Ian has expressed grave concerns that not only would the Tory-led Government’s proposed housing benefit reforms result in people in South Edinburgh being forced from living on their own in one-bedroom flats to renting a room in shared accommodation, but that a shortfall in availability of multi-occupancy homes for them to rent in South Edinburgh will in fact force many of them onto the streets.

The Government’s proposals are that from April 2012, single claimants of LHA over 25 years but under 35 years will only be entitled to a one room rate based on shared occupancy rather than a self contained property. However, as there are very few shared occupancy homes in the socially rented sector in practice, claimants will need to look for accommodation in the private rented sector.

In figures obtained by Ian, it has become clear that there is a serious deficit in South Edinburgh between the number of House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) and the number of single people on LHA in the area that are facing a cut in their benefit to the single-room rate.

Ian said: “Not only is the Tory-led Government’s oblivious to the fact that its reforms will force ordinary people from their homes if they live on their own into renting a room in shared accommodation and the impact of this on individual’s lives, but even more worrying, they are apparently oblivious to the fact that there simply isn’t the housing stock available in [constituency] to cope with their reforms. We are facing an absolutely horrific crisis in housing. As the private rented sector in Scotland is so much smaller than in other parts of the UK the impact here in South Edinburgh could be much worse and we have serious concerns that some constituents may find themselves out on the street.”

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