Tenants to lose £1.9m in benefits

Luton tenants are expected to lose around £1.9m a year in housing benefit after a new Benefit Cap was enacted by the government on Boxing Day.

Around 500 households in Luton will see their income reduce as the revised cap introduced by central Government takes effect, cutting the amount of benefits families and individuals can receive.

The cap limits the amount of benefit a working age household can get. If a household’s total benefits are above the limit, their housing benefit is cut so they get no more than the benefit cap amount.

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It is anticipated by Luton Borough Council that around 2,000 children in the borough will be living in families affected by the benefit cap.

Robin Porter, corporate director at LBC, said: “Once again decisions made by central Government will have a knock on effect for residents in Luton.

“A significant number of Luton households are facing a bleaker Christmas and new year due to roll out of the new benefit cap limit in December. This is on top of the 141 families who lost up to £116 a week more from their housing benefit in November.”

In November 2016 the benefit cap was reduced from £500 a week to £385 a week for families whose benefits were already capped. 141 Luton families lost up to an additional £116 a week from their housing benefit on top of reductions they had already seen.

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From December 26 2016, the £385 a week benefit cap limit will apply to the remainder of couples and families claiming housing benefit whose income is above the new cap limit. Single people without children will also see their limit reduced from £350 a week to £258 a week.

Households in receipt of working tax credit; single claimants working over 30 hours, single claimants with children working over 16hours or couples with children working over 24hours are exempt from the cap.

Mr Porter added: “Rising rents in Luton mean that private tenants with two children will be affected. The council expects that Luton tenants will lose approximately £1.9 million a year from their housing benefit and that nearly 2000 children in Luton will be living in families affected by the benefit cap.

“We know that this will be a huge shock to many people and our specialist welfare reform team is working hard to help local people who are likely to be affected. Our excellent team will assess the needs of those affected and provide access to integrated support including financial advice and employment services to assist individuals into work and out of the cap.”

Any Luton resident who is affected by the benefit cap or who has concerns they may be affected, can contact LBC on 01582 548891 or 01582 548892.