Massive cuts to benefits in Hackney!

We have received a public document presented by Hackney Homes officers to a recent public Hackney Homes Board meeting which outlines massive cuts to Housing Benefits and other benefits and the way they are to be paid which will have a devastating impact on Hackney residents. See below, but for a summary Hackney Unison have produced this

Welfare Reform (Hackney Homes briefing Oct 2012)

• Reforms from April 2013:

– Benefit Cap

– Under Occupancy


– Council Tax Support

– Replacement of Social Fund with local scheme

• Universal Credit

– Timeframe

– Digital

– Limitations

– Extra Support

– Migration

Benefit Cap (£500/£350)

• Takes effect from 15/04/2013

• 1067 households in Hackney

• 50:50 in social/private rented sector tenancies

• 60 in TA, already homeless

• 93 are HH properties

• Loss in HB between £1.00 -£221.79

• HH have 32 large families (5 children +) affected

• Solution:

– Employment with Working Tax Credit award affords an exemption

Under Occupancy (Bedroom Tax)

• Takes effect from 1/04/2013

• Social rented sector only

• Working age only (not pensioners)

• 4179 households in Hackney

• 2255 households Hackney Homes, rest are RP’s

– 1663 by 1 room will lose 14% of HB

– 592 by 2 rooms will lose 25% of HB

• Solution:

– Find the shortfall, increase your income, take a lodger or move


• DLA abolished and replaced with PIP

• Health conditions will have to last 6 months instead

of 3 months

• Work capability re-assessment programme from

April 2013

• 11,000+ affected in Hackney

• No lifetime awards , renew at intervals of 2 years

• Pilots start in April 2013

• New claims June 2013

• 2 components with 2 rates

Council Tax Support

• Abolishing the current national Council Tax Benefit scheme

• All councils have to replace it with their own new local schemes with 12.5% less funding

• Pensioners protected

• Takes effect from 1/04/2013

• Reduction in support of 15%

• 28,000 households affected

• Public consultation is running from 13/08/12 –

22/10/12 :

Local Replacement Scheme

• Social Fund scheme abolished including Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans function

• Funding passed to councils but at 2005/6 levels, no requirement to run a scheme

• Hackney will run a crisis scheme

• Hackney Discretionary Crisis Support

• Takes effect from 1/04/2013

• £1.4m, £75k less

• Expect 10-11,000 applications

• Online, referrals, limited cash

• Short term advances and budgeting loans will stay with DWP

Universal Credit

• Replaces

– Income Support, JSA IB, ESA IR, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit and Housing Benefit with one benefit

• Paid monthly

• Direct to nominated person in household

• Hackney Homes currently have 15,485 tenants claiming Housing Benefit

• Benefits and Housing Needs Service pay £70+m peryear in Housing Benefit to Hackney Homes rent accounts (2011/12)

Universal Credit

• Timeframe

– Payment Direct pilot in Southwark June 2012

– Lewisham UC face to face pilot Autumn 2012

– Pathfinder with the boroughs of Tameside, Oldham, Wigan and Warrington April 2013

– New claims small scale Oct 2013, full capacity April 2014

• Digital

– Online customer accounts, award notifications, emails

– Limited telephone support and face to face

• Limitations

– Less allowances, no 2 homes, 1 month backdating, less service charge provision

• Extra support

– Exceptions

• Split payments

• More frequently – fortnightly

• Payment direct to landlords

– Budgeting and Support

– Financial Products

• Migration – reclaim not transfer

– Migration 2014-2017

– Natural

• Change of circumstances – 1 month process

– Managed

• 3 month process

• Extra support

– Exceptions

• Split payments

• More frequently – fortnightly

• Payment direct to landlords

– Budgeting and Support

– Financial Products

• Migration – reclaim not transfer

– Migration 2014-2017

– Natural

• Change of circumstances – 1 month process

– Managed

• 3 month process

Key timelines and known impacts:

Bedroom Tax 1/4/2013

• 2255 households affected:

o 1663 will lose 14%

o 592 will lose 25%

Benefit cap 15/04/2013

• 93 households affected

April 2013 – other benefit changes affecting residents disposable

income, non dependent changes, Council tax support

Universal Credit new claims October 2013/April 2014 potential for 30

cases per week

• 2014 change in circumstances

• 2014 – 2017 remaining 15,485 HB claimants move to UC

Potential impacts

Increase in arrears;

Reduction in service charge elements paid;

Increase in legal costs – direct payments with arrears will assist;

Increase in transaction costs (although 16,000 currently make some form of payment);

Increased early intervention resources;

Increased evictions;

Increase in void levels and associated costs;

Increased bad debt provision;

Inadequate debt advice provision and support services;

Increased pressure for vulnerable residents;

Pressure to find smaller properties for under occupiers.


Hackney tops “cuts per person” national league!

Hackney tops the national “cuts per person” league, a cut of £266.17 cut per person in Hackney from 2010-11 to 2012-13. Almost all of the highest cuts are to Labour controlled, and poor, boroughs and the lowest cuts are in Tory controlled boroughs.

Julie Waterson R.I.P.


It is with deep sadness that we report the death of the Julie Waterson the Joint Chair of the Hackney Alliance to Defend Public Services. Julie was an incredibly passionate, warm, funny and motivated person who it was a pleasure to work with and we all are very sad at her passing.
Her obitury, while highlighting her amazing life’s work sadly does not mention her move away from national to local political activism in Hackney in recent years and her excellent work as Secretary of Hackney Trades Union Council and Chair of the Hackney Alliance
Julie Waterson’s funeral service will take place on Friday 30 November, 3pm, at Golders Green crematorium in north London. Assemble 2pm at Golders Green tube station for a march to the crematorium on Hoop Lane, London NW11 7NL.