Private Landlords Double Housing Benefit Haul To £9 .3bn
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Sun Aug 21 10:00:54 BST 2016
Private Landlords Double Housing Benefit Haul To £9.3bn
By Hannah Richardson BBC News social affairs reporter
* 20 August 2016
Nearly half of all housing benefit claimants are now in work
Private landlords in the UK received twice as
much in housing benefit last year £9.3bn as
they did a decade ago, a report says.
The National Housing Federation (NHF) study said
the increase was due to a big rise in the number
of private tenants claiming housing benefit.
The NHF said this particular group of people had grown by 42% since 2008.
In 2006, some £4.6bn in housing benefit was paid
to private landlords, a figure which had more than doubled by 2015.
NHF chief executive David Orr said: It is
madness to spend £9bn of taxpayers money lining
the pockets of private landlords rather than investing in affordable homes.
The lack of affordable housing available means
that a wider group of people need housing benefit, he added.
Had these housing benefit claimants been living
in social housing instead of renting from private
landlords, taxpayers would have saved huge sums
of money over seven years, the NHF report estimated.
It said that taxpayers paid £1,000 more per year,
per family renting in the private rented sector,
than they did for those in social housing.
This amounted to an average of £2.2bn a year
extra being handed over to private landlords, at
a cumulative additional cost of £15.6bn over the
past seven years, the NHF analysis says.
If this extra housing benefit bill for just one
year had been spent on creating new affordable
housing, the NHF added, then nearly 50,000 new homes could have been built.
The report also points out that a larger
proportion of families claiming housing benefit
in the private rented sector are now in work.
Today, nearly half (47%) of all families
claiming housing benefit in the private rented
sector are in work this is nearly double the
proportion it was six years ago (26%), the NHF said.
A government spokesman said it had been taking
action to bring the housing benefit bill under control.
He said: Since 2012 the amount going to private
sector landlords has actually been falling
something which the National Housing Federation fails to recognise.
We are also committed to building the homes this
country needs and investing £8bn to build 400,000 more affordable homes.
Chris Norris, head of policy at the National
Landlords Association, said the private rented
sector was responding to the increasing demand
for homes from a growing proportion of tenants
who are being failed by the social housing sector and housing associations.
The NHF is clearly still reeling from the news
that its members have been ordered by government
to reduce spending over the next four years, so
it comes as no surprise that they are looking to
shift the emphasis and point the finger elsewhere, he said.
However, the private rented sector plays a
pivotal role in providing much-needed homes for
tenants so there seems no real purpose in the NHF
taking a cheap shot at landlords for what is a
failure on behalf of successive governments to
adequately allocate its housing budget and to
incentivise the building of new homes.
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