New housing benefit rules trigger homeless warning

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MORE than 9000 homes in Edinburgh will become “off limits” to people who rely on benefits to pay their rent once new rules come into force.

Housing benefit is being pegged to the bottom third of rents in any area, and the Chartered Institute of Housing has calculated that some 800,000 homes across the UK will no longer be within reach of those receiving the benefit. In Edinburgh, 9510 houses will become off limits.

Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary, Margaret Curran, said she was writing to the UK government demanding an urgent meeting to discuss the implications.

Ms Curran said: “No family living in 21st-century Scotland should be forced to choose between putting food on the table or their paying rent.

“Of course there is a case for benefit reform to ensure support goes to those most in need, but the government has got to get the detail right otherwise it will clobber the poorest and put hard-pressed Scots on the street.

“There is a real risk that this botched plan could actually end up costing more in the long run by pushing up the costs of homelessness.

“It is time for the Tory-led government to admit that it got it wrong and got back to the drawing board.”