MORE than 500 York residents are set to lose in excess of £1,000 in housing benefit and council tax benefit each year because of Government policy changes, a report by the local authority claims.

Officers have calculated that a total of just over 6,000 benefit recipients in the City of York Council area will be out of pocket following a raft of cuts, aimed at saving £2 billion nationally.

They believe 129 residents will be more than £1,500 worse off, another 408 will lose more than £1,000, and a further 628 will be between £500 and £999 worse off per year.

An additional 1,422 people will be between £200 and £499 out of pocket, and 2,863 will be £100 to £200 worse off annually.

A council spokesman said a series of measures had been introduced by the Government to reduce the cost of housing benefit and council tax benefit, with some residents affected by more than one change. These moves included the following:

• Single private tenants under the age of 35 can now only claim housing benefit up to the Local Housing Allowance rate for a shared room, rather than the more generous one-bedroom flat rate. Ninety-four people will lose more than £1,500 per year through this change. Previously, people aged under 25 could only receive the shared room rate.

• Deductions in housing benefit and council tax benefit to take account of a non-dependent living in the home – for example adult sons or daughters – are being increased above the rate of inflation. Sixty-seven people will lose between £500 and £999 per year through this change.

• The maximum amount of housing benefit payable for different sizes of private accommodation is being re-calculated to reduce the amount paid out. The analysis shows that 22 people will lose more than £1,500 through this change, and another 163 will lose between £1,000 and £1,499 per year.

• Council tax benefit will be reduced for some people under pensionable age from April 2013. There are potentially 1,358 people who could lose between £200 and £499 per year.

Council leader James Alexander said many people were unaware of the devastating effect of the changes, which would price York people out of their own city.

“York needs to be seen as a special case when it comes to these changes, as we have a housing market more like the South East of England than most of Yorkshire,” he said. “York has one of the highest average rent levels across the whole of the Midlands and the North.”