Category Archives: Council Housing

Council Housing Tenants will pay for empty bedrooms from April 2013

Do you have an unused bedroom?

If you are a council housing tenant who is below retirement age and receives housing benefit are you aware that you will receive a reduction in the housing benefit you receive from April 2013?

Housing Benefit is reducing for people living in homes too large for their needs; a situation known as ‘under occupying’ a property. This change will affect tenants who:

• rent their home from a social landlord eg. Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing or a housing association, and  have at least one spare bedroom in their home, and  are of ‘working age’ ie. under pension credit age.

For full details of all the Welfare Benefit Changes and how they will affect you, please follow the link below.

http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/answers/benefits/welfarebenefitchanges.pdf

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Brackenhall Estate now covered by one TRA

The members of CHOBB and Brackenhall Action Group had discussed the idea of coming together into one group to represent the whole of the Brackenhall Estate.

A leaflet proposing the idea was circulated to the whole estate and at a meeting held on July 8th 2012, at Northfield Hall it was agreed that CHOBB TRA would expand the area that it coveres to include the area formally represented by the Action Group.

At the meeting it was felt that one larger group for the area would have a stronger voice and a greater say in issues that affect us.

Cameron to announce new cuts to welfare benefits

cameron-tories-slash-benefits

David Cameron: ‘We have been encouraging working-age ­people to have children and not work.’ Photograph: Carl Court/PA

David Cameron will on Monday launch a scathing attack on what he calls the “culture of entitlement” in the welfare system, as he warns that claimants with three or more children may start to lose access to benefits, and almost everyone aged under 25 will lose housing benefit.

The prime minister will claim there is now a damaging and divisive gap in Britain between those enjoying privileges inside the welfare system and those resentfully struggling outside. It is likely to be seen on the left as the death knell for Cameron’s brand of compassionate conservatism.

He will also single out lone parents of multiple children as a focus for cuts and insist the welfare system should be a safety net available only to those with no independent means of support. The reforms could see a range of benefits targeted, including income support payments.

The speech represents a shift in the prime minister’s political management of the coalition because he will openly acknowledge that some of the proposals cannot be delivered in concert with the Liberal Democrats, and will have to wait for a Conservative majority government after 2015.

He says he hopes the Lib Dems will co-operate on some of the proposals, but “given the scale of change I’ve suggested, and the long time-frames involved, I am exploring these issues not just as leader of a coalition but as a leader of the Conservative party who is looking ahead to the programme we will set out to the country at the next election”.

The Lib Dem Treasury chief secretary, Danny Alexander, gently rebuffed this, saying the focus should be on introducing universal credit in this parliament.

In the single most controversial passage of the speech, Cameron will assert: “We have been encouraging working-age people to have children and not work, when we should be enabling working-age people to work and have children. So it’s time we asked some serious questions about the signals we send out through the benefits system.”

He will say: “If you are a single parent living outside London, if you have four children and you’re renting a house on housing benefit, then you can claim almost £25,000 a year. That is more than the average take-home pay of a farm worker and nursery nurse put together. That is a fundamental difference. And it’s not a marginal point. There are more than 150,000 people who have been claiming income support for over a year who have three or more children … and 57,000 who have four or more children. The bigger picture is that today, one in six children in Britain is living in a workless household – one of the highest rates in Europe.”

Cameron will admit this is difficult territory, but will say that at a time of austerity, “It is right to ask whether those in the welfare system should not be faced with the same kinds of decisions that working people have to wrestle with when they have a child.”

Calling for a national debate on welfare, he will insist that compassion should not be measured by the size of a welfare cheque. He will also turn his fire on young people aged under 24 on housing benefit. He will say: “For literally millions, the passage to independence is several years living in their childhood bedroom as they save up to move out; while for many others, it’s a trip to the council where they can get housing benefit at 18 or 19 – even if they’re not actively seeking work.”

Cameron is targeting the current 210,000 people aged 16 to 24 who are social housing tenants, although it is not clear if all of them will be single. He says the measure could save £1bn, but will not apply to victims of domestic violence.

The government has already capped housing benefit for anyone aged under 35 renting from a private landlord, so the maximum is the same as renting a single room in a shared house. The government is forecasting that housing benefit expenditure will peak in 2012/13 at £23.2bn, before falling back to £21.4bn in 2016/17.

But ministers have signalled that they are looking for a further £10bn in welfare cuts, mainly after the next election.

In other measures, Cameron may also announce plans to tighten the definition of homelessness, a shift to regionally set benefits, and measures to tighten the requirements to actively seek work before receiving jobseeker’s allowance .

For those that have not found work after two years on jobseeker’s allowance, he will say they must undertake some form of compulsory community work, such as tidying parks.

