94-99% of rented accommodation too expensive for those on benefits

And remember this includes working people whose wages are so low they are entitled to benefits (effectivelya subsidy to employers).

“The government must increase the levels of housing benefit given to people in the private rented sector as families are being priced out of homes, according to a trade association.

The National Housing Federation analysis has found that 94% of homes for private rent – and up to 99% in some areas – are too expensive for those on housing benefit.

The Local Housing Allowance – used to calculate how much benefit households in the private rented sector will receive – when introduced in 2008 was worked out from the bottom 50% of market rents and later reduced to 30% under the coalition government.

In 2013, rates of LHA were separated from market values and eventually frozen in 2016 leaving working families unable to afford a place to live, the federation said.

NHF said the benefit – for which there are 1.3 million claimants – is inadequate and is leading to increasing levels of poverty and debt.

Kate Henderson, chief executive of the NHF, said: “Low income families are being punished two-fold, no longer able to access social housing because of the dire shortage of it, they now can’t access enough housing benefit to rent privately either.

“The crippling effects of the housing crisis and significant cuts to benefits have forced thousands of parents into impossible situation in order to keep a roof over their children’s heads, many having to choose between crippling debt, overcrowding or homelessness.”

The number of homeless children in temporary accommodation has increased by 83% since 2011 to 126,020, the report added.

The federation has urged the government to end the freeze on LHA and increase it so that it covers 30% of private rent homes in any local area. It also repeated its recommendation to spend £12.8bn each year on new social housing.

The NHF analysed 75,000 rental homes advertised on Zoopla in July 2019 and compared the cost of rent for each property with the rate of LHA that a family requiring that sized property would be entitled to.

A government spokesperson said: “Providing quality and fair social housing is an absolute priority. The government increased more than 360 Local Housing Allowance rates this year, by targeting extra funding at low-income households.

“We’ve helped councils and housing associations to speed up the delivery of more homes, including social housing, through our £9bn Affordable Homes Programme – delivering over 430,000 affordable new homes since 2010.”

Housing minister Esther McVey told the Conservative Conference last week that the government would prioritise brownfield land for new builds.”

https://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2019/10/nine-out-10-families-priced-out-private-rented-sector