Half a million more Brits claiming housing benefits

‘Half a million more Brits claiming housing benefits’

HomeUKInterviews Sun Mar 15, 2015 5:53PM

A report says half a million more Britons are claiming housing benefits under the coalition government.

The UK’s failure to build affordable homes has led to a soaring housing-benefit bill, with half a million more people now relying on state handouts to pay their rent than when the coalition came to power.

The British government crackdown on welfare has failed to prevent an explosion in the number of people relying on state help in recent years, with a total of five million people now claiming housing benefits. And with 1.8 million on waiting lists for social housing, hundreds of thousands more have, instead of escaping welfare dependency, fallen into the hands of private landlords charging increasingly exorbitant rents, the Guardian reported.

Spending on housing benefit has risen by £650m a year on average since 2009-10, and at a faster rate than during Labour’s 13 years in power, a new analysis of official Department for Work and Pensions figures finds. The annual housing benefit bill is expected to hit £25bn by 2017.

A major cause of the ballooning bill, according to experts, is the dearth of affordable housing. The number of affordable homes built in 2013-14 was the lowest in a decade – despite the UK’s population rising by five million over the past 12 years, a rate of growth unequalled anywhere in Europe.

Now economic commentator Shabbir Razvi in London says, “This is a fundamental problem that is occurring in the UK, whereby even working who have a job and so on, do not have sufficient income to pay for the accommodation. Hence, you see an increase in people in the UK claiming housing benefit.”
Shabbir told Press TV’s UK Desk on Sunday that “the problem is that we are building too few houses in the UK. So, there is a huge demand, with the supply side of the housing is not increasing as much as it can.”

The huge increase in housing-benefit claimants has been despite the new coalition government’s announcement of a war on the “out of control” benefit budget in 2010. Proposals included the benefit cap, introduced in April 2011 for new claimants, which saw the maximum amount a claimant could receive limited to £500 a week for families with children and £350 for individuals.

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