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'HOUSING BENEFIT SIMPLIFICATION IS THE PRIORITY'

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Malcolm Wicks has been warned that the simplification of housing benefit should be a priority before its reform. ...
Malcolm Wicks has been warned that the simplification of housing benefit should be a priority before its reform.
The new minister at the department of work and pensions yesterday met the chair and chief executive of the National Housing Federation. The federation urged the minister to consider immediate steps to ensure more tenants receive their payments
on time.
Federation proposals include the consideration of fixed term payments, a review of non-dependent deductions and reform of the verification framework.
NHF chief executive Jim Coulter said:
'It is a positive time, the verification pilots are close to their start and the government has given a clear commitment to housing benefit reform. However, we cannot avoid the more urgent need for further simplification steps to be taken.
'Avoiding this issue will leave too many tenants in rental arrears and housing associations facing cash flow problems.
'We are meeting the minister to suggest positive steps that can be taken to improve the situation and to discuss ideas for longer term reform'.
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