Minister hits out at ‘savage’ UK Government cuts to Discretionary Housing Payments
The Welsh Government has renewed calls for the UK Government to reinstate its funding for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) to local authorities in Wales.
Discretionary Housing payments are used by local authorities to help people affected by the benefit cap, local housing allowance changes and the bedroom tax and to help prevent tenants from getting into rent arrears.
In this financial year DHP funding has been reduced by approximately 27% – £2.3 million – compared to 2021-22, following an 18% cut the previous year.
The Welsh Government topped-up this fund last year by £4.1m to mitigate the reduction imposed by Westminster.
Cost of living crisis
In a written statement, Climate Minister Julie James, said, “at a time when people are facing a cost-of-living crisis and private rents are increasing it is impossible to fathom why the UK government has seen fit to inflict such savage cuts.”
“I had hoped the UK Government would increase the funding available to local authorities, especially as it continues to freeze Local Housing Allowance and the financial pressures families are experiencing, caused by the current cost of living crisis.
“I have this week written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions once again outlining the evidence used by rent officers for setting the LHA rates will be three-and-a-half years out of date by March 2023 and therefore does not take account of the very significant increases in rent levels in some areas.
“These two factors alone are creating a huge affordability issue for renters. A reduction in DHP support from the UK Government will exacerbate the plight of those already experiencing the cost-of-living crisis and inevitably lead to further hardship and eviction, with the enormous impact on people’s mental and physical health that this brings with it.”
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