Tenants "priced out of the city" given hope of change

May 12, 2009 1:43 PM

Eight hundred tenants, threatened with being priced out of the city after the government changed the rules on housing benefit, were given hope today (Monday) thanks to Cambridge MP David Howarth.

Labour announced if there were to be any changes to the rules they would be made from July 1 after Cambridge's case was fast tracked.

Mr Howarth is hopeful that the decision means the year-long ordeal for the Cambridge tenants will be over and the review will force major changes to the system.

The news comes after months of fighting by Mr Howarth following the government's decision in April last year to replace Housing Benefit with a new Local Housing Allowance.

It led to tenants across the city, who had previously had their rents paid in full, being told they were too expensive and they would have to make up the shortfall.

Mr Howarth has consistently pushed the government to review the case of the Cambridge tenants and change the LHA boundary which led to the city's average rents being calculated along with much cheaper locations across three counties.

He said: "This is very good news that, at last we have a date by which this should be over. But it is still appalling that 800 people have had to go through this.

"Although there are no guarantees that the result will be what we had hoped, it will be appalling if this does not force major change."

Mr Howarth received the news when he raised Cambridge's plight with Kitty Ussher, Under Secretary of State for Work and Pensions during Parliamentary Questions in the Commons.

He was told Cambridge was one of 14 cases that had been fast tracked under a review of LHA rental boundaries.

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