MORE South Tyneside people will become homeless as a result of the Government’s welfare reforms, senior councillors will be informed today.
Members of the council’s cabinet were to receive a series of recommendations on how the authority can best support residents most at risk by the new ‘bedroom tax’ and Universal Credit.
Tenants on benefit will lose out on £55m in household income, with 3,500 households affected by the under-occupation charge and 40,000 people by Universal Credit.
From October, people on housing benefit will need to pay rent directly to their landlord.
And it is feared this could result in a rise in rent arrears and homelessness.
In a report to the cabinet, Coun Jim Foreman, the council’s lead member for housing, says: “We expect an increase in homelessness. We have to ensure our service is robust to meet demand.”
The council is also to work with South Tyneside Homes, with the aim to re-designate one or two-bedroom properties – to prevent people on benefit from losing out financially.
The report adds: “The impact of welfare reform may not be fully realised for six to 12 months. We must also consider the wider impact on services and the economic impact on the borough.
“It is acknowledged many may struggle to complete the online application for Universal Credit, with an estimated 60 per cent of residents not having a personal computer.
“We need to make sure there’s assistance for those people who require it.”