Move over hard-working families, people in the squeezed middle and ‘alarm-clock Britain’ (remember that one?), for 2017 will be the year of the jams, those ‘just about managing’.
Or so we were lead to believe. It seems the definition of a ‘jam’ doesn’t include young single people who struggle to pay their rent.
In the run up to Christmas you may have missed the UK Government’s quietly announced changes to the Local Housing Allowance.
Dubbed the Bedroom Tax Two, the proposals mean that a single tenant under the age of 35 with no children will from 2018 see their payments cut to the shared accommodation rate.
almost 250,000 people could be affected
This is significantly less than the average rent of a one-bedroom property. It would see a tenant in Glasgow currently entitled to £92.06, receive just £68.28 in housing benefit.
According to figures from the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, almost 250,000 people could be affected, with a substantial knock on effect on charity and local authority support services.
This will result in more people becoming homeless, along with all the accompanying health, well-being and employment challenges.
The proposals will create a headache for the Scottish Government, which was apparently not consulted, despite ongoing talks about the devolution of welfare powers under the Scotland Act.
The Scottish Government spends around £100m a year on mitigating the worst effects of UK Government welfare cuts, and it is likely that campaigners will look to Holyrood for further support.
There have been suggestions that local housing rates could be altered once they have been devolved, but it is unclear if the Government would opt for this.
Housing campaigners fear that the added financial strain this will put on the Scottish Government could jeopardise plans to build 50,000 new homes within the life of the current parliament.
Despite the promise of a ‘one-nation’ government, the UK Government appears not to have changed their failing welfare policies.
The Bedroom Tax Two looks like a cruelly written sequel with the same end result, where the most vulnerable will be hit the hardest.
If you, or the individuals you work with, will be affected by these changes, we would like to hear from you. Email me or phone 0141 465 7533.