Monday, 9 June 2014

Who benefits?

Research by the House of Commons Library has revealed that the cost of living crisis has led to a 60% increase in the number of working people needing to claim housing benefit to pay their rent since 2010. 

400,000 more working people are now claiming housing benefit costing the taxpayer an estimated extra £4.8bn in housing benefit over the course of this Parliament.

Every single local authority in the UK has seen an increase in the number of people in work claiming housing benefit. The biggest increase in the country was in Croydon which has seen an astonishing 1100 per cent rise since 2010. 

More locally, Sheffield has seen a 93% increase, Rotherham 92%, NE Derbyshire 62%, Doncaster and Bolsover 54%, with Chesterfield and Barnsley at 42%.

So, we now have the situation that thousands of hard-working local households are reliant on housing benefit just to pay the bills and to keep a roof over their heads. Working people are now on average £1600 a year worse off than in 2010 as wages have fallen while prices have soared. Many people in work can’t get the hours they need while low-paid and insecure work is forcing more people to rely on housing benefit. 

We also face a massive housing shortage in this country, as this government has presided over the lowest level of home building since the 1920s. Cameron and Clegg’s failure to tackle this shortage means the cost of housing is rising beyond the reach of ordinary working people.

Up and down the country, we see prospective house purchasers at the lower ends of the market being out-bid by buy-to-let landlords, where rents have continued to rise and, in consequence, forced increased expenditure on housing benefit.

It can’t be right that ordinary people who do the right thing and go to work have to rely on housing benefit. This government appears either unwilling or unable to do anything about this and seem content to let the British taxpayer pick up the bill.