CARERS CLAIMING BENEFITS ? Just How Secure Is That Roof Over YOUR Head ? Housing Allowance & Council Tax Problems ?

All about money
Okay , another thread made up of information scattered across others ... the dreaded interlocking again ... hardly any issue stands alone ?

Aimed at roughly half the 7.8 million of us ... in income terms , in dire straits ... hardly any will find any real help on this forum / web site as their priority is to continue to survive as best they can.

Most reading this thread will not connect with it ... yet another chasm emerging in CarerLand ... based on actual resources , including financial , available .... " I'm all right , Chris ... doesn't concern me ... thankfully ? "

Focus has been on income in virtually all postings ... time now to look at the other side of the problem ... expenditure ... and , in this context , the REAL essentials to survive.

It all also ties in with some work I'm doing locally ... following the UC rollout and it's effect on the letting market.

Two forms of expenditure stand out like lighthouses ... immediate threats ... both go way beyond CarerLand but I shall concentrate on the effects on us.

COUNCIL TAX ( CT ) ... a regressive tax ... income wise , the less you have , in percentage terms , the more you pay ... possibly worse that Thatcher's Poll Tax which it replaced.

A problem all along but , with recent rises due to " Social care " being funded by CT , nationwide , the impact at the lower end ( Street level ) has been catastrophic ... just on my manor alone , now 3 in 7 officially in arrears ... increasing at a greater rate with each nudge higher.

LA needs a rise of , say , 6% ... with likely non recoverable arrears factored in , actual rise may be 7 / 8% !!!

A couple of recent postings confirm what's happening ... my fear is further rises via the Green Paper ... more monies needed like trying to fight a major fire with just a bucket ... which will really bite millions with little surplus in their current fiances.

LOCAL HOUSING ALLOWANCE ( LHA ) / HOUSING BENEFIT ( HB ) ... a brief explanation of each to set the scene :

SHELTER

What is local housing allowance (LHA)?

Local housing allowance (LHA) is used to work out how much housing benefit you can get if you rent your home from a private landlord.

If you rent from a council or housing association or have a shared ownership home, different rules are used to calculate your housing benefit.

LHA has many of the same rules as housing benefit, but there are some extra rules that limit the amount of help you can get for a private rented home.

LHA is usually paid direct to you rather than to your landlord.



( LHA online calculator for the curious amongst you ... try it on your manor ... then have a look at what's available to let :

https://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/search.aspx

The results will surprise ... even shock ... you ! )

SHELTER

What is housing benefit?

Housing benefit is a regular council payment to help pay your rent. You may be eligible for housing benefit if you are on a low income or claiming benefits.

What housing benefit pays for

Housing benefit helps pay for rent and some types of service charges.

It doesn't help with water charges, care or support costs or most heating charges.

Housing benefit doesn't cover mortgage payments.

Who can claim housing benefit


Housing benefit is for people who rent their homes or who part-rent through shared ownership.

You must be on a low income or claiming benefits. Your savings must be below £16,000, unless you are getting pension credit (guarantee credit part).

You or your partner can claim housing benefit. It doesn't matter which of you is named on the tenancy agreement.

You may not be able to claim if you pay rent to a family member.



The problem ?

LHA has been frozen by the Government ... demand for housing constantly exceeds supplies ... rents are rising almost nationwide ... the GAP between LHA and the current rental levels has grown ... in some areas exploded ... leaving many millions of low earners needing to find monies , many for the first time , to keep a roof over their heads.

This issue was kicked upstairs prior to the Annual Survey this year as it was a major problem in many poorer areas ... CUK needed to be aware of what was actually happening at Street Level ... asking more prosperous members would not have reveal any problem at all !

SUMMARY

The forthcoming Green Rizla Paper ... any prospect of either of these issues being addressed ?

Only the CT one IF the Government change direction , and fund social care through GENERAL taxation ... a much fairer system based on one's ability to pay ... won't go down well with our Joe / Jo Public but ... will then mirror image how funding for the NHS is raised !

As for LHA / HB ... the real joker on the pack ... bearing in mind the 2 in 5 of the current batch of mps in the House have declared interests in BTL properties ... the landlords enjoy a vast chunk of the HB being paid over by the LAs !