As part of a broader argument about a welfare divide in the UK, he will claim: “We have, in some ways, created a welfare gap in this country – between those living long term in the welfare system and those outside it. Those within it grow up with a series of expectations: you can have a home of your own, the state will support you whatever decisions you make, you will always be able to take out no matter what you put in. This has sent out some incredibly damaging signals. That it pays not to work. That you are owed something for nothing. It gave us millions of working-age people sitting at home on benefits even before the recession hit. It created a culture of entitlement. And it has led to huge resentment amongst those who pay into the system, because they feel that what they’re having to work hard for, others are getting without having to put in the effort.”

Cameron will also say his crackdown will apply only to those of working age and not to pensioners. He will say: “Two years ago I made a promise to the elderly of this country and I am keeping it. I was elected on a mandate to protect those benefits – so that is what we have done.”

Will £40,000 per year make you too ‘rich’ for social housing?

The housing minister, Grant Shapps, is expected to announce proposals to stop “high earning” tenants from having a local authority-owned house, in an attempt, he will argue, to keep social homes for “those most in need”.

This is one of the proposals the government is looking at to deal with an expected 400,000 new young ‘renters’ by 2020.

It is forecast that by 2020 more than 1 million young people will be “locked out” of home ownership in eight years’ time, making up a generation that is “increasingly marginalised” and renting due to the lack of houses, a study warns.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation says that by 2020, 400,000 vulnerable young people could be “excluded completely”, unable to afford either to rent or buy accommodation. Home owners under the age of 30 will fall from 2.4 million to 1.3 million, a drop of 46%. The foundation also predicts that by then 400,000 vulnerable young people could be “excluded completely”, unable to afford either to rent or buy accommodation.

Signalling a widening intergenerational gap, the report warns that many young people who today might expect to get on to the housing ladder will in future find they cannot buy a home.

Instead the young of today either might have to rent property over their lifetime, or, well into their 30s, remain with their parents and try to save to buy a home.

These expectations are unlikely to be fulfilled, the foundation says. It forecasts an extra 1.5 million 18-to-30-year-olds will be renting a home in 2020, while another half a million young people will “stay at home”; by 2020 the number living with “mum and dad” will be 3.7 million. .

With an influx of young people hunting places to rent there are concerns that families and poorer households will be unable to compete.

Given that the numbers of renters is set to rise dramatically, the foundation suggests that the government intervenes in the market to ensure “more affordable rents”, with tax breaks for landlords who offer secure tenancies. So far the Treasury has been unsympathetic to such ideas.

Kathleen Kelly, at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, warned that without action, the 400,000 young people predicted to be living on the edge in 2020 could “turn a housing crisis into a homelessness disaster”.

At the heart of the issue lies an “undersupply” of housing, a point emphasised on Tuesday by government data that showed the quantity of affordable homes under construction fell by 68% in a year ? from 49,363 in 2010/11 to 15,698 in 2011/12. The government’s target is for 170,000 new affordable homes by 2015. Jack Dromey, the shadow housing minister, said the predicament of young people arose from the government’s austerity drive. “It’s an absolute tragedy that 1 million young people could be locked out of home ownership by 2020. One of the biggest consequences of the housing crisis is the rise of ‘generation rent’ as young people face a squeeze on their wages, increasingly unaffordable rents and greater difficulty saving for a deposit.”

He added: “As a growing number of young people lose hope of buying a home and come to live with mum and dad, or in the private rented sector, they will be asking what the government is doing to tackle the housing crisis. So too will their parents.”

The housing minister, Grant Shapps, is expected to announce proposals to stop “high earning” tenants from having a local authority-owned house, in an attempt, he will argue, to keep social homes for “those most in need”.

Hammersmith & Fulham council, a Conservative-run borough in London, has proposed a move to prevent couples who earn more than £40,000 living in a council home.

Shapps said: “I am determined that we pull out all the stops to get Britain building and deliver the affordable homes this country needs, both to buy and to rent. That’s why, despite the need to cut the record deficit we inherited, we’re investing £4.5bn in a building programme set to exceed all original expectations and deliver up to 170,000 new affordable homes, on top of a further £1.3bn to get stalled developments back on track and to build the infrastructure we need to unlock sites for housing.”

What to do if you are struggling with council tax payments

Council tax benefit is claimed by 5.9 million low income families, more than any other means tested benefit or tax credit in the UK.

The number of people falling behind with their council tax rose by more than a quarter in 2011 despite council tax freezes across England.

The average amount owed in council tax arrears also increased, from £675 in 2010 to £717 in 2011.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies warns that coalition plans to scrap the existing council tax benefit system from 2013, which provides discounts for those on low incomes, and to cut the amount spent on such benefits by 10% while ring fencing benefits for pensioners means that there will be higher cuts to benefits for working-age households, particularly in areas where there was a high proportion of older claimants. It added that the 10% cut would force councils to choose between making significant cuts to working-age claimants’ benefits, cutting services or increasing council tax.

Council tax benefit is claimed by 5.9 million low income families, more than any other means tested benefit or tax credit in the UK.

