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HANDS OFF HOUSING BENEFIT, SAYS SHELTER

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Housing benefit must not be the target for further cuts in next week's Budget. That's the demand from the homeless ...
Housing benefit must not be the target for further cuts in next week's Budget. That's the demand from the homeless charity, Shelter Scotland, as the chancellor puts the finishing touches to his spending plans over the weekend.

the call is made as Shelter publishes its magazine, Scottish Housing Monitor. The magazine includes an article on housing benefit changes announced in last year's budget which are due to be implemented in January 1996. The changes will reduce housing benefit for some tenants living in private rented homes and, Shelter argues, lead to increased evictions and appalling conditions.

Shelter's depute director (communications) Kate Caskie said:

'Housing benefit provides an essential safety net for over half of all tenants - public and private - in Scotland. Without it hundreds of thousands of families could not afford to pay their rent and would become homeless. 'We already await with anxiety the reductions in housing benefit introduced at the last Budget. They will come into force in January. The safety net is already under attack and we urge the chancellor not to make more public expenditure savings at the expense of the poorest people in society.'

Shelter is particularly concerned about hints that housing benefit will be cut for young people under the age of 25. The charity urges the government to look at what it claims is the clear connection between benefit cuts and youth homelessness.
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