Sheffield tenants could be ‘forced out’

Huge impact: Harry Harpham.
Huge impact: Harry Harpham.
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THOUSANDS of Sheffield Council house tenants will have to pay more to live in their current home - or downsize - due to benefits changes.

To help free-up family homes which are in short supply, the Department for Work and Pensions is changing rules covering housing benefits which mean payments will cover ‘appropriate’ accommodation only.

People who want to continue living in homes with spare bedrooms, such as couples whose grown-up children have moved out, will see their housing benefits shrink and have to make up the difference to stay in their existing home.

Sheffield Council estimates 6,000 to 7,000 households could be affected.

Officials are visiting affected tenants to advise them on how much money they could lose, and provide support on budgeting or with rehousing.

Stephen Rich, secretary of Greenhill and Bradway Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “It will cause major problems. Can the council rehouse all those who have to move?”

Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for housing, Coun Harry Harpham, said: “The change will have a huge impact on some of the poorest people in Sheffield. Many will find themselves forced to move because they can’t balance their finances.”

But a DWP spokesman said: “It’s right that tenants living in homes larger than their needs make a contribution towards rent or move to appropriate accommodation.”

Foster carers, and disabled people in adapted homes, will be exempt.

What do you think about the changes to housing benefits? Email: letters@thestar.co.uk.