Over 530 Westminster Council tenants have just 12 weeks to move to smaller flats or lose part of their Housing Benefit

Over 530 Westminster Council tenants will be told to move to small flats in the next 12 weeks or they will lose part of their Housing Benefit because the Government says that they are living in flats that are too big for them.

According to Council figures, there are 533 Council tenants of working age and claiming Housing Benefit who are living in flats where they have one or more extra bedrooms. If they do not move to a smaller flat before 1st April 2013 they will lose part of their Housing Benefit, regardless of whether the Council has been able to find them a smaller flat which meets their needs.

Up until this week, the Council had been unable to say how many of its tenants are affected and at risk of losing part of their benefits.

In response to the question from Karen Buck MP;

“If a household requests a move but Westminster cannot accommodate their transfer request before the new rules come in, will HB still be deducted?

CityWest Homes replied;

“If a tenant is on the transfer list but does not move before the cap is introduced, the legislation means that they will still be subject to the cap.”

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;

“This is a heartless move from the Conservative Government which is being implemented with typical incompetence by Westminster Conservatives. Up until this week the Council had no idea how many of its tenants were affected. The Council does not know if it has sufficient available properties of the right size and in the right locations to enable people to move to new flats in the next three months. And with 1st April fast approaching, tenants who are affected will have just 12 weeks to find somewhere new to live or they will lose part of their Housing Benefit and risk being unable to pay their rent or going into debt through no fault of their own. This is the Nasty Party getting nastier.”

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