A leaked letter, allegedly sent by Eric Pickles private secretary to the Prime Minister, has expressed concerns about the effects of the Government’s policy to cap benefit payments to any one household at £500 per week.
It was apparently written some six months ago; however it obviously did not deter the Government from going forwards with a policy that is going to potentially make 40,000 people homeless, despite the communities secretary’s concerns.
The Department of Communities and Local Government is concerned that the policy will put more pressure on local authorities who are already stretched, with additional costs expected to go above the £270 million per year from 2013 that the policy is expected to be saving.
The legislation to introduce the benefits cap is contained in the Welfare Reform Bill, which is currently in the House of Lords.
In my opinion, the government clearly doesn't mind that its policies are going to make 40,000 people homeless. Neither does it mind that the legal aid changes, likely in 2012, will mean people will have very little ability to challenge decisions of the DWP. Most of the CABs who make those challenges do it through legal aid. No alternative government funding is being put forward. I wonder which way this is headed then?