Theresa May Warned over Effects of Housing Benefit Cuts

Theresa may has only recently been made Britain’s second ever female Primeminister. Walking into David Cameron’s shoes, she is faced with the rising problem that homelessness that has been sweeping over Britain. Some may see this as a result of the ‘harsh’ cuts implemented by the Torys during David Cameron’s time in office. Being faced with the prospect of homelessness has had an extremely negative impact on British citizens, particularly those most vulnerable. Pressure has been mounting for Theresa May to begin resolving what can be known as a homelessness crisis in the UK, but how will she deal with something that has gotten so out of hand? And will she continue to make further cuts?housing benefit cuts

Now that Britain has left the EU, they have a job as a standalone country to maintain their international reputation. Failure to stop making further cuts to housing benefit, or to scrap the ones that are already in place risks damaging the international reputation Britain already has. The cuts that have been discussed will hit the most vulnerable people the hardest including veterans and the disabled and labour has stressed the importance in making sure the cuts that are already planned and in place, do not continue to go ahead. Many people rely on the housing funding scheme to keep their homes, and cuts could mean that even more people are on the streets of Britain, unable to afford shelter. There are all manner of people relying on the government for the safety of a home and Theresa May has been warned that by cutting allowances, she will be increasing the risk of the safety of those fleeing from domestic violence, as well as jeopardising the well-being of  the mentally ill and the disabled. Many labour ministers are calling for Theresa May to completely reverse the changes and cuts that have previously been announced. Earlier in the year it was announced that the supported housing sector was to be exempt for one year for a planned rent reduction of 1%. Due to calls of unfairness and potential major damage being caused, Theresa May’s new government have agreed to review the proposed plans, taking into consideration their potential impact.

Shadow communities secretary Grahame Morris has expressed his concerns by saying that rather than just amending cuts, the government needs to stop all the cuts to housing benefit that are going to have devastating effects. Although during meetings Theresa May has agreed to delay the implementation of the caps, but Mr Morris thinks it is important that the idea is forgotten altogether, and totally reverse the decision. Questioning where the compassion lies, Mr Morris asked how government could possibly abandon the most vulnerable in society, and what will this say about the priorities of the government, when there are other, deeper issues going on in the UK? Whilst housing support may be costing the country money, it is known as a mark of a decent and civilised society, in particular to keep the covenant we have with veterans that once upon a time contributed so much to our country. Mr Morris has been keen to show Theresa May and her government that the cuts show a lack of compassion to those that actually deserve it. Morris reminded Theresa May of her speech on the steps of number 10 after her appointment, when she said that she strives for a country that works for everybody. However, May does indeed face pressure from both sides, with the Conservatives on the inside ignoring calls to slash the cuts and continuing with them. Once labelled the ‘nasty party’ by Theresa May herself, are the conservatives slowly but surely changing the new Primeminister’s opinions?

Despite fears of looming changes, if any caps were to go ahead they wouldn’t take effect until April 2018, which also leaves time for a decision to be overturned. Labour’s main concern is the security of those that may be left without homes after a housing benefit cut and therefore they are really fighting for a change.

Theresa May’s Benefit Challenge

Monday marked yet another historical day for Britain, as Angela Leadsom stepped down, leaving a proud Theresa may as current PM David Cameron’s successor. Today, David Cameron moves out, and Theresa May moves into the infamous Number 10, as she attempts to pick up where he left off, guiding Britain slowly but surely out of the EU, whether we like it or not. Becoming Prime minister at such a tumultuous time for Britain will certainly be no easy feat, and Theresa May already has a to-do list from hell as she gets her feet snugly under the Downing Street table. With a new Prime minister in our midst, how will the change of hands affect the day to day lives of those living off pension and benefit payments? Will the change be for the better? Or will harsh cuts continue to leave people financially unstable?

Universal Credit

Unfortunately for low-paid  working families, there are plans for the cuts to tax credits that had seemingly been abandoned by Iain Duncan Smith, to be re-started. The re-introduction of the controversial cuts is said to hit those that need financial support most, with a loss of £3000 a year by 2020. Furthermore, it could be said that the Universal Credit programme has been nothing but hassle since it was initially introduced. The transition from other benefits included Job Seeker’s Allowance to Universal Credit has been complicated and not exactly greeted with open arms as a positive change. As a result, the procedure has been massively delayed and is thought to become one of the biggest challenged for Theresa May to put straight. Parliament have in the past, attempted to discover why there have been delays with Universal Credit and have even accused the DWP of being evasive with their responses. It has been announced that Universal Credit will not be implemented fully until 2021, 4 years after its starting date. The lack of transparency the DWP has provided into the progress of Universal Credit has been seen as unacceptable by many MP’s.

Admittedly, the new system is a lengthy process, with all six existing benefits received by claimants being rolled into one. This calls for complicated IT system and change in the financial routine of 500, 000 people. The Universal Credit system does ultimately account for lower in-work benefits for working families and so when Theresa May attempts to get the enforcement in order, she is likely to be met with backlash, particularly from less than happy claimants. There has been much concern over the sudden and steep withdrawal of benefits, that no doubt May will have to address.

Pension Cuts

Theresa May, will also face an extremely tough decision with her new position of power, dealing with votes for pension cuts after years of annual rises for pensioners. Now she is leading Britain out of the EU, it is likely Theresa may will have the backing of Britain’s older generation. However, with a decision to cut pensions looming, will the support remain amicable? Reports have shown that rates from annuity firms fell by 2% after Brexit was announced, showing a possible glimpse into the future negative effects Brexit may have on pensions and those saving for retirement. With Priti Patel, a female work and pensions minister, set to be appointed by May into the cabinet, could things be about to change?

Reports that have looked into the falling annuity rates have suggested that it could continue, as a post-Brexit recession means that the funding is simply not there, and pressure will be placed on tax revenues, which are needed to pay state pensions. It has been suggested that the changes will affect those that are not already retired, meaning that Theresa May will have to work hard to support the financial futures of those still in work, saving for their future. The promised ‘triple-lock’ on pensions (increasing the payment with price and wage inflation) may now not be possible in the wake of a Brexit. This promise was also made by the now-resigned David Cameron.

As the Prime minister attends his last parliamentary meeting and bids goodbye to the country, we wait with baited breath to see what Theresa may has in store.