“Upside-down” under-occupancy penalty could cost taxpayers
Following today's report by the University of York suggesting that savings from the Under-Occupancy Penalty will not be as high as initially estimated by the DWP, Citizens Advice Chief Executive, Gillian Guy, said:
“Recent changes to under-occupancy rules are an upside-down approach to policy-making. Ministers’ stated goals in introducing these changes were to make better use of our housing stock and save taxpayers’ money. The early signs are that ministers are falling short on both of their main aims.
“Hundreds of thousands of people are being backed into a corner with the under-occupancy charge due to the chronic state of our social housing stock and the enormous pressure on family budgets. Only forty out of every one thousand households in the social-rented sector will have the opportunity to downsize and the others will have to find extra money out of already-squeezed budgets. In some cases this policy will backfire as those people that can move into private housing will often cost taxpayers more due to the higher cost of Housing Benefit.
“To solve this problem without putting unmanageable additional strain on household budgets, we need to radically improve our supply of social housing. Addressing one symptom of the UK’s inadequate housing stock without tackling wider problems risks asking a small number of families to shoulder the burden for years of under-investment in house building.”
Notes to editors:
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