Fears over UK benefits changes

ANGUS Council has put out information to explain the impact of forthcoming UK benefits changes. The first two are the Bedroom Tax and Benefits Cap.

From April 1, a person’s entitlement to Housing Benefit will be reduced if they are deemed to have an extra bedroom that they do not need.

This will only impact people of working age, but may impact people who have family members who visit occasionally, people with disabilities or those who need occasional overnight stay by carers. It will impact people whose family house is deemed to be too large if their family have left home.

People will lose 14 per cent of their Housing Benefit for one bedroom under-occupied and 25 per cent for two or more bedrooms under-occupied. It is believed that this will impact 615 Angus Council tenants, with a weekly impact being between £2 and £20 per week.

From April 2013, there will be a cap on the amount of benefits a person can receive unless they are considered exempt. This will be £350 per week for a single person and £500 per week for a couple or lone parent, even if they are currently entitled to more.

Councillor Bill Duff commented: “These changes are the first of several UK benefits changes that will have a serious effect on people throughout Angus. Those affected may be helped through the Discretionary Housing Payment Scheme if they have exceptional circumstances.

“Angus Council’s Welfare Rights Service can advise. The net effect of these UK welfare changes will be to take significant sums out of the Angus economy and affect the poorest and most vulnerable.”