" To Eat or to Heat , that is not a question , it is a choice ! "

To that we must add " Or to keep a roof of some sort over one's head " ... the ESSENTIALS to survive for anyone in today's Sad New World.

Both " Problems " are too real ... and , when combined , will continue to have a deadly impact.

Needless to add ... UC ...warned all for over a year ... try getting a landlord to even let a property if you are caught by UC !

Just ask Trussells !
Number of people struggling to pay council tax and energy bills and relying on payday loans is on the rise, debt charity warns

Average payday loan debt seen by StepChange was around £1,700 in first half.

Energy bill and council tax hikes putting pressure on low income households.

" Council tax is especially concerning in light of mounting evidence that government debt collection practices are lagging far behind best practice. "


Scrap 'highly regressive' council tax, says thinktank.

Resolution Foundation says levy now resembles much maligned poll tax and should be replaced with more progressive system.
Researching and I came across the Liverpool Echo ... and a comment made by Joe Anderson , Major , on the effects of both Council Tax rises and evictions in the Merseyside area :

Liverpool's Labour Mayor Joe Anderson - who grew up in poverty himself - there is no subject more pressing and personal than the cuts that have ravaged his authority and left it struggling to provide the most basic of services.

He has a thing or two to say about the claims from Ms Truss that councils have been freed up to collect more cash in tax - and have not been the subject of cuts.

"Nearly 50% of our Council Tax budget is now spent on supporting the most vulnerable people in our city," he says.

"We also have around £35m in uncollected Council Tax and about £25m of that is from people who are on benefits and who are receiving support payments from us.


"How can I take someone to court for not paying Council Tax, who is actually already on benefits that we are paying to them? It is a totally perverse situation."




Good question , Joe ... same question could be asked by local councillors nationwide ?

Raising CT hits the low wage earners hardest ... the very people that need MORE protection against Austerity !
Rick Henderson, chief executive of Homeless Link, the umbrella body for homelessness charities, said hostels were struggling to move homeless people into more stable accommodation because their housing allowance was not matching spiralling rents in the private rented sector.



Article posted in the main UNIVERSAL CREDIT thread.

Exactly the point ... amongst several ... of creating this separate thread.

To highlight the REAL issues out there ...
Tenants living in one of the most deprived areas in Norfolk to face rent price hike.

Tenants living in one of the most deprived areas in Norfolk will face a rent price hike due to new council red tape, according to ‘fed up’ landlords.

The proposals will mean private rented housing must be licensed and meet conditions around health and safety standards at a cost of £200 a year per property.

Landlords have hit back at the proposals which will come into effect on January 7, 2019, saying the scheme will hit tenants in the pocket.

John Barker, 58, a private landlord, who has ten properties in the ward has warned rent may rise by £5 a week.

He said: “I have not raised the cost of rent for the past eight years but this will leave me with no choice but to put up the prices.

“There has been very little consultation on this and the council just haven’t listened to our concerns. There are lots of tenants in the Nelson ward who are on the breadline and they are the ones who are really going to suffer.”

Landlords say the council has identified them as an “easy target” with those most deprived set to suffer.

The selective licensing scheme is being brought in to give the council additional powers to tackle poorly managed privately rented property.




I know the area well ... one must be really desperate to seek accomodation on that manor !

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – INFORMATION REQUEST

Your request for information has now been considered and the information requested is enclosed.

Nelson Ward contains 2603 rented houses and 1162 privately owned properties a ratio of approximately 2:1

In the financial year 2017/18 we received 103 tenancy complaints and 132 anti-social behaviour complaints.

We are unable to attribute the ASB complaints to social housing and private rented and can only give the figures for the ward in total


Net result ?

ANY increase in rent will be payable by the tenants ... Housing Benefit is frozen as is Housing Allowance.

Just to add to the misery ... another rise in Council Tax by Great Yarmouth is on the cards.
Low-income tenants face " Eat, heat or pay rent " choices.

Housing benefit freeze leaving poorest private renters with shortfall of up to £140 a week.


Low-income tenants in the private rented sector face a “heat, eat or pay rent” problem because housing benefit rates have failed to keep up with the soaring cost of accommodation, a study has found.

