Angela Crawley raises impact of Housing Benefit changes on refuges and supported accommodation

Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley has written to the Minister in charge of Welfare Reform seeking assurance that supported accommodation will be exempt from the proposed housing benefit changes.

The local MP has asked Lord Freud for urgent clarification around the proposal which would set the housing element of benefit claims to Local Housing Allowance (LHA) levels – far lower than what is needed to cover rent and service charges in refuges and supported accommodation.

Commenting, Angela said:

“There needs to be urgent clarification on how far this proposed cap on housing benefit will go when it comes to the most vulnerable people living in refuge and supported accommodation.

“Women’s Aid Groups – including those in my own constituency – have raised serious concerns that changes to Housing Benefit could force the closure of many refuges.

“This would have a devastating impact on the people who rely on these services such as women and children fleeing domestic violence, disabled people and those affected by homelessness as we know that rent and service charges in supported accommodation is significantly higher than the LHA rate.

“The Government have failed to provide any assurance that supported housing would be exempted from these proposals and it is completely unacceptable that refuges have been put in such a state of uncertainty over these plans.

“The Minister should move immediately to exclude supported accommodation including references from any proposed changes to the LHA rate.”