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Increase housing benefit in line with rents, charities urge government

Two housing charities have called for the government to invest more in housing benefit so it rises in line with private rental growth.

Crisis and The Joseph Rowntree Foundation polled over 4,000 UK adults, 75% of whom agree housing benefit should increase if rents go up.

Meanwhile, 76% of those surveyed said they agree that housing benefit represents a practical way for the government to reduce homelessness.


Housing benefit was introduced in 2011 so that people on low incomes could afford the cheapest 30% of private rental properties in their area.

However, the charities argue that housing benefit rates now fall 'woefully short' of the true cost of renting, which continues to rise in many parts of the country.

They argue that 'years of underinvestment' and a four-year freeze since 2016 have exacerbated the problem while average rents have grown significantly.

They cite research from Crisis, published earlier this year, which shows that housing benefit shortfalls have led to little or no affordable private housing across many areas of the UK.

This is pushing thousands of individuals and families to the brink of homelessness, according to the charities.


"Every day, we hear of people losing their homes as the constant pressure of rising living costs become impossible to bear," says Jon Sparkes, Crisis chief executive.

"The government has committed to reduce homelessness, but without addressing the root causes such as unaffordable rents, homelessness will continue to rise."

He said that despite potentially being the quickest and most effective way to prevent homelessness, housing benefit is 'fundamentally flawed' because of severe under investment.

Darren Baxter, housing policy and partnerships manager at The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, adds: "A home should be an anchor against being swept into poverty but for many families the cost of renting a home is adding an extra strain."

"It does not have to be this way. We can ensure housing costs do not push households into poverty if we invest in building the low cost rented homes and, in the short term, invest in housing benefit so that it reflects the real costs of renting."

Poll: Should the government invest more in housing benefit?


  • jeremy clarke

    All these benefits need to be more strictly policed. Day in day out we see people in our office who have have come to rely on benefits and feel entitled to get them, why? If you are of working age, work! Put something back instead of take take take, now seeing second generation benefit users!

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    I have a friend on benefits who works also (legal amount of time allowed) and can save over £1000 pm something is very wrong with the system, she is doing it all above board. Those that are scamming the system are raking it in

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    Agree too many benefits out there. Keep for disabled and old. Forget those in between they are just lazy layabouts and single mothers. If they say they can't find work insist they join the Forces.


    Who's going to pay their Forces wage? Where is the childcare coming from while they're off serving? Clearly you've thoroughly thought this one through.


    Wow! Way to judge a section of society without a second thought. I know loads of single mothers, most of them work.

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    They've asked over 4000 'adults'? How about asking people who are specifically qualified to give an opinon? Surely there needs to be some sort of consideration of the economic and societal impact before reaching these conclusions based on the general public's 'opinion'?

    • 10 October 2019 14:14 PM

    We LL know that the vast majority of DSS tenants are feckless layabouts.
    The General Public know this as well.
    We need a return to the values of the original Welfare State which certainly DIDN'T encourage fecklessness.
    The pendulum needs to swing back to how it was in the beginning.
    A major change would be you knock out a kid DON'T expect free welfare and a council home.
    Use contraception to avoid getting 'knocked up'!!
    The current welfare state is far too generous and by being so actively encourages fecklessness.
    On principle I refuse to let to the wasters.
    Give me someone striving to work full-time hours and I'd give them a chance.
    Far too many working the system with 16 hours work PW to avoid the OBC etc.
    If single mothers refuse to state who the fathers are NO benefits.
    Most of these fathers will be on the police database as criminality tends to go along with fecklessness.
    DNA tests will root out the 'deadbeat dads'.
    Then we can have the fathers paying for their offspring rather than shagging all and sundry leaving the State the massive bills for the next 18 years to pay for their selfish minutes of pleasure!!

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    Christ,,,we as professional LLs see these benefit seekers every day on their designer mobiles , smoking, 50 inch TV designer prams with their designef kids and dogs. If they got off their rear ends and seriously sought work and used contraceptives that might help and those that are not single mums who cant "find" work join the Forces who will pay them.
    Come on you twits out there who can't see that or are you all Shelter workers.

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    Put housing benefit up and rents go up to match not the other way round!
    They really dont get it.

  • Bryan Shields

    Yet another useless sticking plaster, please build council houses again & rapidly.


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