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BUDGET REACTION: HOUSING BENEFIT CHANGES WELCOMED

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Housing charity Shelter welcomed the changes to housing benefit announced in the Budget saying that they could help...
Housing charity Shelter welcomed the changes to housing benefit announced in the Budget saying that they could help alleviate and prevent homelessness and bad housing. The improvements will help to simplify a housing benefit system that is extremely complex and bureaucratic. At present long delays in processing claims are leading to rent arrears and putting tenants at risk of eviction and homelessness.

Shelter said the end of the need to reapply for housing benefit every

six months or whenever someone takes up employment should see a

reduction in time spent processing housing benefit claims. This will

make it less likely that tenants will get into arrears while their

claims are processed. These measures, together with changes reducing the

amount people lose in benefits when they take up employment, will also

end the disincentive many people face to work.

Adam Sampson, director of Shelter, said: 'Housing benefit is a mess.

Delays caused by mind bogglingly complex regulations are causing people

to get into debt and at risk of homelessness through no fault of their

own. When offered work it is often not worth their while to risk debt

due to benefit delays for what may only amount to a few extra pounds

each week.

'These changes to housing benefit are a step towards a safety net that

helps people out poverty.'

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