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CARERS CLAIMING BENEFITS ? Just How Secure Is That Roof Over YOUR Head ? Housing Benefit & Council Tax Problems ? - Page 2 - Carers UK Forum

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

All about money
"As for population levels , none of us have any control over that."

The government does! And it wants cheap labour because it is in the pay of Big Business who wants cheap labour.

Oh yes, and more people means more people for the government to tax!
Council tax bombshell: Millions of struggling families face up to £107 rise, as Government hands town halls £1billion to tackle social care crisis and Wild West Britain violence.

Councils allowed to raise local tax bills by 3% - adding £50 to the average bill.

Local authorities which still have social care precept can add another 2% or £33.

Police precept has also increased to add £24 a year to the average Band D bill.

Figures will make an Band D council tax bill cost up to £1778 a year in 2019/20.

For once , the Daily Chuckle is not wrong.

Freezing the HA / increasing CT ... half the carer army will be at immediate risk ... ROOF ... now a fixed part of the " Unholy Trinity " ... EAT / HEAT / ROOF.

The words of Joe Anderson ... Liverpool City Major ... posted earler ... serve as a harbinger reverberating throughout this thread :
"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."

Trouble is Joe ... that's merely Liverpool ... it is happening nationwide !!!


Single mother takes government to court after being forced into homelessness due to housing benefit shortfall

Woman deemed " intentionally homeless " after refusing to use benefits intended to cover basic living costs to cover weekly gap between housing benefit and rent.

A single mother of four who was was forced into homelessness due to a shortfall in housing benefit is to challenge the government in Britain's highest court.

The woman, known only as Ms Samuels, was treated as intentionally homeless because she refused to use her non-housing benefits, intended to cover other living costs, to cover the £35 weekly gap between her housing benefit and her rent.

When she subsequently fell into rent arrears and was evicted, Birmingham City Council refused to treat her and her children as unintentionally homeless on the basis that she could, in theory, have used some of her non-housing benefits to plug the shortfall.

Charities Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and Shelter are intervening in the case. They argue that it is unlawful to force tenants to spend money intended for basic daily living needs on their rent because housing benefit has been reduced.

Around 1.6 million adults rely on housing benefit to help with private rents, most of whom are women. But the benefit covers only a portion of private sector rent in 95 per cent of England’s broad rental areas.

The support has been frozen since April 2016, although private rents have risen by 22 per cent since 2010. So inflation means the freeze is a cut in real terms.

CPAG’s head of strategic litigation, Carla Clarke, said the case was important in a climate in which housing benefit has been “eviscerated” while rents continued to rise.

“No mother should have to see her children go short of essentials in order to pay the rent. No one should be required to live below the income that Parliament has decided they should have for the basic essentials to keep a roof over their head,” she said.

Greg Beales, campaign director at Shelter, said the charity was intervening because it was “not lawful or right to expect families to scramble to find money from their day to day expenses to pay the sky high rents that housing benefit can’t cover”.

He added: “When someone is forced to choose between rent and keeping their children fed, they cannot be viewed as ‘intentionally’ homeless when they choose the latter. This situation is a damning indictment of our housing and benefits system, and how it too often works against the very people it is supposed to support.

Housing benefit has not kept pace with rising rents for years and cases like this are the result: we are hearing from more and more families who are choosing between rent and meals.”

It comes after child homelessness in England hit a 12-year high, with government figures showing a total of 123,630 minors were housed in temporary accommodation between April and June, marking a rise of nearly a quarter in the past three years.

Campaigners said the rise was the result of cuts to housing benefit and reduced funding for homelessness services, as well as a lack of affordable homes and regulation in the private rented sector.


What a surprise ?

Energy prices to increase for millions as Ofgem raises cap.

More than half of British households are set to see an increase in the cost of energy in April after the regulator, Ofgem, raised price caps.

Ofgem sets maximum prices that can be charged for gas and electricity to those who have not switched suppliers and are on default tariffs.

The new cap could see these households typically pay an extra £117 a year.

The regulator is allowing suppliers to cover the higher costs they face on the wholesale market.

"We can assure these customers that they remain protected from being overcharged for their energy and that these increases are only due to actual rises in energy costs, rather than excess charges from supplier profiteering," said Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem.

About 11 million households are on default, or standard variable tariffs, and are set to be affected. Such a household, which uses a typical amount of energy and pays the bill by direct debit, should now expect to pay £1,254 a year.

Consumer groups say they can shop around for a better deal.

Another four million people are on prepayment meters, so pay for their energy in advance. The price cap will rise on their tariffs too, with the typical customer paying £1,242 per year, up by £106 from the previous cap level.

How do these caps work ?

Energy price capping is a flagship government policy designed to protect the vulnerable and those who have stayed loyal to their energy supplier.

Ofgem sets the cap for households in England, Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland has a separate energy regulator and its own price cap.

Ofgem sets a cap on the unit price of energy for electricity and gas, and a maximum standing charge.

Energy companies are not allowed to charge default tariffs that are higher than these thresholds.

