Ministers questioned about mother declared 'intentionally homeless'

13 June 2019

Shadow Work and Pensions Minister, Marsha De Cordova, questioned ministers about the Supreme Court decision to order Birmingham city council to reconsider its decision to declare a single mother of four to be 'intentionally homeless'.

Terryann Samuels was declared "intentionally homeless" by Birmingham City Council when she could not afford to pay her rent in 2011. On Wednesday 12 June the Supreme Court overturned the Council's decision ruling that Ms Samuels should not have had to use her other benefits to make up the shortfall in housing related benefits.

Will Quince MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions told MPs,

"The intention behind the welfare reform programme is that the same considerations and choices faced by people not in receipt of benefits should also face those claiming benefits."

He said decisions in this area should be made by local authorities, but said the DWP would consider the policy implications of the ruling.

De Cordova responded to the statement saying, "Housing benefit can no longer cover the cost of renting in the private sector". She blamed the Government for the situation which led to the case in question;

"The cost of preventing homelessness [is] being pushed from national government to local government. The Government cannot continue to expect the poorest people in our society to find a way of paying for what the Government refuse to."

Image: Anthony O'Neil via geograph

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