Ian Austin MP

Labour MP for Dudley North

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Government cutbacks could see supported housing schemes close, warns Austin

Government plans to cap housing benefit for tenants in social housing could see housing schemes for people with learning disabilities close, Ian Austin warned today.

The Dudley North MP is visiting a home in Woodsetton run by Golden Lane Housing in close partnership with Mencap and Langstone Society for people with learning difficulties on Wednesday to hear about the impact of the changes on people in Dudley.

The Government announced in 2015 that housing benefit in the social housing sector will be capped at the same level as the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates, which are currently 30% of the local market average.

The proposals are currently being reviewed but if they go ahead as planned the National Housing Federation estimates that 40% of current supported housing schemes would close and 80% of planned schemes would not be completed, leaving many people with a learning disability homeless.

Ian Austin said:

“We all know savings have to be made but it’s not fair to apply this cap to tenants in supported and sheltered housing where rents are higher as a result of the extra facilities they need.

“They introduced the Bedroom Tax without thinking through the impact on disabled people and these changes are likely to have devastating consequences for older people, disabled people and those with mental health needs who rely on supported housing. I’m worried that local housing authorities will be left with no option but to close many care and support services.

“I’m urging government ministers to think again about these changes, and ensure that there is sufficient funding for the care and support services that so many vulnerable people rely on.”

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