lambeth with homelessness charity Broadway and also by a specialist team in the London Borough of Brent.
Notes to Editors
- Details showing the allocations can be found at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/s1-2012.pdf
- The housing benefit bill for Great Britain hit £21.4bn in 2010/11 up from £11.2bn in 2000/01
- In some parts of London, the Government is prepared to pay up to £20,000 a year in Housing Benefit, so there is no reason why anyone should be left without a home.
- On 30 November 2010, Ministers announced funding of £49 million to support the transition to the Housing Benefit changes that were announced at the June 2010 Budget.
- We allocated £4 million for 2011/12 through a bidding process, with 10 successful bids from local authorities. A further £15 million per year will be allocated in 2013/14 and 2014/15.
- The £15m funding for 2012/13 will be distributed to councils based on the expected needs of the area.
- A total of almost £190 million has been made available to smooth the transition over the spending review period including £130m Discretionary Housing Payments and £10m for homelessness prevention in London.
- The 10 successful bidders in 2011/12 are available here: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2011/aug-2011/dwp095-11.shtml