"Most vulnerable hit by welfare changes" - Liverpool City Council says

Credit: ITV Granada

A unique analysis of the Government's welfare reforms shows the most vulnerable in Liverpool have been hit by multiple changes and it is costing millions of pounds in crisis payments and support.

Credit: ITV Granada

Liverpool has become the first local authority in the country to carry out a Cumulative Impact Assessment to examine the impact of more than 20 changes on its own residents.

It's claimed the aim of the assessment is to help Liverpool City Council identify those most affected and ensure the city and its partners are providing high quality benefits, debt and budgeting advice and support.

It builds on Sheffield Hallam University research1 published in March 2016 which suggested that welfare reforms have cost the city's economy the equivalent of £157 million per year, set to rise to £292 million per year by 2020/21.

The city council - which has had a 58 percent cut in central Government funding since 2010 and has to find another £90 million of savings by 2020 - is having to use around £7 million a year of its own reduced funds to help with rent top ups and crisis payments.

Credit: ITV Granada

The headlines include:

· 3,400 households with long term sick and disabled residents have been affected by the Under Occupation Penalty (Bedroom Tax)

· Families with children have been hit by a freeze in child benefit, reductions in Housing Benefit rates in the private sector, the Under Occupation Penalty and the Benefit Cap

· Younger people aged 16-29 accounting for almost 35 percent of applications for the Liverpool Citizens Support Scheme, which makes emergency payments for people in crisis

· Single private tenants aged 25-35 have seen a cut of around £34 per week in their Housing Benefit

· Women account for 60 percent of those affected by a cut in Council Tax Support and 65 percent of those hit by the Under Occupation Penalty

This is the first time ever that a complete picture has been pulled together of the impact of the welfare reforms that the Government has implemented since 2010.

– Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson

A measure of a true and just society is our attitude to the poorest and the most vulnerable in our society.

This report provides a statistical analysis of that measure and it makes hard reading.

– The Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend Paul Bayes

“The best way to support people is to help them into work, and in Liverpool unemployment is at its lowest level since 2005.

“Our welfare reforms are restoring fairness to the system but we are committed to ensuring that there is a strong safety net for those that need it the most.

"Under Universal Credit people move into work faster and by increasing the National Living Wage and taking millions of people out of paying any income tax we are ensuring people see more of their earnings.”

– DWP Spokesman

*WATCH: the third of our correspondent Andy Bonner's special reports on homelessness in Liverpool: