Charity’s legal challenge to housing benefit cutsMake Text Bigger
Plans to slash housing benefit face a court challenge because they are unfair to disadvantaged families with children.
The Child Poverty Action Group has announced they are launching action to take the government to the High Court for a judicial review of benefit changes that take effect from April 1.
The charity is objecting to the policy change on two grounds:
- They go against the fundamental purpose of the housing benefit scheme, which was intended as a national scheme to prevent homelessness
- Ministers have failed to consider equality duties because ethnic minorities and lone parents face a disproportionate effect from the cuts.
The two changes to housing benefit from April 1 involve restricting the maximum home size for private renters claiming housing benefit to four bedrooms and capping the amount paid in benefit.
The new weekly rates cannot exceed £250 for a one bedroom home; £290 for two bedrooms; £340 for three bedrooms or £400 for a four bedroom home.
The Child Poverty Action Group claims these cuts are likely to affect London in particular.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has calculated around 9,000 London households will have to move home.
The Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, Alison Garnham, said: “We have served legal proceedings on the Government to protect Britain from becoming a country where neighbourhoods that have been open to all families to live in for generations become more like a private members club.
“Housing benefit will no longer be the national scheme it is legally meant to be once cuts redesign it as an engine of social segregation. It is not right that families living in certain areas, especially larger families, are punished and pushed aside while parts of Britain become enclaves for the privileged.
“London will be worst affected of all. The cuts will mean the social cleansing of parts of London with families being forced out of their homes and into less suitable, often poor quality and cramped housing.
“Children will be forced to move away from schools, friends, neighbourhoods and family. For some this may include moving away from another parent, most often their dad.
“David Cameron made a clear promise before the election to make British poverty history. We didn’t expect this to mean families being told to pack up and move out of the neighbourhood their parents and grandparents lived in because of the housing market bubble the bankers created and the bankers’ bailout that hit the ordinary taxpayer.”
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