Welfare reform

2013 will see the most radical changes to welfare for decades. Councils are having to take on new responsibilities with council tax support and the local provision for the social fund. But there are other significant indirect consequences for councils; some of which are still uncertain, such what the impact will be of housing benefit and other welfare changes people of claimants having to downsize or move to cheaper areas. Welfare cuts will undoubtedly mean rising demand for some services, such as money advice and possibly homelessness services in some areas. The financial impact on councils is uncertain – will the new arrangements for rent under universal credit, for example, mean a rise in bad debts? We will begin to understand the implications more as universal credit is phased in starting in April. The council is well aware of the problems ahead and is doing what it can to advise residents expected to be caught up in the changes.

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