The current Housing Benefit system is broken. Spending has skyrocketed in recent years, yet Housing Benefit is no longer fulfilling its original purpose: to help those on low incomes cover the cost of rent.
Since 2011, Goverment has introduced a series of reforms that has seen Housing Benefit fall behind the actual cost of renting. Research has shown that low-income households are having to make “impossible choices” as a result, choosing between keeping up with the rent or paying for food and bills. These short-termist reforms may also have shifted, rather than reduced, expenditure as spending on helping people at crisis point has risen in recent years.
With spending increasing but support dwindling, the Government needs to change the way it supports low-income renters. This paper explains why the Housing Benefit bill has ballooned. It examines how recent reforms have impacted individual households and local authorities, and calls for government to reject short-termism and transform the way it spends money on housing.
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