Grenfell Tower survivors first in line for discretionary housing payments

Posted On: 
24th June 2017

Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire will be given priority for discretionary housing payments, the Government has said.

Grenfell Towere went up in flames last week
PA Images

Councils should make the payments, designed to protect against housing benefit shortfalls and help social tenants with their rent, to the survivors that are rehoused in larger properties, guidance from the Department for Work and Pensions said yesterday.

There is usually no obligation on councils to make the payments. However, they are sometimes paid to tenants that are affected by the benefit cap, which limits the total amount of benefits paid to out-of-work households to £442 a week in London.

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They are also made to tenants that are subject to the so-called “bedroom tax”, which docks the benefits of those in permanent social housing with more bedrooms than they require.

The Government confirmed that former residents of Grenfell Tower will not be exempt from the benefit cap or the bedroom tax, but the guidance suggests that any affected will be in line for discretionary payments.

The Government has already softened benefit rules survivors of the tragedy. Jobless tenants will not be sanctioned for failing to look for a job, and the planned roll-out of universal credit in North Kensington for next month will be put on hold.

The news comes as residents of five tower blocks in Camden, north London, were evacuated because it failed a fire safety inspection. Over 800 flats have been emptied, with residents housed in nearby temporary accommodation, including hotels. 

Scotland Yard revealed yesterday that there was a possibility manslaughter charges may be brought following the fire at Grenfell Tower after both the insulation and cladding on the block failed fire safety tests.