Housing benefit cap challenged

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Housing benefit cap challenged

A legal challenge to local housing allowance (LHA) reforms by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) was heard in the High Court on 21 July.


CPAG challenged the coalition government’s proposals to:

  • Cap the maximum size of a dwelling which can be paid for by housing benefit to 4 bedrooms.
  • Cap the LHA rates paid to tenants in the private rented sector, (for instance the maximum amount for one bedroom in shared house will be £250).

Those living in central London will be amongst those most affected. CPAG points out that ‘many people will have to move so far from their homes. Children’s education could be affected, disabled people will find it difficult to move away from specially adapted accommodation... London could become increasingly “ghettoised”, with poorer people being forced to move to cheaper areas’.
The government’s proposals are driven by their cost cutting agenda.

Grounds for the challenge include that the changes are contrary to what parliament intended the fundamental purpose of housing benefit be: it was meant to be a national scheme to prevent homelessness. The overall cap would mean that a large area of central London would no longer be accessible to housing benefit claimants in the private rented sector.

A ruling is awaited.

More information is available at: www.insidehousing.co.uk