Your Member of Parliament for Harrow East

Andrew Percy MP

Housing Benefit – 9th November

Speaking again about the proposed reforms of Housing Benefit, Bob made clear the bureaucratic implications for those wishing to claim. Many individuals who claim benefits have to go to Jobcentre Plus, the pensions authority, the disability and carers service, their local authority and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. If they are on jobseeker's allowance they may have to swap between that and incapacity benefit, claiming the money from the same agency yet having to claim again. It costs £1 billion to merely administer the budget.


Bob Blackman MP said:
“What must we do to reform it? First, we must look at the costs involved in housing benefits. As we have said, this is the first stage in simplifying the country's benefit system, making it more effective, reasonable and transparent, and changing it into a system that encourages people to go to work. In my constituency people frequently say to me, "I can't get a house for love nor money." The advice given to them by the local authority is, "We can't provide you with a council house, but what we can do is this: you go into private sector rental accommodation, and housing benefit will pay for it." If people in that situation follow that advice but then have the temerity to get a job, they lose housing benefit pound for pound, which is, of course, an immediate disincentive to getting a job. What we have to do is make sure that any reform of the whole housing benefit regime transforms it so that work always pays.

The Housing Director and Harrow Council has stated that “that 3,040 families will be affected by the change, and the borough will seek to ensure that the rents fall and adjust to the levels of housing benefit that are applicable-although that still distorts the housing market. Some 3,000 properties out of more than 100,000 in the borough will be affected, so this involves a small percentage of people.” Bob Blackman questioned the Housing Director about what he would do about the families who might lose their houses and the figure was reduced to only 80. Bob has successfully achieved commitments from the council that they will challenge private sector landlords to reduce their rents and ensure that no one is made homeless. Bob has made clear his commitment to the building of new and affordable housing for an ever increasing population.

To read the debate in full, follow this link:


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