Fears of evictions as councils return money to help benefit cap victims with rent

Residents of Merthyr Tydfil, Anglesey, and Rhondda Cynon Taf in Wales have reason to be angry after their councillors sent back unspent money meant to keep benefit cap victims from eviction.

Merthyr Council handed back £40,000 – 19.2 per cent of its allocation – but denied funds to 231 applicants for Discretionary Housing Payments. That’s more than one-third of the total (668).

Councillors seem to be facing in both directions at once with their excuses.

Cllr Andrew Barry said the expected number of qualifying applicants, according to Conservative government policy, did not materialise.

But applicants who were denied the cash were left facing homelessness!

Clearly, something is wrong. If it’s the way councils are enacting the policy, they need to put their house in order. If it is government policy that is at fault, then it’s time to kick up a stink about it.

Three councils have been criticised for handing back money intended for people who are struggling to pay their rent.

Every year councils in Wales receive money from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to spend on discretionary housing payments (DHP).

Welsh councils were given a total of £9,749,151 in the last financial year – an increase of 24% compared with 2016/17 – to help people cope with changes to benefits.

Merthyr Tydfil said it was sending back £40,000 (19.2% of their allocation), Anglesey £23,501 (14.4%) and Rhondda Cynon Taf £13,493 (2%).

Merthyr council accepted 437 applications for DHP and refused 231.

Source: Criticism over unspent rent help money

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5 thoughts on “Fears of evictions as councils return money to help benefit cap victims with rent

  1. Dez

    Are these Labour controlled councils or all Conservatives. I agree the basis for allocation of discretionary housing benefits have been badly tinkered with however having folk on the streets is just not on. I thought Councillors were acting for the masses not political points scoring.

    1. groovmistress

      The days when local councils acted for their residents are long gone. It’s all about money-saving now which, when it reaches the stage that they’re actually sending back money to the Govt, has become an end in itself. It is now the case that local councils, like the DWP, are more concerned with rigid interpretation of “the rules” and rejecting worthy claims on technicalities rather than providing the assistance (often relatively small amounts) which could make or break a citizen’s life. Sad isn’t it?

  2. aunty1960

    Labour councils were directed to make things worse, not help people it was good if people suffered and were without food heating and evicted and babies, mums and elderly suffered, – they would blame it on the Tories

    This was the direction in NOv 2010 after the Labour defeat

    The strange idea of Labour is people must suffer in order for them to return and vote for a Labour govt.

    However even without this direction it does not stop councils being stupid and not serving their own and the ones they should be there for. No difference with our local Labour council. Bit strange as Mythyr a safe Labour seat one would think.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Please provide documentary evidence of the Labour directive you mention in your comment.
      I was a Labour member at the time and know of no such directive. In fact, Labour was dedicated to relieving the pressure being piled onto vulnerable families by the hated Conservatives.

Comments are closed.