LETTER : Homeless suffer new regulations

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The Independent Online
Sir: Shortly before Parliament rose for the election the Government introduced regulations that would, if passed, limit housing benefit for single private-sector tenants under 60 to the cost of a single room with shared facilities.

As representatives of organisations working in the fields of housing and homelessness, we believe that these restrictions would lead to an increase in homelessness and would, by making it more difficult for people on benefit to find acceptable housing in the private sector, penalise both responsible landlords and prospective tenants.

The regulations were introduced in spite of the Social Security Advisory Committee's recommendation that no action should be taken until similar restrictions affecting people under 25, which were introduced last October, had been properly evaluated. We believe that to proceed without such an evaluation is at the very least imprudent, and could lead to considerable suffering among some of the poorest people in our society.

We therefore call upon whichever party is in government after 1 May to accept the SSAC's recommendation and withdraw these regulations until a proper evaluation of the effects of existing restrictions, both on individuals and on the private rented market, has been carried out.


Director, Homeless Network


Director, CHAR Housing Campaign for Single People


Director, Shelter


The Salvation Army


National Federation of

Residential Landlords

London SW1