City’s Housing Benefit service is collapsing thanks to cuts while bosses hide in cupboards and do nothing!
The BRISTOLIAN has been contacted by numerous housing officers, advice workers and claimants who tell us that Bristol’s HOUSING BENEFIT system is CLOSE TO COLLAPSE.
Due to local government cuts, staff numbers are down and those left cannot process the work in time so new claimants are having to wait THREE MONTHS to receive any money in most cases. This is leading to EVICTIONS of claimants and landlords refusing to take tenants on benefits, including Working Families Tax Credits (WFTC).
As a result, Housing Benefit staff are under INCREASING PRESSURE, missing more deadlines and having to deal with angry service users who are FACING HOMELESSNESS. Many staff are going off sick or just jacking it in. Meanwhile their managers barricade themselves in their back room offices.
Worse is to follow for the staff, as the council now has yet another admin review on the go, having decided that all admin jobs are the same and they can FORCE DOWN rates of pay further. This also means that admin workers from different parts of the council are being forced to work in housing with no experience of housing or benefit claims. This will make the situation worse.
Furthermore, if there are ANY changes in your circumstances, your housing benefit will STOP and have to be reprocessed. For example, if you are working and getting WFTC and your hours increase or decrease, you have to tell the benefit officers who will STOP THE CLAIM altogether, even if the change is only slight.
You will then wait THREE MONTHS – and the backlog is growing – before you get your benefits back. Landlords are evicting claimants during this period and even the council are sending eviction notices for those in local authority housing despite the fact it’s down to their own mismanagement…. idiots!!!
Also of major concern is the AUTOMATION of many services. People threatened with homelessness have to spend long periods on the phone, being passed from one pointless robotic voice recording to another. One elderly lady racked up £8 in telephone bills! Some kind advice workers have advised us that you can apply for an interim payment, but many do not know this, and the fucking robots on the blower won’t tell you!!!
This is affecting THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE across the city. In the meantime the police, who apparently cannot investigate your crimes, are evicting tenants and squatters while thousands of properties are left vacant in the city as rich property speculators wait until the price is right; nice one!!
What is NICK “LORD SNOOTY” HOOPER, head of housing doing about all this then? What is the red trousered fuckpot doing about this? A big FA. Thousands of families could end up homeless in our city and don’t ignore this – because it could soon be you.
This is not the first time .. back in 2002 the Council decided to centralise HB which caused a total collapse of the service .. see the relevant back issue of the Bristolian for all the gory details …
The other reason they’ve run down the dept. is that HB was to be administered by the DWP under the ‘Universal Credit Scheme’ … that is now unlikely to happen this side of a general election ..
And the mayor wants to borrow and spend millions on an arena which doesn’t have enough parking and no infrastructure support….white elephant doesn’t even cover it. Spending a few more millions on parking zones and 20 mph speed limits….while people get evicted. Good on ya George!