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Renfrewshire residents warned to prepare for benefit changes


Renfrewshire residents warned to prepare for benefit changes

Hundreds of people across Renfrewshire are being urged to start preparing now for changes that will cut their housing benefit.
Last year the UK government announced changes to Rent Allowance and Local Housing Allowance which will affect the amount of Housing Benefit people who rent from private landlords receive.

Around 1500 people across the area will find themselves receiving less money when these changes come into effect in January 2012.

Changes to the way Local Housing Allowance is calculated will affect anyone living in private rented accommodation and receiving housing benefit.

Councillor Allan Noon, Convener of the Council’s General Management and Finance Policy Board, said: “Although these changes have already been brought in most people’s benefit payments have been protected so far by a transitional period. However this will come to an end in January when people may start to notice changes to their housing benefit payments and will have to pay more rent to their landlords.”

The changes will also in particular affect anyone aged between 25 and 34, living on their own in private one bedroom accommodation and receiving housing benefit.

Anyone receiving the full housing benefit for the current single room rate, £80.77, will see their benefit reduce to the shared accommodation rate of £63.23 (these are the figures as at October 2011 and will change on a monthly basis).Councillor Noon added: “This means that for many people their housing benefit won’t cover their rent and they will need to pay the shortfall themselves.

“We are trying to make sure that those who will be affected are aware of these changes and encourage them to take action to prepare as early as possible.”
Anyone affected by these changes is advised to:

  • Speak to their landlord to discuss how these changes will affect them
  • Negotiate with them to reduce rent so that their new benefit award covers the shortfall
  • Or as a last resort actively look for cheaper accommodation

They are also urged to come along to a special event being held as part of Renfrewshire Money Week to find out more about the changes and how to prepare.

The ‘Welfare Reform and You’ event is being held on Wednesday 9 November, in the Alexander Wilson Suite, Paisley Town Hall from 10am – 6.30pm.

A dedicated team of advisors will be on hand from the Benefits Service, Housing Services and Citizens Advice Bureau.

To make an appointment to speak to an advisor at the event or if unable to attend the event but would like further information or an alternative appointment call 0141 840 3060 or email welfare.finit@renfrewshire.gov.uk

Information and advice on managing your money is available at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/money