A report by Citizens Advice has found that the number of social housing rent arrears cases had increased by 13% since the same time last year.
The charity is warning that the dramatic rise in rent arrears and threatened homelessness demonstrates that household are not reaping any benefit from the improved economic outlook.
The report shows that the Citizens Advice gave advice on 22,412 issues about social housing rent arrears, 2,840 issues about possession claims due to rent arrears, 2,376 issues about threatened homelessness and 3,307 issues about DHP. All of these are large increase on the same period last year, reports 24dash.
The charity believes that this is due to the under-occupancy penalty alongside changes to council tax support.
Citizens Advice chief executive, Gillian Guy, said: “We are on the edge of a serious housing crisis. There are simply not enough homes to meet need and the result is yet more pressure on household budgets. Despite the good news, the economic warning lights are still flashing. The emerging trend of increasing social housing arrears is extremely worrying. Cases of arrears are up across every region of England, with the Midlands and parts of the North showing the starkest deterioration. Prices which far outstrip incomes and the damaging impact of high food and energy bills make paying rent simply impossible for many people. The impact of welfare reform is crucial. Done right, reforms such as universal credit could simplify support and incentivise work. However what we’ve seen in recent months is what can happen if reforms are rushed in without proper safety net in place. The debate over our state safety net must move away from the idea that it is entirely about money. Direct financial support is essential in helping people meet day-to-day costs, but the long-term importance of getting infrastructure right, particularly housing, cannot be ignored.”
The report shows that the North East and West Midlands are the worst hit English regions per head of population and the steepest rise was found in the East Midlands and Yorkshire.
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