In 2011, the Coalition Government launched a programme of welfare reform, including reform of the Housing Benefits system.
8% of the Welsh population receives housing benefit in Wales. Changes to the housing benefit system announced by the Government include: changes to how the rate of housing benefit is set; changes to the way the Local Housing Allowance is set; increasing non-dependent deductions; and reforms to social housing. The introduction of the Housing Benefit Cap will also have an impact on individuals and families.
The Committee invites written submissions and requests observations on the following issues:
• the impact of the housing benefit reforms in Wales;
• whether the housing benefit policy is coherent and enables access to homes in Wales; and
• whether benefit reform is in danger of driving private landlords out of the low income rental market, thereby increasing shortages to social housing.
The Committee is particularly interested to hear from individuals who have been affected by these reforms.
This is the first of two inquiries that the Welsh Affairs Committee has decided to hold into the impact of welfare reform in Wales. The second inquiry relates to the Works Programme. Separate terms of reference have been issued and stakeholders are invited to respond to both inquiries, if appropriate.
The Committee asks for written submissions on this issue in accordance with the guidelines stated below. The deadline for written submissions is Monday 10 December 2012. Evidence sessions for this inquiry will begin in the New Year. Witnesses will be announced in due course.
Each submission should:
• begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
• have numbered paragraphs; and
• be in Word format or a rich text format with as little use of colour or logos as possible. Please do not send your submission as a PDF document.
A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to [email protected] and marked “Housing Benefit”.
It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.
A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/witnessguide.pdf ( PDF 1.25 MB)
Please also note that:
• Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
• Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
• Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
• Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.