Welfare reform champions

Please note that an updated welfare reform booklet is now available: This version of the welfare reform includes a number of revisions and improvements and, amongst other changes has improved explanations, more places for support, more information on disability related benefits and an improved layout and design, making it easier for both practitioners and residents to navigate and use.

Please distribute copies to your colleagues and residents that you work with who are affected by the welfare reforms.

Introduction

These webpages will keep welfare reform champions updated on government changes to welfare benefits, the challenges for Tower Hamlets and how the council and partners are supporting residents.

The changes to welfare payments are already underway and will continue to change over the coming years. This timeline is a useful overview of the changes so far. These reforms will impact both those in work as well as out of work which means that several thousand Tower Hamlets residents will be affected.

Recent research for the Local Government Association indicates that Tower Hamlets is in the top 10 per cent of local authority areas hit by Housing Benefit related changes. This is almost wholly due to the high level of rents locally.

The loss per impacted household is also significant.  The council estimates that for the 1100 households affected by the benefit cap, for example, the median weekly loss is £65, with some households losing over £200 per week. Many families will be unable to continue to afford to live in Tower Hamlets, and it may be necessary for some to have to move out of London.

These webpages include information from a range of sources to help you understand what is happening nationally and locally.

If you have specific queries regarding the reforms, please make sure you have read the Practitioner Guide and the Benefit Cap checklists.

The face-to-face advice agencies are already stretched in terms of demand on their services and their capacity to meet current needs.

National helplines and websites are a good place to start to find out information and for referring residents before using face to face organisations.

The significant impact of welfare reform means it is crucial to stay up to date and keep well-informed to help families make realistic and practical decisions. Please share this information to colleagues in your organisation.