PRIVATE RENTED HOUSING MAY NOT BE AFFORDABLE TO MANY REFUGEES
- 14 Sep
Councils are worried a reduction on the cap in benefits to £23,000 a year in London and £20,000 outside could mean private rented housing "would not be affordable to many refugees", according to a National Audit Office (NAO) report
The report which is looking at the progress of the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme, the UK government's flagship effort to take in 20,000 Syrian refugees, showed the following:
- Local authorities told the programme that one of the greatest barriers to their participation is their capacity to secure enough suitable and affordable accommodation
- Local authorities are concerned that the cap on housing benefit could mean that privately rented accommodation would not be affordable to many refugees, especially in London and the South East
- The programme needs 655 houses or flats and around 4,930 during its lifetime based on the average family size resettled till date
According to the NAO:
- It is not easy for councils to form partnerships with the private rental sector in order to obtain housing
- Only 11% of councils so far rehoused in London and the South East
- If every Syrian refugee claimed housing benefit, this would equate to less than 0.2% of the 4.7m adults who claim it
- Government departments have not estimated the cost of providing support to Syrian refugees
- There is also insufficient funding allocated for the programme which does not cover the refugees' full cost for a year
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