Housing allowance freeze to end

Around 900,000 people could receive more housing benefit from April after the Government confirmed it will be lifting the four-year freeze on local housing allowance – a means-tested support for private tenants.

Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the LGA’s Resources Board, said the announcement was a step in the right direction, but that more should be done to help meet the challenges renters and councils face.

“Since local housing allowance (LHA) rates were frozen in 2016, they have fallen, on average, to just the 13th percentile of market rents. This means that in many parts of the country there are no properties available to those entitled to full support with their housing costs,” he said.

“Without investing in LHA rates to cover the true costs of renting, the gap many people face between their incomes and the cost of rent risks continuing to push many into financial hardship, in-work poverty and homelessness, and further stretches councils’ housing, homelessness and local welfare services.

“Councils want to work with the Government to deliver the security that tenants need and support households who need help to meet their housing costs. As part of its forthcoming Budget, the Government should restore the LHA rate to at least the 30th percentile of market rents, something the LGA has long called for.”

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