Official figures show that the cost of housing benefit to the taxpayer has increase dramatically since the government introduced the bedroom tax. As was predicted by many commentators, the government initiative has done nothing to reduce the welfare bill, and is nothing more than a social engineering exercise.
Steven Preece from the Welfare News Service (original article) reports:
High rental costs in the private housing sector are causing a surge in Housing Benefit costs, figures show.
The private housing sector has seen an unprecedented rise in recent years, whilst the number of social housing homes have continued to suffer since ‘Right To Buy’ legislation was introduced under Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government in 1979.
For the first time since the 1960′s there are now more families living in privately rented properties than social housing provided by local authorities or social housing landlords.
Rental costs in the private sector can be as much as twice those in social housing. On average, those living in privately rented homes pay £169 per week, compared with £79 per week for those renting from a local authority or social housing association/landlord.
Families living in social housing are much more likely to be claiming Housing Benefit, but recent years have seen an increase in the number of private tenants claiming the equivalent Local Housing Allowance (LHA), which replaced Housing Benefit for all new claims for those living in privately rented homes in 2008.
In 2002, 18.7% of Housing Benefit claims were from the private rental sector. Since then the number of people who have needed help to cover the cost of their rent in privately rented homes has risen to 32.8% of the entire Housing Benefit (and LHA) caseload, according to figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
HOUSING BENEFIT OVER TIME
In terms of numbers, there were 708,000 private sector Housing Benefit claims in 2002 which has risen dramatically to 1.6 million in 2012.
Rental costs in the private rental sector have increased by 45% in real-terms between 2000/01 and 2010/11, according to government figures. It is estimated that £2.9 BILLION can be directly attributed to the rise in private housing rental costs in regard to Housing Benefit (LHA) expenditure. In contrast, rents in the social housing sector have risen less quickly: 23% in real-terms over the same period.
Government statistics suggest that Housing Benefit expenditure in the social housing sector is likely to fall in 2014/15 as the private housing sector continues to grow at a pace which shows little sign of slowing.