Government under pressure to scrap benefit penalty for poor behaviour

A coalition of 27 organisations has called on the government to
scrap proposals to cut housing benefit of people accused of
antisocial behaviour, branding the measures ‘discriminatory,
ineffective and ill-conceived’, writes Clare

The Department for Work and Pensions issued a consultation
document on housing benefit sanctions to local authorities in May.
But on the final day of consultation on Tuesday, the group said the
plans were likely to lead people further into poverty and create

The coalition, including Shelter, Barnardo’s, Help the
Aged, Citizens Advice and Nacro, said that far from ending
antisocial behaviour it will simply move those involved and their
disruptive behaviour on to a new set of neighbours.

Ben Jackson, Shelter’s director of external affairs, said:
“I hope the government sees sense and listens to all those
– the local authorities, the tenants groups, the legal
profession, housing professionals and charities – who have
spoken out against this proposal and realise that it is not part of
the solution.”

Earlier this month, the Local Government Association, which has
joined the coalition, branded the measures –  first set out in the
antisocial behaviour white paper published in March –
“discriminatory”, as there was no equal penalty
earmarked for offenders who did not receive benefits.

The government faced further criticism over its plans to tackle
antisocial behaviour last month when a coalition of 13 charities
said plans to disperse groups of young people and return under-16s
to their homes – outlined in the Antisocial Behaviour Bill –
are likely to breach human rights legislation.

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