St Mungo's has warned that housing benefit changes announced in the coalition government's in emergency budget announced today could hit the most vulnerable as they seek to get back into work.
Charles Fraser, Chief Executive, said: "These cuts are going to hurt. Our worry is that, as spending decisions are made by central and local government over coming months, the people they end up hurting might well be the most vulnerable.
"It is widely accepted that homeless people endure exceptional inequality - health inequality and income inequality in particular. Budget measures which treat unequal things equally will not only keep them at the bottom of the pile but make it even more difficult for them to pull themselves up and out. This is the time to turn the notion of 'a hand-up, not a hand-out' into reality, and do this by creating the environment within which opportunity can flourish.
"A majority of our clients have been out of work for more than five years and we welcome this Government's commitment to reforming the welfare to work system in order to challenge this unacceptable state of affairs.
"However, what is clear from our report Work Matters is that sanctions will never be enough to end long term unemployment. We must balance sanctions with support.
"The announcement to reduce housing benefit by 10% for those on Jobseekers Allowance for over a year is very concerning. We'll be asking the Government to keep 100% housing benefit in place until they've clarifed how they see this working in practice - especially given their commitment to protect the most vulnerable."
Inside Housing article, June 2010
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