Mapping the impact of welfare reforms in Birmingham

By on 16/04/2013 in Cllr Cotton, News

Birmingham organisations dealing with the impact of the Government's welfare reforms have drawn-up a map identifying crisis support for people affected across the city.

The mapping is one of a number of initiatives carried out by Birmingham’s multi-agency welfare reform committee and identifies a number of organisations offering:

  • Clothing
  • emergency accommodation
  • financial advice
  • financial support
  • food banks
  • housing advice
  • legal advice

And Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Social Cohesion and Equalities, Cllr John Cotton, fears the list will continue to grow as people get to grips with the welfare reforms.

A report to be discussed by the City Council's Cabinet on 22 April (see links below) outlines the predicted impact of the Government reforms upon individuals and communities in Birmingham.

In addition to identifying crisis support, Birmingham City Council has also mapped benefit take up across the city, looking at the impact of the changes upon the following groups:

  • Those affected by Benefit Cap
  • The cap, introduced in four London boroughs on 15 April, will see couples and single parents receive no more than £500 a week in benefits. The limit for single people is £350, although there are some exemptions. National implementation of the cap will begin in July, and the policy should come fully into force by the end of September.
  • Those affected by Social Size Criteria (Bedroom Tax)
  • Low Waged Workers (based on any claimant or partner working more than 16 hrs per week and currently in receipt of Housing Benefit)
  • Those supported via the Troubled Families programme.

The research showed that:

  • Nearly 9,000 Birmingham City Council properties affected by Social Size Criteria
  • Approximately 5,600 social landlord homes are also affected.
  • A potential 2,000 individuals and over 1,000 separate households will be affected by the Benefit Cap.

Cllr Cotton said : “Welfare Reform is an enormous challenge and will have a direct impact on vulnerable people and families across Birmingham.

“The City Council is working closely with partners from across Birmingham – voluntary organisations, charities, community groups and others at the front line of supporting vulnerable people – to ensure that we have a properly coordinated response to these enormous changes.

“Many families and individuals will be hard hit by these changes. We want to make sure they get the help and support they need.”

Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC) is one of a number of organisations working closely with the city council and its Vice-Chair and Founder, Mohammed Al-Rahim, feels the co-ordinated approach will prove vital in the coming months.

Al-Rahim, who is also the President and CEO of Selly Oak charity Freshwinds, added: “This is an important opportunity for the voluntary sector to work cooperatively, together with the City Council and the local business community, to provide vital practical support to citizens of Birmingham in these challenging times, proactively sharing knowledge and resources to coordinate a truly effective response for all those experiencing crisis and hardship.

“The network has already achieved some important successes and this will increase as our membership grows in the coming weeks and months and beyond.”

This afternoon (16 April), Cllr Cotton will update the Social Cohesion and Community Safety Overview Scrutiny Committeee on the work of the multi-action group on welfare reform.

Click on the following link for the live stream from 2pm:

Cabinet Report

Impact of Welfare Reform Update Report

Impact of Welfare Reform Update Report Appendix 1

Impact of Welfare Reform Update Report Appendix 2

Impact of Welfare Reform Update Report Appendix 3

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  1. Shaun Carter says:

    Why don’t you simply reclassify those council properties that are affected by the Bedroom Tax? Reclassify each spare bedroom as a study or storage room. Other councils are doing it….. why don’t you?

    Also, you tell tenants to appeal against any decision made on their rent or Housing Support, and yet when a tenant tries to appeal, they are told they have “no legal right to appeal”. Why do your different letters regarding the Bedroom Tax contradict each other? Why are you removing the legal right for a tenant to appeal?