Brent hit the hardest in London by welfare reforms
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Research by Sheffield Hallam University showed the cuts will result in residents losing £150m
Brent residents will suffer the greatest financial loss in London through the government’s controversial welfare reforms, according to new research.
A study carried out by Sheffield Hallam University showed the cuts will result in residents losing £150million in benefit income a year – the highest in the city.
The report also claims affected adults in Brent will lose £680 a year – the third worst in London and the 15th in the UK.
It is estimated around 24,000 residents in the borough are affected by the reforms which were introduced on April 1.
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The research also looked at the affect changes to individual benefits would have on the country’s residents.
Local Housing Allowance where payments for rent in private accommodation would be capped left Brent residents facing a loss of £165 per year - the fourth worst affected in the country.
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The household benefit cap will result in affected adults losing £52 a year – second worst in the county.
Changes to Council Tax benefits will result in residents losing £20 a year – the ninth worst in the country.
Under the new scheme people in receipt of benefits such as Income Support will no longer be entitled to 100 per cent Council Tax benefit payments.
All working age claimants will be required to pay at least a contribution but disabled residents, carers and war veterans will pay no more than £4.99 per week.
Professor Steve Fothergill from Sheffield Hallam’s Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, who led the study alongside colleague Professor Tina Beatty, said: “A key effect of the welfare reforms will be to widen the gaps in prosperity between the best and worst local economies across Britain.
“Our figures also show the Coalition government is presiding over national welfare reforms that will impact principally on individuals and communities outside its own political heartlands.”
Last week the Times reported that community organisations including Brent Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and Brent Community Law Centre (CLC) had issued a warning that thousands of residents would be left debt-ridden and potentially homeless by the changes.
In addition they faced have to pay for previously free legal advice as community law centres were struggling to cope with a £350m cut in legal aid.
Jacqueline Carr, director of Brent CAB, said residents were being ‘pushed over the edge’, she added: “The bureau finds itself under growing strain, providing an essential service to Brent residents at the receiving end of such punitive changes to the benefit system.”
The department for work and pensions (DWP) claim the changes will make work pay, improve support for disabled people, and help ensure the benefit system is financially sustainable in the future, while still supporting those who need it.