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Written by rosalind renshaw

The number of working households in London claiming Local Housing Allowance to help pay their private rent could soon outnumber households where no one works.

A new report published by London Councils, ‘Tracking Welfare Reform in London’,  reveals that just under 50% of households receiving LHA in the capital have at least one person in work.

If the number rises as expected, London will be the only part of Britain where working households claiming benefits for private rented housing eclipse those where no one is working.

The report also found that the number of people receiving LHA has fallen in inner London since May 2011, while in outer boroughs the number has increased.

The chair of London Councils, Mayor Jules Pipe, said: “Last year, private sector rents in inner London rose by 14%, so it’s not surprising that more and more working families are turning to housing benefit to help them survive.”

London Councils, which represents the capital’s 32 boroughs and the City of London, is calling for London to be exempt from the below-inflation rise in LHA. It is concerned that the move, which will see LHA rates limited to one per cent growth for the next two years, could increase homelessness.

According to researchers, proportions of employed households receiving LHA in the UK are: 37% in South-West, 40% in South-East, 47% in London, 37% in East of England, 31% in West Midlands, 32% in East Midlands, 26% in Yorkshire and the Humber, 27% in North-West, 23% in North-East, 25% in Wales and 26% in Scotland.

The report also found:

    •    a 17% rise in people claiming LHA since April 2011, with working households accounting for 96% of that growth

    •    the number of working households claiming LHA has doubled over four years, while the number of non-working households claiming LHA has increased by 10% over the same period


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