Decision details

Committee Referral - Under-Occupation Scrutiny Review

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: For Determination

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes


The Cabinet considered the referral of the Under-Occupation Scrutiny Review, from the Economy and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting of 22 April 2013.  The report contained eighteen recommendations, separated in terms of their implications for tenants; social housing providers; the private housing sector; the Council and its services; and other partner organisations and their clients.


Councillor G Davies thanked the Economy and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee for its thought provoking piece of work.  He informed that those affected by the obnoxious tax had suffered anxiety.  This was the biggest change to welfare since its inception. Only 48% of those who should pay the under-occupation tax were actually paying it and he considered that this ill thought through policy should be dropped.


Councillor Phil Davies thanked Councillor Mark Johnston and other Members of the Economy and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee for their excellent work and suggestions for improvement.  He asked that Officers provide a detailed report on how the Council could implement the action plan.  Councillor Phil Davies informed that the Council had allocated resources within its budget to enhance advice services.


Councillor Phil Davies also raised concerns that the benefit reforms on under occupation was leading to an increase in homelessness.  Family break ups, poverty and deprivation could lead to a number of Housing Associations going bankrupt because rent could not be collected.  There was a shortage of alternative accommodation and this would mean more people would be forced into the private rental sector and household bills would increase as a consequence.


Councillor Phil Davies paid tribute to the lobbying of the Government to rethink this legislation, carried out by various groups and proposed that the Cabinet add its comments.


Councillor George Davies made reference to the 280 void properties in St Helens which meant that the authority did not have the properties to do what the Government wanted it to do.




That the Final Report of the Scrutiny Review ‘The Implications of Benefit Reforms on Under Occupation’ be sent to all Wirral MPs.

Publication date: 01/07/2013

Date of decision: 13/06/2013

Decided at meeting: 13/06/2013 - Cabinet

Effective from: 09/07/2013

Accompanying Documents: