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Published : 13/11/2012 00:00

Roadshows help Leeds residents understand changes to benefits

People who may be affected by the Government’s changes to benefits are being invited to attend a roadshow in their local area.

Leeds City Council has already organised 12 roadshow events over the next three months, to make sure anyone with any concerns or questions can speak to an expert advisor in person and take away any information they may need.

The first roadshow is being held on 16 November at Armley One Stop Centre followed by one on 19 November at the Great George Street One Stop Centre in the city centre, both are  between 9am to 3pm.

From April next year the Government is bringing in a number of changes which will affect the amount of benefit people get. The changes include:
Housing benefit – under occupancy
Nationally the amount of Housing Benefit paid to working age tenants who live in council or housing association properties will be reduced, where they have more bedrooms than the family needs under the regulations.
Benefit Cap
There will be a national cap on the amount of benefits a single person or family can receive. The cap is limited to £500 per family, and £350 for a single person.
Council Tax Benefit
National funding for local council tax benefit schemes is being reduced, this could see working age customers receiving less support.
 
There will also be additional changes from October 2013;
Universal Credit
Nationally there will be the introduction of the single monthly payment of benefits, this will be called Universal Credit. Universal Credit will replace the following means tested benefits; Income Support, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit and Tax Credits.

In order to help everyone be as prepared for these as possible the council has arranged these road shows where information and advice will be available from council benefits advisors on all aspects of the government’s changes to welfare provision.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“I am deeply concerned about the impact that the full range of welfare reforms is going to have on many people across the city.

“As a responsible council and social landlord, we want to make sure all affected people are fully aware of the impact this may have on them as early as possible so that they can make informed decisions about how to cope with the changes.

“These roadshows will provide a great opportunity for anyone with any concerns or questions to speak to people who can hopefully offer a solution or reassurance.

“It is sadly inevitable that some people will need to adapt to receiving less benefits than they do now, and some may need to move to a smaller property but rest assured we have teams in place ready to offer support and advice to help minimise any confusion and disruption as far as we possibly can.”

The remaining roadshows for 2012 are:
30 November – The Reginald Centre, Chapeltown
3 December – St George’s Centre, Middleton
7 December – Aireborough One Stop Centre
10 December – The Compton Centre, One Stop Centre, Hareills
2013:
7 January – Otley One Stop Centre
11 January – Osmondthorpe One Stop Centre
14 January – Morley One Stop Centre
21 January – Pudsey One Stop Centre
28 January – Seacroft South One Stop Centre
31 January – Seacroft North One Stop Centre
All will be held between 9am to 3pm and will operate as drop-in sessions.

For further information and any updates on new road shows please visit leeds.gov.uk/benefits.

ENDS

Members of the public with any enquiries about issues in this press release should contact 0113 2224404.

Members of the media only should contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk