Councillor slams benefit cuts rolled out this month

Cllr Harbi Farah believes the cuts "only serve to make life harder for those who can least afford it

Cllr Harbi Farah believes the cuts "only serve to make life harder for those who can least afford it". - Credit: Archant

Brent Council has announced that residents claiming housing benefit may find themselves out of pocket as government cuts take effect.

The change will see the introduction of a lower weekly limit, known as the overall benefit cap, for the total amount of welfare benefits a household can recieve.

Couples, families, and single parents living in London and receiving housing benefit will, unless exempt, only be able to receive up to £442.31 per week in total welfare benefits.

A single person will only be able to receive up to £296.35. If more than this amount is received, housing benefit will be reduced to bring it into line with the new cap level.

A full list of the benefits that will be added together to calculate the amount of weekly welfare benefits recieved is below.

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Cllr Harbi Farah, Brent Council’s cabinet member for welfare reform, said: “The majority of our residents who receive support for their housing costs are in work.

“This is just bad policy - in reality, these cuts do nothing to address the deficit, and only serve to make life harder for those who can least afford it.

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“The government knows this and should think again before needlessly punishing hard working people.”

Those not affected include residents recieving Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, the support component of Employment and Support Allowance and Carer’s or Guardian’s Allowance.

Others exempt are those in reciept of Industrial Injuries Benefit and equivalent payments as part of a War Disablement Pension or Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and War Widow or War Widower’s Pension.

The cap will also not apply to claimants working sufficient hours to qualify for Working Tax Credit.

The following benefits will be added together to calculatethe total amount of weekly welfare benefits recieved: Housing Benefit;

Income Support;

Job Seeker’s Allowance;

Employment and Support Allowance (except where it is paid with the support component);

Child Benefit;

Child Tax Credit;

Maternity Allowance;

Incapacity Benefit;

Severe Disablement Allowance;

Widowed Parent’s and Widowed Mother’s Allowance;

Widow’s Pension;

Bereavement Allowance.

A DWP spokesman said: “We are committed to helping people who are able to work into jobs and the benefit cap provides a clear incentive to move into employment for those who can. Anyone eligible for working tax credits, carers allowance, and most disability benefits are exempt from the cap.

“Even with the lower cap, households can still receive benefits up to the equivalent pre-tax salary of £29,000 in London.”

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