Over 420 households in Rugby could have their housing benefit cut by up to 25 per cent from Monday - yet there is a “concerning lack of awareness” about the changes, according to borough councillors.
Changes mean that from April 1 claimants living in social housing that have extra bedrooms will have their housing benefit reduced by 14 per cent for one bedroom, and 25 per cent for two or more. It means that on average the 420 social households affected will be £53 a month worse off. In addition to this people of working age on benefits will pay a percentage of their council tax where this has been fully covered by Council Tax Benefit previously.
Not everyone is happy with the changes, and David Gooding, district manager of Rugby Citizens Advice Bureau, said: “These benefit changes are going to hit those on the lowest incomes including vulnerable people and those working on low incomes. It has not been well thought through and the reforms are being rushed through with little regards to personal circumstances. For instance there is a shortage of one bedroom properties so even where people are prepared to move there is little or no choice of properties available so will be penalised.”
Since last autumn, borough welfare reform officers have visited every tenant affected by under-occupation and given them individual advice based on their circumstances.