Chair of the LGA’s Resources Board, Cllr Richard Watts, responds to the Work and Pensions Committee’s report which found that vulnerable groups have been worst affected by welfare reforms.
“Vulnerable groups, including single parent families and disabled people, are being most affected by changes to welfare.
“While councils support the principle of Universal Credit (UC) to incentivise work and increase income from employment, concerns remain about funding reductions for the programme, the impact of the ongoing freeze to working age benefits and the shortfall in housing benefit.
“The ongoing challenges of rolling out UC mean that for many households debt and rent arrears are rising. When councils are facing a £8 billion funding gap by 2025, this is putting extra pressure on council funding and benefits services and their ability to provide wider support to low income households.
“The Prime Minister needs to use the Spending Review to restore funding to councils for local welfare assistance schemes and increase the Local Housing Allowance, enabling councils to support tenants at risk of homelessness in the short-term and providing the local safety net needed to help those struggling to cope with welfare reforms, including the roll out of Universal Credit.”
Notes to editors
- The LGA is calling for Local Housing Allowance rates to be lifted back up to at least the 30th percentile of local rental markets, which has been frozen since 2016 and is set to remain frozen until 2020. More information can be found here.
- Councils in England face an overall funding gap of £8 billion by 2025. The LGA’s #CouncilsCan campaign calls on the new Prime Minister to ensure the forthcoming Spending Review secures the future of vital local services and the long-term financial sustainability of councils. Visit our campaign page for more information, here.