Welfare reforms pushing poorest families out of the capital
New analysis from the Chartered Institute of Housing reveals that the poorest families are being driven out of the private rented sector in parts of London.
The number of people claiming housing benefits in the private rented sector has fallen by almost a quarter since March 2011 in Kensington and Chelsea and almost a third in Westminster.
Changes to local housing allowances came into force for new claimants in April 2011 and have applied to existing claimants since 2013. The reforms set LHA rates at a lower level with reduced rates for single people aged 25-34 and an imposed maximum cap on LHA rates ranging from £250 for a one-bed home to £400 for a four-bed home per week, reports 24dash.
CIH chief executive Grainia Long said: “The combined impact of high rents and local housing allowance reform means that poorer families are effectively being priced out of the private rented sector in some areas of London. My biggest concern is where they are ending up – social housing is at a premium across the capital. To find a more affordable home people may be forced to move long distances away from where they work – which could make it difficult to hold down their job in the long term – and from their support network of family and friends. It cannot be right that some areas of the capital are becoming the exclusive preserve of the wealthy elite or that people on lower incomes are simply unable to afford to live in the places where they work. Increasing the number of new homes we build is vital if we are to have any hope of sustaining mixed communities.”
The latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that the number of people claiming housing benefit in the PRS has dropped by 31.3% in Westminster, from 8,580 in March 2011 to 5,893 last November In Kensington and Chelsea, the number has dropped by 27.6%, from 4,180 to 3,027.
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