Section: Welfare Benefits

Housing Allowance rise will make only a few homes more affordable

Posted 24.01.20
Bureau of Investigative Journalism: Further reading

A planned rise in housing benefit rates will make only a fraction more homes affordable, according to new research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Earlier this month the government announced that the Local Housing Allowance, which was frozen in 2016, will be increased in April in line with inflation to "support the most vulnerable in society" (see the article below).

However, when the Bureau applied the new rate to a list of more than 62,000 two-bed rental adverts across Great Britain collected last September, the rise made barely any difference - with just 900 more properties affordable under the increased rate compared with the current one.

Overall, only 7% of the properties advertised in September would have been affordable had the proposed rate applied then, up from 5.6%.

In the majority of the country the increased rates would make little to no difference in the number of affordable properties.

Local Housing Allowance was originally meant to ensure that the bottom 30% of the market was available to those on benefits. However, rates were frozen in 2016 to save about £1.3 billion in cash terms in 2016-17, while private rents continued to rise.

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Around 900,000 people across the UK could see their Housing Benefit payments rise from April

Posted 14.01.20
GOV.UK: Further reading

The freeze on Local Housing Allowance rates that has been in place since 2016 has been lifted by the Minister for Welfare Delivery, meaning that rates will rise by inflation from April.

There are around 1.4 million people in the private rental sector receiving Local Housing Allowance, and this change will provide an average of around £10 extra a month to affected households in the private rented sector.

This announcement follows a commitment to end the benefit freeze made in November, which means other benefits will also rise by inflation.

Millions of people on Universal Credit, as well as those on the old benefits system, will also see their payments rise by inflation.

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Reporting on January 2020

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