Join me and oppose plans

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I WAS pleased to read about the success of Smart Move, which encourages tenants to move to smaller properties (Mar 21). This is precisely the sort of initiative that should be encouraged, but which is now threatened.

The government is introducing changes to housing benefit rules.

Where any tenant of working age has to claim housing benefit they won’t get enough benefit to cover all the rent if they are under-occupying a property.

Consider a couple in their 50s who’ve lived in a three-bed home for 25 years, kept the garden well and been good neighbours and whose children have moved on.

From now, if they lose their jobs or experience a significant cut in income meaning they are entitled to housing benefit, they will only get enough to cover the rent of a smaller property such as a one-bed flat.

Even worse, housing minister Andrew Stunell says that, where tenants move homes, they may be only given a fixed-term tenancy, meaning they could be evicted by the end of that period.

So good long-standing tenants may be financially forced to move and then be given no security at all.

I hope everyone committed to building strong, safe, stable local communities, will join me in opposing these plans.

Clive Betts, MP