Working Families on Housing Benefits Doubles

  • Report analysing the bleak future of the housing market shows 86% increase of working families relying on housing benefits.

    The report from the National Housing Federation, Home Truths 2012, shows the bleak future of England's housing market with millions more families relying on housing benefits to be able to pay their rent.

    According to the report, this is due to years of not enough homes being built, resulting in rising rental and house prices. This means families are struggling to pay for their homes, and leads to an unsustainable housing market.

    There are now 417,830 more working people who receive housing benefits, rising to 903,440 in May 2012 from 485,610 in 2009, and is rising at a rate of 10,000 more working people each month receiving money from the Government so they are able to pay their rent.

    These figures are only likely to continue increase, and as the economy begins to repair itself, there is expected to be a steep rise in the cost of renting.
    The report shows:

    The cost of privately renting a home has risen by 37% in the past five years, and is set to soar a further 35% over the next six years. In five years that means they will be almost a third, 29%, higher than they are now.

    Private rents are likely to be fairly stable through 2013 but could see steep increases from 2015 to 2018 of around 6% a year as interest rates rise and house prices increase.

    NHF has found that 390,000 new families were formed in 2011 but only 111,250 new homes were built, and has called on the government to come up with a sustainable solution to this problem that only looks set to worsen. One in 12 families in England are on the waiting list for social housing.

    David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, says:

    We now have millions of families struggling to keep on top of their rents, priced out of the housing market and nearly 10,000 more working families every month are now reliant on housing benefit to help pay their private rent. These people are the ‘strivers' the Government wants to help, yet their future is looking bleak.

    This cannot continue; we need action now to address the causes of rising housing costs, not just the symptoms.

    The housing market is at the point of no return; with rising house prices, rising rents and millions of families really struggling to afford their home. It's no surprise that one in 12 families in England is on the waiting list for social housing.

    High housing costs put financial pressure on both families and the Government. When people can't afford the homes they need, it stops them from moving for work, it prevents young couples starting families.

    Shelter, Housing and homelessness charity, said the government needed to tackle the problem.
    Shelter chief executive, Campbell Robb, said:

    Every day Shelter speaks to young people and families who are paying the price for a housing crisis that's been left to reach boiling point.

    Their aspirations for a stable and affordable home are being crushed by rising rents that leave them struggling to keep a roof over their head, let alone save for a deposit.

    Many are living with their parents until their mid-thirties and even beyond, when all they want to do is to get on in life.'

    Housing Minister Mark Prisk said:

    With over three million people relying on the private rented sector for their housing needs, we are determined to attract new players to the market and pull out all the stops to get Britain building.

    That's why we're offering £10bn in loan guarantees to provide up to 15,000 new homes for rent, putting £19.5bn public and private funding into an affordable homes programme, and why we've identified enough formerly-used surplus public sector land to sell for 100,000 new homes.

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