Monday 10 January 2011
Thousands of workers in Scotland too low paid to afford rent
Thousands of workers in Scotland are being forced onto housing
benefit by a toxic cocktail of low pay and high rents, warns
UNISON, the UK’s largest union today (10 January). On average
22% of those claiming housing benefit are in work, rising to
more than 32.6% in East Lothian.
The union is warning that the benefits bill is likely to soar
as more people in the region lose their jobs because of Government
cuts. UNISON is calling for fair pay - fair rents, to switch
the burden away from taxpayers and onto employers and landlords.
The union urging the Government to take urgent action and start
building much needed affordable homes.
Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, the UK’s largest
union, said: “The Tories like to paint a picture of work-shy
scroungers, living it up in massive mansions at the taxpayers’
expense, when the reality is very different. Their own statistics
show that thousands of workers in Scotland are so low paid,
they are forced onto housing benefit to keep a roof over their
heads. These families will be amongst those hardest hit by the
government’s changes to housing benefit.
“It is time to shift the onus onto bosses and make it clear
that they cannot get away with paying poverty wages by expecting
taxpayers to pick up the benefits bill. And the Government cannot
turn their backs on the housing crisis that is sweeping through
the country. Families are crying out for decent accommodation
and instead of targeting housing benefits, the Government should
be tackling the underlying problem by building affordable homes.
This would stimulate the local economy, keep people in work
and stop landlords from over-charging because of shortages in
the rental market.
“Without urgent action the situation is set to get worse. When
you add in those losing their jobs over the coming months because
of Government cuts, the problem is set to add a huge burden
on the taxpayer that workers can ill afford.”