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Government ‘working on’ exempting women’s refuges from housing cap

Domestic violence campaigners have welcomed indications from the prime minister that women’s refuges could be exempt from a housing benefits cap which would force many to shut.

Earlier this week, charity Women’s Aid published an analysis showing that the cap could force 67% of refuges in England and 69% of refuges in Wales to close.

The government has suspended imposing the cap for supported accommodation – which houses the most vulnerable, including abuse victims, the elderly and the homeless – for a year, but has refused to say whether the sector will be permanently exempt.

When opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn raised the question of women’s refuges in Wednesday’s prime minister’s questions, Theresa May said that domestic violence was a “very important issue” and the government was “working on exempting refuges from the cap”.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said: “We welcome the prime minister’s commitment to exempting refuges from changes to the housing benefit cap. It is great news, and we do not doubt her commitment to tackling domestic abuse.”

She added that in the future, the government should “find a long-term sustainable funding solution for refuges” to save them from “lurching from crisis to crisis”.

(Image c. Dominic Lipinski from PA Wire)

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