Bridget fighting for Sunderland in the HOC2Bridget fighting for SunderlandLocal MP, Bridget Phillipson turned up the pressure on the Coalition over its £1.8 billion cuts to Housing Benefit, during a debate in the House of Commons.

Bridget, spoke of the effects the Coalition’s cuts to Housing Benefit could have on ‘low-income, hard-working families, pensioners, carers, and people with disabilities’ in Sunderland.

Bridget also dispelled the myth propagated during the run up to the debate that Housing Benefit is used for people to live in mansions.

Bridget pointed out that in fact, ‘the average Housing Benefit award to private sector tenants in Sunderland is just £93 per week, and for social tenants it is even less: £69 per week.’

In addition, Bridget highlighted how the cuts to Housing benefit could hit women fleeing domestic violence. Specifically, Bridget said:

‘Before I was elected, I managed a refuge for women and children fleeing domestic violence, and the city council supported these homeless families and got them rehoused, often in the private sector. The women would often pay a small top-up to their housing benefit, often to be near supportive family who could help with child care so that they could undertake training or return to the workplace. Such women will be doubly hit, and at the point when they are trying to get their lives back on track.’

Bridget then warned that the Coalition’s actions such as cutting benefits, jobs and regional development agencies such as One North East, could make the situation worse.

Commenting after the debate, Bridget said: ‘It was an extremely important debate. The Coalition are pushing cuts through with no regard for the consequences.

‘As far as Cameron and Clegg are concerned, the pensioner, the carer and the low-income hardworking families this cut would hit the hardest are little more than statistics.’

Bridget’s full speech can be read here.

The Sunderland Echo has also covered the LibCon cuts to housing benefit. The full article can be read here.

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