Housing benefit and welfare reform: Impact of the proposed changes on black and minority ethnic communities

Author(s): Sue Beasor;  

Corporate author: Housing Quality Network

Briefing series: Better Housing Briefing Paper 18

Publisher: Race Equality Foundation

Publication date: April 2011

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  Housing benefit and welfare reform: Impact of the proposed changes on black and minority ethnic communities
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The coalition government has introduced a package of measures intended to reduce the increasing cost of Housing Benefit (HB). This paper examines the impact of these cuts on black and minority ethnic communities. Living in areas targeted by the cuts, black and minority ethnic communities are also likely to experience higher child poverty rates and need larger accommodation due to family size. Furthermore, although some of the reductions in housing benefit do not apply to claimants with disabilities, there is evidence to suggest that black and minority ethnic disabled people are less likely to claim the benefits to which they are entitled.

Key messages

  • Changes have been made to the current benefits and tax credits schemes, aimed at reducing spending and improving work incentives. The introduction of Universal Credit has been welcomed in principle, but some aspects are of concern to organisations representing claimants
  • The reduction and capping of Local Housing Allowance will impact disproportionately on black and minority ethnic communities as many live in areas targeted by the cuts and will often need larger accommodation due to family size
  • Child poverty rates for black and minority ethnic families in the UK are higher than the national average and the Housing Benefit cuts are likely to increase this disparity
  • Increased conditionality for working-age claimants is more likely to impact on black and minority ethnic claimants as they are disproportionately represented among workless households
  • Some of the reductions in Housing Benefit do not apply to claimants with disabilities; however, black and minority ethnic claimants are less likely to claim the benefits that provide this protection
  • Local authority Benefit services and their partners need to work together to mitigate the effects of the changes, where possible.

Sections:

  • Brief outline of the main changes
  • Impact of the changes on black and minority ethnic communities
  • Families with children
  • Unemployed claimants
  • People with disabilities and/or health issues
  • Preparation for change