That daily balance ... eat / heat / roof ... just become even more of a juggling act for HALF the carer army.
i love how so called experts say "" change suppliers "" ,, they seem to forget the elephant in the room , YOU CANT change suppliers if where you live is not covered by several companies lol.

we changed supplier for duel fuel from SSE to British gas and instantly saved £30 a week doing so .
SSE just kept humping customers in the area so it meant we saved even more.
before 1 family member turned on us he demanded we use a company he moved to and supposedly saved £600 a year , real funny part is as much as i told him they did not cover where we live , as usual he swore and argued THEY ******** DO .
so i called them and within 2 mins they assured me that i was in fact correct they do not supply the area i live in an have NO intentions on providing the area . they mainly focus on cities.

i think it was 2 yrs ago now in scotland the worst part of the country that had millions of missing council tax / rent was Glasgow and they have NO intentions on claiming any of it back. then one in the SNP turns out she had failed to pay over £1000 council tax so the snp council members paid it for her all the time she was slagging people who failed to pay their council tax :roll: :roll: .
https://www.spenboroughguardian.co.uk/n ... -1-9597444

Two households a week evicted by Kirklees Council, figures show.

The Local Government Association has warned that households on Universal Credit are having increasing problems paying rent.

The latest Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data shows that between April 2017 and March 2018, 118 households were evicted from council homes, six fewer than the previous year.

The figure only includes properties recovered with a warrant from court bailiffs.

In Kirklees, there were 105 evictions due to rent arrears, while a further 13 were due to anti-social behaviour.

Kirklees Borough Council has a stock of 22,581 social homes. That means there was an eviction in five out of every 1,000 council owned homes.

Judith Blake, housing spokeswoman for the LGA, said that eviction is the last resort for councils.

She said: “The evidence indicates that arrears increase significantly for households on Universal Credit.

“The Government was right to have announced measures in the budget to partly address this, but it is vital that they work closely with councils.

“The ability of councils to provide extra support to people to keep arrears down is becoming increasingly limited and we also remain concerned about the significant reductions in housing benefit, which can leave households struggling to pay their rent.”

The average social rent in Kirklees is £69.77 per week, lower than the average for England, which is £86.40.

By March 2018, tenants owed the council £2.18 million, excluding council taxes and water or heating bills.

Outstanding debts from former tenants who no longer live in council properties was £750,282.
To survive, councils need more money. But council tax is broken.

Austerity has stripped local services to the bone – and those on the lowest incomes will be forced to pay for it

The most boring and complicated subject in all of public life,” declared William Waldegrave, former minister and an architect of the fateful poll tax, when speaking of local government finance. But this is misleading: the consequences of local government austerity are anything but boring for those on the lowest incomes. The design of the council tax system – and recent reforms to it – hits the poorest hardest. Here’s why.

Since 2010, the central government grant to local government has been cut by almost 60%. This has had a devastating impact on local public services with spending falling in real terms by nearly one-fifth (excluding education and public health) since the start of the decade. So it’s little surprise that council taxpayers in England face substantial increases in their bills, with nearly all councils set to increase them this April.

Council tax was introduced in 1993 as a pragmatic fudge after the political disaster of the poll tax, which forced the poorest to contribute more than they had under the old rates system. Mass protests and riots ensued, as did a widespread campaign of nonpayment. Within seven months of it being introduced in England, Margaret Thatcher was forced to resign and her successor, John Major, quickly announced its abolition and replacement by the council tax.

Since then the council tax system has been left largely unreformed. It is still based on property values from 1 April 1991. As a consequence of this, and of regional variations in house price growth and its original design, council tax has become increasingly unfair. The cheaper your property, the more you are likely to pay as a proportion of its value.

What’s more, the council tax now increasingly resembles the unpopular poll tax which it replaced. The devolution of council tax benefit in 2013, together with the cut in the funding provided for it, means that people on the very lowest incomes are paying council tax for the first time since the poll tax – and bills are rising.

Research by the New Policy Institute found that 90% of councils in England have made changes to their schemes – with nearly a quarter asking working-age, low-income households to make a minimum payment of 20% and another fifth asking for more than 20%. For many, this is simply a return to the poll tax.

Our research at the Institute for Public Policy Research, focused on London, found that the burden of council tax on London’s poorest households is more than six times greater than those on the highest incomes – and that was before the latest round of increases. Nationally, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has calculated that 1.4 million additional households now have to pay council tax compared with the pre-2013 system. Around 60% pay more than £100, a third pay more than £200 and nearly one in 10 pay more than £300.

With local services creaking under the pressure of austerity imposed upon them by central government, local councils often have no option but to increase council tax. However, the extra revenue from this and other sources is in itself still not enough to make up for funding reductions and growing demand.

Essential local services from children’s services to social care need more money – the funding gap for 2019-20 alone is estimated to be at least £3.2bn. But asking the poorest in society to shoulder the burden through increasing council tax is not the answer. Yet, incredibly, the government’s Fair Funding Review, which has spent the last 18 months looking at the local government finance system, didn’t examine the structure of the council tax system.

Council tax, like the poll tax before it, is punishing those on the lowest incomes, and it’s time for an overhaul.

