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Partnership to highlight impact of welfare reform

A partnership to minimise the impact of welfare reform has been set up by eight housing associations and the five Local Authorities in Gwent.

The Gwent Welfare Reform Partnership (GWRP) aims to highlight the impact of welfare reform in Gwent and influence national, regional and local policies to help tenants deal better with the changes to benefits.

The housing associations included in the partnership are United Welsh, Bron Afon Community Housing Association, Charter Housing, Linc-Cymru, Melin Homes, Monmouthshire Housing Association, Newport City Homes, and Tai Calon.

A Project Manager has been appointed to a post that has been funded by the eight housing associations.

Key goals of the post will include analysing and evaluating the impacts of welfare reform across Gwent, identifying and sharing good practice, and lobbying at national, regional and local level on behalf of the partnership.

Reforms such as the bedroom tax, changes to Council Tax charges and benefit cuts, as well as Universal Credit and the Benefit Cap are affecting tenants’ ability to manage and changing the way housing associations help their tenants. The benefits system now has more sanctions, reclassifications, exclusions and suspensions of payments.

GWRP Project Manager Julie Little said, “The impact of welfare reform on people cannot be underestimated, with tenants facing real hardship juggling payments for rent and meeting other financial commitments. This is why it is really important that we try and gain as much understanding as possible of the consequences of the changes.

“Doing this will enable us to mitigate the effects and target help where it is most needed. It will ensure that we help our tenants to cope with the changes they are facing and know we are offering the right kind of advice with things such as finding work and training and dealing with fuel poverty.”

“This partnership will also give us a good understanding of what is happening across a wide area of Wales and the opportunity to share best practice and good ideas.”

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