John Spellar

Labour MP for Warley

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John Spellar MP: Tory welfare reforms put Sandwell pensioners at risk

Sandwell MP John Spellar today said that proposed Government changes to Housing Benefits for people in supported housing were putting local pensioners at risk.

The Government’s proposals that Housing Benefit payments for people in supported housing be capped in line with Local Housing Allowance levels from 2019/20 received a warning from Bruce Moore, Chief Executive of local non-profit housing provider Housing & Care 21. He expressed concern that those in supported housing may be “unable to afford and continue to live in these much needed forms of housing.” He explained the H&C21 would be hit by a £182,920 annual shortfall for schemes in the Warley constituency.

He added: “The LHA cap proposals appear to bring older people prematurely into the remit of current welfare reforms linked to the introduction of Universal Credit even though they were previously excluded from other welfare reform provisions”.

Mr Spellar said: “Theresa May had an opportunity to ditch Iain Duncan Smith’s failed Universal Credit scheme. That she hasn’t shows she has the same careless attitude as him.

“Should this Government consultation go ahead it will have a damaging impact on some of the most vulnerable people in society – all her rhetoric about shared society is meaningless nonsense.”

“During 6 years of Tory rule the number of families accepted as homeless has risen by a third since 2010 and recorded rough sleeping has doubled in the last six years and has risen by 30% in the last year alone. These, combined with unnecessary and vindictive policies like the Bedroom Tax, demonstrates the Tories are piling misery on poorer communities.”

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