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Government Welfare Reforms Stumble

Government Welfare Reforms Stumble

The UK Coalition Government plans to cap benefits will still be fully implemented despite the parliamentary defeat in the House of Lords on Monday this week.
A defeat that saw 26 Lib-Dem peers rebel against the Government’s wishes.

Although, the Government have admitted that whilst disappointed by the result, they still intend to push through the plans for welfare reform in full.

The plans have caused deep unease in the Lords and prompted a number of Church of England bishops to launch a bid for the reforms to be curbed, backed by a majority of 15.

Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Right Reverend John Packer introduced the amendment and following its success, said: “It cannot be right for the cap to be the same for a childless couple as for a couple with children. Child benefit is the most appropriate way to right this unfairness.”

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith led the Government’s call for all benefit payments limited to a maximum £26,000 a year per household, claiming that it will save approximately £600 Million (GBP) towards the UK’s multi Billion pound economic deficit.

Lord Paddy Ashdown joined 25 other Lib Dem peers voting for child benefit to be excluded from the cap calculations. The former party leader, previously a loyal supporter of the Government, said that as president of the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF, he was not prepared to back the Government’s plans in their current form, denouncing them as “completely unacceptable”.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has stated that he fully supports the Governments changes to the welfare benefit system, despite the rebellious divisions from within the Lib-Dem ranks.

A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesman said: “There has to be a limit on the amount of money benefit claimants can receive. We think that limit is set at a fair rate of £26k – the equivalent to someone earning £35,000 before tax, a salary that many working families would be happy to receive.”

Around 67,000 families will lose £83 a week under the cap, which is due to be brought in from 2013 in England, Scotland and Wales.

It is expected that the welfare reforms will result in many families currently claiming housing benefit facing mounting financial pressures and even eviction from their homes, if they are unable to pay the rent.

If UK landlords do find themselves in the unenviable position of chasing bad debts or rent recovery, or if the worst happens, having to evict defaulting tenants then they should use the services of a reputable eviction specialist such as Legal 4 Landlords, to save effort, money, time and stress.

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Two landlords have paid a heavy price in separate cases for failing to comply with HMO regulations.

Sikander Hayat has been fined £9,500 after being prosecuted for blocking escape routes, failing to ensure that the fire alarm system was working, and failing to ensure a constant supply of electricity at one of his rental properties.

Hayat pleaded guilty to seven charges of failing to comply with HMO regulations in respect of a property in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Banbury Magistrates’ Court heard he also failed to make appropriate arrangements for disposal of refuse.

Hayat was prosecuted by Cherwell District Council and also had to pay the authority’s costs of £300.

In a second case, Graham Snowdon has been fined £10,000 by York magistrates for renting out an HMO without a licence.

The case was brought after a licensing enforcement officer visited the premises in April for an unannounced inspection and found eight tenants living over four floors.

The council said that the premises did not have an HMO licence and was lacking in fire detection and prevention equipment. Other amenities were below the legal standard.

As well as a £10,000 fine, Snowdon was also ordered to pay costs of £1,216.50 and a £15 victim surcharge.

 

Source: RLA News Service

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