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Leeds Tenants Federation opposes Welfare Reform Bill
Iain Dalton, Hyde Park and Headingley Socialist Party
Almost 100 people attended a conference called by Leeds Tenants Federation to discuss the government's Welfare Reform Bill and its impact on tenants in Leeds.
Linda McNeill, the federation's chair, introduced the meeting. 1.7 million families are on council house waiting lists with 2.6 million trapped in overcrowded housing. Rather than the government's attacks on tenants being any sort of solution, the Federation calls for a cap on rents in the private sector, secure tenancies for private tenants and a building programme of social housing.
Steve Carey, Leeds council's officer for revenue and benefits, explained how the government's reforms impact upon Leeds.
The government has already reduced caps in housing benefits. Large families now cannot claim for more than the rate for a four bedroom property. But caps are unlikely to make private landlords drop rents.
Changes in the socially rented sector, from April 2013, around 'under-occupancy' mean children would be expected to share rooms up to the age of ten if they are of different sexes and up to the age of 16 if they are the same sex.
The Federation is also campaigning over the 6.8% social rent increase in the Labour council's budget and the 6,000-7,000 empty private properties in the council area.