The housing assistance system does not reflect the reality of the level of rents

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Official data shows that in Yorkshire and the Humber, 64% of tenants who receive housing benefit have a gap.

Government figures show that across the region the average shortfall between the support these tenants receive and the rent they pay is nearly £87 a month.

Locally this ranges from £70 in North East Lincolnshire to £125 in Craven and York. The proportion of tenants affected ranges from nearly 82% in Craven to around 36% in Selby.

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Local Housing Benefit is used to calculate the amount tenants can receive to cover housing costs as part of a Universal Credit payment. In response to the pandemic, the government increased the allowance in April 2020 to cover the bottom 30% of private rents in a given area. In April last year, the rate was frozen in cash terms and remains frozen in 2022/23.

As a result of the freeze, the link between the level of local rents and the amount of housing assistance received has been broken. This means that the number of properties that private tenants on Universal Credit can afford is likely to steadily decline.

This despite the fact that rents in Yorkshire and the Humber have risen less than inflation.

By highlighting these figures, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) calls on the government to release the Local Housing Allowance and thus re-establish the link between the allowance and the cost of local rents.

Ruth Millington, Yorkshire and the Humber spokesperson for the NRLA, said: “The benefit system is failing to provide tenants and homeowners in Yorkshire and the Humber with the security they need.

“It is unacceptable that housing assistance does not reflect the reality of current rent levels.

“The freeze only exacerbates the already severe cost of living crisis for renters in the area.

“The Chancellor must listen and address the concerns of tenants and landlords by urgently releasing housing benefit.”

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