Plans to withdraw housing benefit criticised

Government proposals to cut housing benefit for families who
commit anti-social behaviour have been condemned by homelessness charity
Shelter, writes Sally Gillen.

Shelter said the measure, which would see
tenants who were convicted of anti-social behaviour twice in three years lose
their housing benefit for up to a year, would do nothing to tackle the problem.

Instead, it would exacerbate poverty and
housing need among some of the poorest families, the charity said.

Shelter’s director of external affairs Ben
Jackson added: “This idea simply will not work. Taking away housing benefit
will make families homeless and local authorities will then have to house them
in expensive temporary accommodation.”

He added that the benefit system was already
complex and poorly administered.

“Trying to use it as a means of social control
will only make matters worse,” he said.

The plans, which follow the announcement last
week that the parents of truants may have their child benefit cut, were
developed as part of a private members bill by former social security minister
Frank Field and have received their second reading in the House of Commons.

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