Crisis to resist benefits clawback

Crisis, the charity for homeless people, is launching a campaign to resist unpopular plans by the government to ask housing benefit claimants to pay back up to £15 a week they are allowed to keep if they negotiate cheap housing deals.

The Department for Work and Pensions had planned to end this after calculations showed it could bring in £160m.

For some of the least well-off, the change could amount to £15 a week, reducing by a fifth the cash in hand of someone receiving jobseeker’s allowance of £69 and leave some of the poorest families across the country some £780 worse off over the year.

Leslie Morphy, Crisis chief executive, called on the government to reconsider, saying: ‘This proposal would have a grave impact on some of the poorest households.

‘It’s not even likely to make the savings the government hopes, because claimants will no longer have an incentive to seek cheaper properties and landlords may simply raise rents to meet the maximum local authority level.

‘For people who are already struggling to make ends meet, losing a huge chunk of their income will make it even harder to get by and we are worried that this could lead to an increase in debt, rent arrears and homelessness.’