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Labour Housing Chief slams Coalition reduction in funds to support social tenants

Councillor Kevin Price, Executive Councillor for Housing at the Labour-run Cambridge City Council, has hit out at the government after the announcement that funding to support social tenants affected by welfare reforms has been cut by almost 20% for the coming year.

The Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) grant has been reduced from £182,516 to £149,334 for 2015/16. It can be topped up by councils from their own budgets but only within a fixed cap.

DHP is supposed to be used to mitigate the impact of the bedroom tax and other welfare reforms as well as to top up Local Housing Allowance for private tenants in high rent areas.

Councillor Price said: "The fact is that this year 84% of our DHP was used to support social tenants hit by the bedroom tax, many of them disabled. We also spent more than the grant we were given so used our own to top up funding. There has been no significant change in the housing market to allow more of those affected to downsize so cutting this fund just means our ability to help is put under strain."

Councillor Price added: "There is an almost constant flow of bad news or worse news coming from this government about housing. This week we heard the frankly bonkers idea from Iain Duncan Smith to give away social housing whilst his department also reduced the safety net for those it is trying to force out of their homes. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that this government is simply ideologically opposed to social housing."

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