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a news report by the website Inside Housing, local councils
are putting aside money from their Discretionary Housing
Payments fund. This is because they anticipate an
enormous increase in need next year when more benefits changes
come into effect, such as the benefit
cap and Universal Credit.
65% of the 379 local councils in Great Britain have collectively
put aside almost £8 million of last year's £30
million Discretionary Housing Payments fund. This was
sanctioned last year as a 'one off' by the Department for Work and
Pensions (DWP) following an appeal by several authorities worried
about an expected rise in demand for help next year.
This month, the DWP has announced that it will monitor the
way councils are using DHP, having increased the fund from £60
million a year to £165 million in 2013/2014. Councils
will have to record the reason for DHP awards and submit
returns twice a year.
Housing experts have suggested that this shows that the
Government is concerned that the welfare reforms will increase
The DWP has said it will "work with councils to make the best
use of this resource" and monitoring will ensure that help is given
to those who most need it.
Read the Inside Housing report (link opens in a new window)
The DWP is currently running
a public consultation about the Discretionary
Housing Payments (DHPs) guidance manual that DWP provides to local
authorities. The current guidance has been updated following
changes in welfare benefits such as the introduction of Universal
Credit and abolition of Council Tax Benefit from April 2013.
Although primarily aimed at local authorities who are
responsible for administering DHPs, the DWP also welcomes views
from anyone with an interest in DHPs such as claimants, landlords
or welfare organisations.
You need to submit your views by 31 August 2012
Find out more about the Discretionary Housing Payment consultation
(link opens in a new window)
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