Peter Peacock criticises Lib Dem support for scheme that will cut housing benefit for thousands in the H&I
27 August 2010
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Peter Peacock has criticised the Liberal Democrats for backing a scheme which will result in the housing benefits of thousands of people in the region being cut.
As coalition partners in the Westminster Government the Lib Dems have approved a new system of calculating the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) – the form of housing benefit paid to tenants in the Private Rented Sector.
Mr Peacock has learned about the impact of the changes in his constituency, which will be introduced in October 2011, through a series of Freedom of Information requests to local councils.
Argyll and Bute Council has revealed that 839 households currently receive less than the maximum Housing Benefit and that this figure will rise to 1,200 claimants when the new calculations are introduced.
It is anticipated that their benefit will be reduced by £10-£12 a week.
Highland Council has 4,721 households currently receiving less than the maximum Housing Benefit, while in the Moray Council and Western Isles Council areas the figures are 1,325 households and 1,053 respectively.
Mr Peacock said: "All three councils say they don't know what the effect of the new calculations will be but based on the predictions made by Argyll and Bute Council
"It is safe to assume that the number of households which will receive less
than the maximum Housing Benefit will rise significantly from
In Orkney 200 households currently receive less than the maximum Housing Benefit and the local council estimates that the number of claimants in this position will increase to 250 when the new system is implemented.
In Shetland 23 of the 48 households currently receive less than the maximum Housing Benefit. The Local Authority estimates that two more households will no longer receive full benefit when the new calculations are introduced.
Mr Peacock added: "All these figures are clearly worrying.
"The Coalition should reconsider their proposals as they will cause untold
misery across the Highlands if they are implemented."
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