£4m boost for innovative projects to support Housing Benefit reforms
Written by Scott Buckler   
Thursday, 04 August 2011 10:41

Ten innovative projects will play a key role in restoring fairness to the Housing Benefit system, Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud has announced (August 4th)

New Housing Benefit measures have been introduced to bring fairness back to the system and reduce the spiralling cost of the Housing Benefit bill.

The ten successful projects will get a share of a £4m fund to provide innovative support by working with voluntary organisations, providing free advice to landlords and tenants, creating a digital service to match landlords with tenants, and providing digital support to hundreds of local authorities. This funding is part of a total of £190m of extra financial help over the spending review period.

These measures will help put an end to rapid growth in private sector rents and lead to fewer people being put off work through fear of losing their benefits.

Lord Freud said:

"It’s absolutely vital that we take urgent steps to manage Housing Benefit expenditure, which has been spiralling out of control for more than a decade.

"We want families on benefits to make the same choices as working families about where they live – but there’s no reason for anyone to be made homeless because of these measures.

"However, we are committed to making sure those who are making the transition are getting the right support and advice so that they can make confident decisions on their next steps. The winning projects who will be receiving a share of the £4m announced today will offer just that type of support."

One of the successful bidders is Cambridge City Council, on behalf of the Northgate Benefits Product Group, which will provide specialist software to up to 168 local authorities across the UK to help highlight people who may be affected.

Alison Cole, Benefits Manager at Cambridge City Council, said:

"We are delighted that this bid has been successful. The software will allow each of the 168 authorities to determine local policy for tackling the changes and will provide vital support to customers through this transitional period."

The North London Housing Partnership is working with six local authorities and voluntary organisation Islington People's Rights to provide advice hubs with support to tenants on rent negotiation.

Gerard Omasta-Milsom, Manager of Islington People’s Rights, said:

"This is an exciting and innovative response to helping families who will be affected. In providing such practical support, the service should enable more households to remain or make any moves as painless as possible."


Source: DWP

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Last Updated on Friday, 05 August 2011 14:01

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