Thursday, 15 July 2010

13% of Hackney's benefit cut victims will be ultra orthodox jewish

According to a council document, 213 of Hackney's 1,642 housing benefit claimants - whose rents will no longer be fully covered by benefits if government proposals go through - will be ultra orthodox Jewish (Charedi).

The next largest group to be affected by the cuts is white British with 92 claims affected.

The figures come from this document: (CDM_n2525299_v1_Item_5_-Housing_reform_briefing_paper_for_LiH, item 5. pdf  icon PDF 186 KB taken from the Living in Hackney Scrutiny Commission)

The extent of the Charedi community's dependence on large family homes is demonstrated by this statistic: in April 2009, when benefits payments were capped at five bedrooms (£550), 32 housing benefit claims were affected in Hackney. In other words 32 households that were claiming housing benefit were paying more than £550 per week in rent.

According to Hackney Council, 30 of those claims, or 94%, were from the Charedi community.

After the changes some of these claims fell short of their weekly rent by as much as £300 per week. Despite this the council reports that no applications were made for the extra help that was available to meet these changes.

The council said: "Analysis of these customers showed that 94% are from the Charedi Jewish community. No claims for a Discretionary Housing Payment were received from these claimants and none presented to the Housing Options and Advice Service."

Each of these claims is likely to involve large homes and large families and so the number of people affected by the changes could be much larger than the number of claims.

The wards worst affected are:

New River: 239 housing benefit claimants who are paying rent above the new caps (formerly a Conservative ward now just one Conservative councillor)

Springfield: 227 affected (Now represented by two Conservative councillors and one Labour)
Cazenove: 210 affected (Now represented by three Lib Dems)
Lordship: 164 affected (Now represented by one Conservative and two Labour)

This means that the majority of the councillors representing these wards come from the parties which imposed the cuts: 3 X Lib Dem and 4 X Conservative. This also happens to be all the Lib Dem and Conservative councillors with seats in Hackney Council.

The other wards are all represented by Labour councillors:
Leabridge has 112 housing benefit claimants who are paying rent above the new caps
Dalston: 84
Wick: 80
Chatham: 77
Hackney Downs: 71
Kings Park: 65
Hackney Central: 39
Stoke Newington Central: 35
Brownswood: 32
Clissold: 29
Hoxton: 29
DeBeauvoir: 28
Haggerston: 27
Queensbridge: 22
Victoria: 20

A link to Blood and Property report on the commons debate - led by Meg Hillier - on this issue which took place in the House of Commons on Monday.

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