You’ve probably already seen this, but new upper limits on housing benefit rates are to be introduced from next April (2011).
For a three bed house, the upper limit will be £340 per week
For a four bed house, the upper limit will be £400 per week
LHA will be limited to between £250 and £400 a week depending on property size. LHA rates will be set using the bottom 30 per cent of rates instead of the median and they will be linked to the consumer prices index rather than the retail prices index, leading to smaller increases.
In London, this is likely to have a very significant impact on those renting privately (and potentially on those in temporary accommodation, whether provided by LA, RSL or a private leasing arrangement, where rents charged are ridiculously high, if that gets changed too.)
In addition, from April 2013 anyone who has been on Jobseekers Allowance for more than 12 months will see a 10% reduction in housing benefit. According to Grant Shapps this is designed to target people “choosing not to work as a lifestyle thing”.
Meanwhile, Iain Duncan Smith is proposing that new steps should be taken to ‘free up’ under-occupied social housing:
We have tons of elderly people living in houses which they cannot run and we’ve got queues of desperate people with families who are living in one and two-bedroom houses and flats,.
He also raised proposals for Council tenants in areas with low work to be able to move to areas with high work, apparently by putting such people at the top of the housing list in the new area. After all, areas with high work availability are also notorious for the amount of unoccupied social housing in those places.