Tuesday, May 24, 2011




We are pleased to reprint this appeal from: The Angry Claimant- Benefit cuts for single people. Another example of callous policies by a callous government who put profits first and second with people coming last.

At the moment the government limits housing benefit for most single people living in the private sector to the local housing allowance for a room in a shared house.  The justification for this was originally that it was reasonable for young people to share.  It now intends to extend limit to single under 35s from this from January 2012.

Over 55 thousand claimants will be affected and the average loss will be £43 according to the Department for Work and Pensions.
By law the government has to refer changes (apart from those resulting from recent acts of Parliament) to the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) an independent committee.  This will issue and pubilicise advice to the government about the proposed changes.  The government can and often does ignore the SSAC's advice, but a powerful objection from the SSAC is a good way of getting publicity. The SSAC has also been successful in getting changes of detail made to legislation.
Housing association and supported housing tenants will not be directly affected by this change, as local housing allowance does not apply to them.  But anyone who is generally concerned with the housing of single people, or who moves single people on into private rented housing, should be extremely concerned about this change. 
The SSAC is inviting your submissions on the proposals.  You can find details at  http://www.ssac.org.uk/, or from the Secretary to the Committee, Gill Saunders (0207 962 8345). Representations should be sent to the Committee at N E Spur, Level 3, Adelphi Building,
1-11 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HT
or by email to ssac@dwp.gsi.gov.uk, or via the consultation response facility on the website, to arrive no later than 17 June 2011.
In your response you might want to focus on the difficulties people in this age group already have in finding accommodation.  You might also want to focus on the effect on people who are working in low paid jobs, particularly where they have had to move to get work. This measure hardly seems to tie in with the government's aim to create a mobile workforce.
I also suggest that you consider press releasing your response to local media.  It is important that people understand what is going on and what effect it will have.


Regrettably the angry claimant doesn’t have the resources to give advice about individual cases.  But you can get advice here:

Lewes Citizens Advice, 
3 North Court
, Lewes East SussexBN7 2AR   phone 01273 473082  web www.lewesadvice.org.uk

Newhaven Advice Hub, Summerhayes Centre, Newhaven, 01273 612360
East Sussex Disability Association (ESDA) – advice for people with disabilities-  web http://www.esda.org.uk/benefitsadvice/71  phone 01323 514500 
Age UK, benefits advice for older people, Lewes and Wealden 01273 476704 Ext 235

Always phone before visiting if you can to check opening hours and if they can help you.

Private solicitors may be able to offer advice under the legal advice scheme, but the government plans to close this.

If you have a disability or illness the organisation set up to cater for the condition may offer help with benefits.

There are a number of written guides to benefits.  The Disability Rights Handbook is good if you have a disability.  The Child Poverty Action Group sells a wide range of guides.


I’ve been involved in social security for over 40 years and I’ve been constantly amazed at how little people know about it.  We are nearly all claimants, contributing to the national insurance system and claiming child benefit, retirement pension and other benefits.  But most people understand very little about what they are paying for, how much they are paying, and what they are paying for.

This was brought home to me when I was engaging in debate with a an experienced Lewes district councillor, who didn’t appear to know that the council was about to be made completely responsible for devising a new system of council tax benefits, with 10% less money than the government currently spends on the benefit!

It seems to me that there is a real danger of the government getting away with its cuts in benefit because people do not understand what is going on and how it will affect our neck of the woods.  So I’ve started this newsletter.  It doesn’t aim to give benefits advice.  There are lots of sources of that. (See below).  It does try to explain what the system is and how the government’s changes will affect Lewes and Brighton.  Its aim is to improve knowledge, so you are welcome to forward it on to other people and to use the material in the newsletter, providing that you give me a credit and run any changes past me

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