Bishop of Durham asks Government about impact of benefit cap on larger families

Durham161117On the 23rd January 2018 the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler received a written answer to a question about the impact of the benefit cap on larger families:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many families with three or more children have been affected by the benefit cap in each month since April 2017; how many children were included in each affected family; how many families were (1) lone parent families or (2) two-parent families; and how many of those families had one or more parents in work. [HL4636]

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Votes: Benefit Cap (Housing Benefit and Universal Credit) (Amendment) Regulations 2016

On 8th November 2016, Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope moved “that this House regrets that the Government have not, in advance of the entry into force of the Benefit Cap (Housing Benefit and Universal Credit) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/909), made additional support available to those individuals affected by the benefit cap to find work.” The Bishops of Leeds, the Rt Reverend Nick Baines spoke in the debate on the motion and took part in the subsequent vote on it: Continue reading “Votes: Benefit Cap (Housing Benefit and Universal Credit) (Amendment) Regulations 2016”

Welfare Reform Bill: Bishop of Durham speaks in favour of measures to aid supported housing

On the 27th January 2016 the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke during the second day of the Report  Stage of the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill. The Bishop spoke in support of an amendment in the name of Lord Best, to exclude supported housing from the proposed social housing rent reduction.

Bp Durham June 2015 b

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government about postcode lottery in direct housing payments

StAlbans171115On the 22nd December 2015 Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked Her Majesty’s Government “how they propose to respond to the results of the Evaluation of Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy: Final Report.” The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith asked a supplementary question.

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Bishop of Derby – Housing Benefit, Human Trafficking, Forced Labour (Written Answers)

On 18th August 2014, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, received answers to five written questions on the topics of housing benefit, human trafficking and forced labour.

Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing

Bishop of DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to increase the availability of suitable housing for housing benefit claimants eligible for the under-occupancy charge who are willing but unable to move to smaller accommodation due to a lack of social housing available.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon): The 2015-18 Affordable Housing Programme encourages housing providers to build social homes of sizes that match local household needs. Of the successful bids so far, 77% have been for 1 and 2 bedroom homes. This will make more housing available for households in social housing who wish to downsize.

The Government has also taken steps to support mobility among tenants in the social rented sector. Our social housing reforms have given councils and social landlords much more flexibility in the allocation of housing. Our statutory guidance on social housing allocations encourages local authorities to prioritise under-occupying tenants wishing to move, and to consider whether there are provisions in their allocation scheme that might make it difficult for under-occupiers to move. In February, we issued a guide to help landlords facilitate mutual exchanges; the guide highlights various steps landlords can take to make mutual exchange a more attractive and viable proposition for tenants. The introduction of the national HomeSwap Direct scheme has made it easier for tenants wanting to move to find a suitable property. Since its launch in October 2011, tenants have carried out over 18 million searches of the property data held on HomeSwap Direct. The Government has also made clear its intention to introduce a Right to Move for social tenants who need to move to take up a job or be closer to work – we intend to consult soon on proposals.

In addition, many social landlords (both housing associations and councils) are helping affected tenants to move to more suitable accommodation by holding “mutual exchange fairs” (where tenants who want to downsize can meet with tenants who want a larger property), running transfer incentive schemes, and repairing properties which are being swapped through mutual exchange.

(via Parliament.uk) Continue reading “Bishop of Derby – Housing Benefit, Human Trafficking, Forced Labour (Written Answers)”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about impact of the under-occupancy charge on household debt and child poverty

On 30th July 2014, the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Rev Alan Smith, received answers to two written questions on the impact of the under-occupancy charge, on household debt and child poverty.

The questions and answers are reproduced in full below:

Bishop of St Albans

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to mitigate the impact of the under-occupancy charge on household debt.[HL1588]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): The removal of the spare room subsidy was a necessary change in order to get the housing benefit bill under control, return fairness to the system and make better use of social housing stock. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about impact of the under-occupancy charge on household debt and child poverty”

Bishop of St Albans Receives Answers to Questions on Social Housing

On 30th July 2014, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith, received answers to two written questions on the social impacts of the under-occupancy charge from the Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord Freud.

Bishop of St AlbansThe Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to mitigate the impact of the under-occupancy charge on household debt.[HL1588] 

Lord Freud: The removal of the spare room subsidy was a necessary change in order to get the housing benefit bill under control, return fairness to the system and make better use of social housing stock.

For those that are vulnerable and who may require more time to make the transition to change, the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme administered by local authorities is available. Money management and budgeting and debt advice is also provided by many local authorities and social sector landlords. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans Receives Answers to Questions on Social Housing”

Bishop of St Albans receives answers to written questions on benefits, electricity and housing

On 12th May 2014, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, received answers to three written questions on benefits, electricity and housing.

Benefits

14.03 Bishop of St AlbansThe Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the financial impact on people on low incomes of uprating most cash benefits and tax credits by one per cent from April 2013 rather than in line with inflation.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): For 2013/14, the main rates of working-age benefits, statutory payments and tax credits were up-rated by one per cent in the Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2013. The Welfare Benefits Up-rating Act 2013 provided for the one per cent increase to apply for 2014/15 and 2015/16. Both of these were accompanied by Impact Assessments.

As part of his ongoing public sector equality duty under the Equality Act 2010 to monitor impacts on “protected groups”, the Secretary of State continues to monitor the impacts of the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Act 2013 in light of any changes to the underlying rate of inflation. The underlying rate of inflation for increases in 2014/15 is similar to that forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility and used in the Impact Assessment. It is therefore likely that the impacts on affected households will be broadly similar to those detailed in the Impact Assessment.

(via Parliament.uk)

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Bishop of St Albans seeks clarification on underoccupancy charge contingency plans

The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Lord Bishop of St Albans asked a supplementary question relating to the underoccupancy charge and its impact on tenants. The Bishop asked about tenants in the North of England and Wales who believed they would be unable to pay their rent in full due to the introduction of the new charge for an empty bedroom. Lord Freud responded to say 14.03 Bishop of St Albansduring the transition the Government were making available adequate funds for discretionary housing payments.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effect of the underoccupancy charge on tenants.

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Bishop of St Albans calls for extension of discretionary housing payments to rural areas

Baroness Quin asked Her Majesty’s Government what recent discussions they have had with local authorities about the costs associated with implementing the underoccupancy charge.

The Bishop of St Albans asked a supplementary question:

The Lord Bishop of St Alba14.03 Bishop of St Albansns: My Lords, as affordable rental properties in rural areas are in such shortage, will the Government extend the scheme, which currently applies only to the 21 most sparsely populated districts, and allow more local authorities to use discretionary housing payments to help retain more couples and families in their homes?

Lord Freud: My Lords, that is exactly what the discretionary housing payment is for. It is for local authorities to take decisions, based on their local knowledge, so that they get the funds to the right people. The emerging signs are that we will not spend all the discretionary housing payments this year. I am, however, making sure that a substantial amount of discretionary housing payment goes out next year, for which the total figure will be £165 million.

(via Parliament.uk)