Revealed: Full extent of housing benefit cuts impact

Only green areas will remain affordable by 2016
Only green areas will remain affordable by 2016

By staff

Tens of thousands of householders could be forced from the centre of London as a result of planned housing benefit changes, research due out soon has suggested.

A University of Cambridge study commissioned by housing charity Shelter, set for full publication later this week, has revealed the extent to which central London boroughs will become 'no-go areas' for those on local housing allowance.

It reveals the neighbourhoods which private tenants will find become largely unaffordable as a result of the coalition's cuts - those where the rents for a large majority of two-bedroom dwellings are above the maximum housing benefit available.

"Early analysis emerging from this research confirm predictions that many London boroughs will become largely unaffordable when the first changes come in next year, and a significant further amount will be largely unaffordable by 2016," Shelter's chief executive Campbell Robb said.

"We are concerned this could mean tens of thousands of households forced from the centre, creating concentrations of poverty and inequality and adding to the already significant levels of homelessness and overcrowding in the city."

From 2011 absolute caps on the maximum housing benefit paid will apply, based on £290 a week for a two-bedroom dwelling and equivalent rates for other sizes. A range of other changes are also being implemented which are set to make it far more difficult for people on housing benefit to afford to live in central London.

Last week the Labour party sparked controversy by likening the move to "Kosovo-style" 'cleansing'.

Leader Ed Miliband said he would encourage Liberal Democrat MPs to vote against the government a week on Tuesday, when the opposition plans to force a vote on the issue in the Commons.

""Our appeal is to all MPs of conscience: join us, vote against these unfair and unworkable changes and force the government to think again," he told delegates at the Scottish Labour party's conference in Oban.

Several key Liberal Democrats figures, including deputy leader Simon Hughes, are known to be against the cut.

The government has sought to downplay the impact of the changes, however. Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said Labour figures were guilty of "scaremongering".


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