In the short term, the government should use general taxation to increase central funding for local government to properly support local services and take pressure off the council tax system. But in the long term, the replacement of council tax with a progressive property tax, accompanied by an effective benefit system that protects those on the very lowest incomes, or even a new land value tax, must be on the table.

In his memoirs, Waldegrave said that through the poll tax he had made this “most tedious of subjects so interesting that it became the cause of widespread riots up and down the land and, one cause of the defeat of a great prime minister”. It’s time we all revived our interest in a subject that is, once more, anything but tedious for the poorest in society.
The madness continues :
Council tax bills to rise by an average of 4.5 per cent.

" Local authorities have faced the most significant cuts to spending over the last 10 years, and despite the Government's announcement that austerity is ending, for local authorities this is clearly not the case. "

The average household in England faces a £75.60 rise in council tax from April, according to a survey of local authorities.

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (Cipfa) study found a planned average increase of 4.5 per cent for Band D households in 2019-20.

The increase is lower than the 5.1 per cent or £80.92 rise last year, but is still the second highest council tax rise in the last decade, Cipfa said.

Of the authorities in England which responded, 301 of 312 said they would increase their council tax.

Households in Greater London are expected to see the highest percentage increase in their bills at 5.1 per cent. But in cash terms their total bill will be an average £1,476.39, while bills in the northeast will be £1,883.95.

“The extent of the rises across the country are a reflection of the incredible fiscal pressure faced by local authorities and police,” said Cipfa CEO Rob Whiteman. ”Without a bolder vision from government, the future of these services is increasingly being put at risk.

“Local authorities have faced the most significant cuts to spending over the last 10 years, and despite the government’s announcement that austerity is ending, for local authorities this is clearly not the case. Long term they remain in an unsustainable position. Ministers need to make radical decisions to secure the future of public services.

“Council tax is regressive, and increasingly divorced from the reality of property values. They will not be sufficient to meet rising demand for services such as adult, and increasingly, children’s social care.”

A Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “We are investing in Britain’s future by providing local authorities with access to £45.1bn this year – increasing to £46.4bn next year – to meet the needs of their residents. Councils, not central government, are responsible for managing their own resources. Taxpayers can veto excessive increases via a local referendum.”
Thanks to Sunnydispotion , forthcoming changes in Housing Benefit which will have a REAL ADVERSE effect on those towards
the bottom of the plile :

https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/e ... ng-landhub
Housing Benefit is one of the benefits being replaced by the new single Universal Credit payment. Before full roll-out of the new system, some tenants may start to receive their housing costs or rent paid to them as part of their Universal Credit. The tenant will then be responsible for paying rent. Here are the main points landlords need to know about these changes.

The housing element of Universal Credit

When people are moved onto Universal Credit, the single payment for their household will include a ‘housing element’. This will replace the help they currently get from Housing Benefit.

Universal Credit – including the housing element – is paid monthly in arrears.

Direct payment of rent - what is it and when is it coming in?

If you’re a registered social landlord and you receive your tenants’ rent directly from your local council, this will change under Universal Credit. Instead, tenants will receive their ’housing element’ direct and be responsible for paying it to you themselves.

Before the new system comes in, some tenants who are not yet claiming Universal Credit might be selected to start receiving their Housing Benefit payment direct.

The Department for Work and Pensions has committed to consult with social landlords before deciding whether to move their tenants onto direct payments. They will take into account any information you provide about your tenants’ ability to manage with direct payments.

If your tenant can’t manage their rent payments

A tenant can ask to have their housing payments switched to the landlord for a period of time while they get the support they need to get their money under control.

If a tenant has rent arrears, then, as their landlord, you can ask for the rent payments to be temporarily switched to you.

Other changes to Housing Benefit

The benefit cap

There is now a limit on the total amount of benefit that people aged 16 to 64 can claim.

If someone is getting more than the following amounts in benefit, their Housing Benefit is reduced to bring it within the limit.

£500 a week for couples (with or without children) or lone parents.

£350 a week for single people with no children

The under-occupancy penalty

Anyone renting from a local authority, housing association or registered social landlord, who is considered to have a spare bedroom – and is not covered by one of the exemptions – has their Housing Benefit reduced. This is sometimes referred to as the ‘Bedroom Tax’, the ‘under-occupation penalty’ or the ‘removal of the spare room subsidy’.

A tenant’s Housing Benefit is cut by the following percentage:

14% for one extra bedroom.

25% for two or more extra bedrooms.

Help for people at risk of rent arrears

Some tenants affected by the benefit cap or the under-occupancy penalty may struggle to make up the shortfall in their Housing Benefit and risk going into rent arrears.

The Money Advice Service is able to provide support to people in this situation, including help with budgeting and where to go to claim financial and welfare assistance.

Help with rent arrears and problems with paying your rent.

Discretionary Housing Payments.

If any of your tenants are facing hardship as a result of Housing Benefit changes, they may be able to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment. These are payments from local authorities designed to help top-up Housing Benefit in the short-term.

Your tenant can either:

Contact the local council to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment, or

Find out whether they might qualify for a Discretionary Housing Payment on the Turn2Us website.