The four-year freeze on local housing allowance levels, which has been in place since April 2016, means some families must meet a shortfall of hundreds of pounds a month on their rent support, according to the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH).

It said the ongoing housing benefit freeze meant even the lowest private rents were out of reach for many low-income families in most areas – making it more likely that tenants would be forced to choose between living necessities or paying the rent.

“Our research makes it clear just how far housing benefit for private renters has failed to keep pace with even the cheapest private rents. We fear this policy is putting thousands of private renters on low incomes at risk of poverty and homelessness,” said the CIH’s chief executive, Terrie Alafat.

The biggest “rent gaps” – the difference between rent and housing support levels in the cheapest third of rented properties in a local housing market area – were in London, where the median shortfall was £66 a week for a four-bedroom property and £43 for a two-bedroom, although this masked larger gaps of more than £140 a week in the inner city – adding up to more than £600 a month.


The problem was noticeable in locations near the capital that have been popular with commuters, such as Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Chelmsford, where the weekly shortfalls on a four-bed property were £68, £62 and £59 respectively.

There were striking shortfalls in areas such as Greater Glasgow (£82 a week on a four-bedroom home), Bristol (£71) and southern Greater Manchester (£53). The median national weekly rent gap on a four-bedroom home was £17. In a handful of areas, including Liverpool and Leeds, there was no rent gap for this size of property.

The weekly shortfall on two-bedroom private rented homes has followed a broadly similar pattern – highest in London, with significant gaps in places such as Bristol (£40), south-west Hertfordshire (£39) and Bath (£34). The median national weekly rent gap on this size of property was £8, according to the research.

The CIH said that although ministers introduced a “targeted affordability fund” in 2014 to bridge the biggest gaps, the impact of this had been negligible because it had failed to meaningfully shrink the shortfall in the worst-hit areas.

The CIH called on the government to end the freeze on benefits. It estimated that the cost of realigning local housing allowance – which has lagged behind rent increases in many areas since 2013 – would be £1.2bn.

Matt Downie, the director of policy at the housing charity Crisis, said: “This report highlights just how much housing benefits for private renters are falling short of the levels needed, leaving many homeless people stuck in a desperate situation and putting yet more people at risk of homelessness.”

A government spokesperson said: “We spend £24bn a year on housing benefit each year. And since April we’ve provided additional, targeted housing support for low-income households by increasing more than 200 local housing allowance rates.

“Since 2011, we have provided a further £1bn in discretionary housing payment for local authorities to support vulnerable claimants with their housing costs.

“We have also delivered over 378,000 new affordable properties since 2010 and we are investing a further £9bn in affordable homes to buy and rent.”



The BIG THREE ... food / energy / housing ... as is towards the bottom of the pile.
Ministers criticised after plans for council tax rise to fund police.

Forces to benefit from £450m but Labour say the poorest will be hit by bills.



WHEN WILL THEY EVER LEARN ????????
The vice will be tightened :

Residents will see " Inflation-busting " council tax rises under new government plan, Labour warns.

Local authorities will be allowed to raise tax by up to 3 per cent to make up for government funding cuts.



IF YOU MUST , PROGRESSIVE ... NOT REGRESSIVE ... TAXATION !
Well, this is what happens when you have too many people living in a country.

And more arriving every day.

Never mind, we can build over the Green Belt. So long as we've got cheap labour to make us coffee in non-tax-paying US coffee chains, and to fill the illegal brothels with imprisoned, raped and beaten young women, oh, yes, and the chain gangs picking crops for us....

Yup, we make our choices in this world - and bringing the wretched of the third world to be our 'slaves' (sometimes literally, as above) is the choice we are making now.

And that the Labour Party, of all - who are supposed to be the CHAMPIONS of 'a fair day's work for a fair days' pay' is backing cheap labour is just DISGRACEFUL.
Economically , regressive taxation is the problem.

As for population levels , none of us have any control over that.

Certainly a factor ... just like the rapid decline in social housing building over the past two decades.

Put those two together ... and then freeze the Housing Allowance ... with no rent controls in place and ... Armageddon in housing is a sure thing !

A playing field determined by Government policy ... as is taxation , and just how it can be raised.