Women’s Aid urges Government to exempt refuges from housing benefit cap

Tuesday 1st March 2016


Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:

“We welcome the Government’s announcement to postpone housing benefit cap to Local Housing Allowance rates for social accommodation for one year. But extra time – whilst a short-term relief – is no exemption. It keeps refuges in a vulnerable and insecure position, which is extremely challenging for services that provide vital support to women and their children escaping violence. Women’s Aid will keep the pressure up on the Government until we know once and for all whether refuges will be exempt from the cap.

“As detailed in an open letter to Iain Duncan Smith, Women’s Aid finds it hard to believe that the Government intends to undo all the work we have done together to secure the future of refuges. The extra £13 million invested since 2014 has saved many of these lifesaving services. But, without exemption from the housing benefit cap, it will all have been in vain. This is because the funding that covers the rent and living costs in refuges will be taken away, reducing it from about £300 per room per week to £60-£100. We urge the Government to give us swift clarification on this vital matter. Refuges will not survive without exemption – and if refuges close, women and children will die.”

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