Update

Service Charges under Universal Credit
With the introduction of Universal Credit later this year, the Department for Work and Pensions has published draft guidance about which service charges will be eligible under the new scheme. A final version will be published later this year.  Full guidance is available here: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/local-authority-staff/universal-credit-information/#lu

Government delays roll out of benefits cap
The Department for Work and Pensions have announced that they will delay the national roll out of the benefit cap.  The cap, which will limit the amount a house hold can receive in benefits each week to £500 for families and £350 for single people, was due to be introduced nationally in April 2013.  It will now initially only be introduced in four London boroughs: Bromley, Croydon, Enfield and Haringey.  The Department plans to roll out the cap nationally over the summer.

 Local Housing Allowance rates for 2013 – 2014 published
The new Local Housing Allowance rates, which will be effective from April 2013, have been published by the Valuation Office Agency. The new rates have been increased in line with inflation but from next April will only be increased by 1%. This is worrying given that average rents across the country have increased by 3.2% over the past year (and 6.3% in London).
New rates are available here:  http://www.voa.gov.uk/corporate/RentOfficers/lharates/april2013lha.html?dm_i=QTC,1961E,5JXOP0,492TY,1

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