Local Housing Allowance – Shared Accommodation rate

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2014 National Women's Conference
18 October 2013

This conference believes that the Government’s decision to raise the Local Housing Allowance shared accommodation rate to 35 year olds was not subject to equality impact testing.

It is well documented that women earn less than men and therefore find it harder to afford private sector rents. With the changes to eligibility for the 1 bedroom rate higher numbers of single women are being forced into shared accommodation yet they have no control over whom else is in the house with them. For women who have experienced physical and sexual abuse feeling unsafe in their home environment is traumatic yet this Government has in effect put more women at further risk not only to their physical self but to their mental well being. Conversely one of the few exemptions to the LHA change is prisoners; which means that a perpetrator of serious physical and /or sexual abuse aged under the age of 35 years can on release claim Local Housing Allowance for a 1 bedroom home. This is totally unacceptable and sending out the wrong signal to victims.

Conference instructs the National Women’s Committee to,

1)Raise the profile specifically on ‘Shared Accommodation Rate’, its workings and its likely impact on women. This may include a fact sheet for members.

2)Conduct appropriate research on the impact on women and,

3)use the findings of any research to campaign against any adverse impact on women which may ultimately include campaigning for an overhaul of the legislation.