What to do if you are struggling with council tax payments

• Contact your council to discuss the problem – it may let you spread your payments over 12 months instead of 10 to reduce the amount due each month

• Check if you qualify for a discount or exemption: a full council tax bill is based on at least two adults living in the household, but many people get exemptions, including student nurses, full time college and university students and live-in carers looking after someone who is not their partner, spouse or child. Even if you are not eligible for a regular discount, your council may be able to award you a one-off discount in cases of extreme hardship.

• If you have already missed payments, work out how much you of the arrears can afford to repay each month and offer to make regular payments to the council. Only offer what you know you can keep up with: if you renege on these payments or fail to come up with an offer, the council can ask the local magistrates court for a liability order – a demand for the full amount you owe, plus costs.

• Do not ignore a liability order – this could lead to deductions from your wages, the use of bailiffs, bankruptcy or repossession of your home. In extreme cases, it could even lead to a prison term.

• Contact one of the free debt counselling services, including the CCCS,Citizens Advice or National Debtline, for advice.

Extra Jubilee Event Funding

Two of the TRA’s in Huddersfield North have succesfully obtained extra funding for their TRA Jubilee Events.

Malham Court Action Group have worked with one of their local Cllrs, Cahal Burke to obtain £500 funding from the Huddersfield Area Committee to help them involve their local school and residents from the surrounding Oakes estate in their event.

Skelmanthorpe Tenants and Residents Association applied to the Co-operative Society Community Grant scheme for funding for their Jubilee Gala. They beat off strong competition to be awarded £500.

If your group has succesfully bid for funding why not share your success? Email huddsnorthtra@gmail.com and we will post details on this site. 

Excel Community Grants

Excel Grants are available again.

After a gap of three months grants are available again for communities to apply for.

There is a new lower limit of £300 (down from £500) on the amount that can be applied for.

If you have a project or event that you want to apply for funding for, you can apply online at the KNH website. 

TRA Jubilee Events in Hudds North

Saturday 2nd June from 11.00am – Salendine Nook TRA Jubilee Gala at Pennine Crescent Premises – Stalls, Food, Games and fun at this family event

Monday 4th June from 10.30 – Bradley Jubilee Coffee Morning in 25 Alandale Road TRA Premises Garden, enjoy coffee and cake with fun and games for the kids

Tuesday 5th June from 2.00pm – Deercroft TRA Jubilee Celebration with food – Red, White & Blue Theme – Wear your favourite hat or make a special one – Hat judging by Cllr Tony Brice

Tuesday 5th June from 12.00 – Longfield & Ridgeway 50’s Event at the DRAM Centre with food from the 1950’s

Tuesday 5th June from 12.00 – Netherwood Close Jubilee Garden Party on the grassed area by the Pergola. Music, buffet, raffle and refreshments.

Thursday 7th June from 4.00pm – Rawthorpe Jubilee Celebration in Brownroyd Avenue Community Building – Games for Children and Fun Foods

Saturday 9th June from 12.00 – Malham Court Jubilee Celebration on Playing Fields opposite the flats. Stalls, Choir, Kite Flying, DJ’s, Food and Refreshments. Raffle for Huddersfield Giants signed rugby ball and lots of other prizes. Event to be opened by Cllr Cahal Burke

Saturday 9th June from 2.00pm – Richmond Avenue TRA Street Party on the grassed area between the bungalows.

Friday 15th June from 7.00pm – Kirkheaton TRA Sports Night in the Liberal Club – Free Buffet, raffle and darts, Dominoes, Pool and All Four competitions with prizes for the winners (Free Entry)

Saturday 16th June from 2.00pm – Skelmanthorpe TRA Jubilee Gala on the Sports Field – Stalls, Food, Games, Refreshments, DJ with fun and entertainment for all the family. Event to be opened by the Mayor of Kirklees, Cllr David Ridgeway

If your event is not here and you would like it to be publicised let Graham (KFTRA Fieldworker) know and he will add you to the events list

Northfield Hall – A Brand New Community Facility

Opened by Joan Mallinson, Chair Brackenhall Community Trust and longstanding CHOBB TRA member

Northfield Hall is a brand new building located in the heart of the regenerated Brackenhall Estate.

A huge new assett for Huddersfield North Groups

The facilities are first class and ideal for community groups to use.Facilities include;large multi purpose hall – high quality meeting rooms – Cafe – WiFi – Play Gym – Activity room for ‘messy’ activities – Exhibition Space – Catering – Football Pitches – MUGA – showers  

There are already 16 community groups signed up to use the building and the pricing structure for the buildings facilities are geared towards community use starting at £10 for a meeting room.

For bookings or information Tel 01484 551532 or email bookings@northfieldhall 

New Karate Club starts June 6th, all ages welcome

New Karate Club starts June 6th, all ages welcome

Deighton into Sport project - Dancers

Deighton into Sport project – Dancers