Shropshire Star

Shropshire Council hands out £80,000 in rent aid

More than £80,000 has been handed out by Shropshire Council over a three-month period to people needing extra help with their rent, according to new figures.


The local authority distributed £81,285 in discretionary housing payments (DHP) to residents needing financial help between April and June this year.

The fund was introduced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) last year after uproar caused by the Government's under-occupancy charge,dubbed the bedroom tax.

Up to 370 DHP applications were made in Shropshire during the first three months of the financial year, according to details supplied in a Freedom of Information request. But 215 of those were declined or refused.

Applications for assistance have increased on the same period in 2012 and on average people have received money for three months.

Of the money which has already been distributed, up to £45,000 has been awarded to vulnerable people affected by the "size criteria" and more than half of the fund has been given to residents housed by the local authority or a housing association.

Malcolm Price, Shropshire Council's cabinet member responsible for housing, said: "Discretionary housing payments (DHP) are usually provided to people who cannot change their situation because of health or disability.

"For everyone else we are able to offer an alternative solution that includes housing support, relationship support, moving back into work or adult education."

The DWP increased the fund from £60 million a year to £165 million in 2013/2014.

Meanwhile Rebecca Evans, a Mid and West Wales Assembly Member, said new figures proved the bedroom tax was fundamentally flawed and that there were simply not enough smaller properties for people to downsize to.

In Powys, 850 households are affected by the bedroom tax but there is not a single one bedroom property available for those households.

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