Our response to the 2023 Autumn Statement proposed reforms
Yesterday's Autumn Statement proposed a new UK Government 'crackdown' on benefit sanctions from 2025, with the aim to reform the benefits system and work capability assessments. TPAS Cymru & Tai Pawb’s joint Tenant Disability Network met today and condemns these reforms as they pose not only a potential threat to the security of disabled tenants' homes, but will also increase their vulnerability and place strain on tenants' quality of life.
Heading into the winter, and further into the current cost-of-living crisis, this news comes at a time where tenants are already concerned about a significant, imminent rent rise in renting costs. ( Inside Housing - News - Welsh government announces 6.7% rent cap from April 2024) Along with an announced energy price rise from January 2024 of £94 for the typical annual household bill. (Energy price cap will rise in January adding pressure on households - BBC News)
At a time where housing associations are already stretched to provide financial support to tenants, the Westminster Government must support tenants' with the lowest incomes in order to prevent another rise in homelessness from these decisions.
TPAS Cymru recently closed its latest Tenant Pulse survey, which shares the voices of over 1,000 tenants across Wales. Of the tenants whose main income comes from welfare benefits, 36% said that their payments were already too low to make their rent affordable and over half (52%) of tenants explained that they want their landlord's main priority to be keeping rent affordable.
Tenants' voices matter and the UK & Welsh Government must consider the impact of actions such as these, and prioritise supporting those in society who are most in need.