Shelter responds to the government's Autumn Statement

Posted 22 Nov 2023

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter, said: “Today’s Autumn Statement will provide a huge sigh of relief for the 1.7 million private renters in England relying on housing benefit to help pay their rent.

“Homelessness is at a record high and unfreezing housing benefit to cover the bottom third of local rents is an essential lifeline to keep people in their homes. However, pushing this to April 2024 will leave many families facing an uncertain winter with the threat of homelessness and spending their Christmas in grotty one-room temporary accommodation looming large.

“We are pleased that the Chancellor has listened and taken a crucial step to stop rising homelessness, but we urge the government to bring this decision forward and unfreeze housing benefit immediately.”

Supporting research from Shelter:

  • One in three (1.7 million) private renting households in England rely on housing benefit to help pay their rent.

  • More than half (900,000) of private renters in receipt of housing benefit in England have a shortfall between their rent and housing benefit.

  • Almost half (48%) of private renters in England have no savings.

  • Half of working private renters - 3.2 million adults, are only one pay cheque away from losing their home.

  • The number of households in TA in England is at the highest ever level - 104,000 households. This is almost twice as many as just ten years ago.

  • There are over 131,000 homeless children living in temporary accommodation in England.

Anyone who is facing homelessness can get free and expert advice from Shelter by visiting www.shelter.org.uk/get_help.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • 1.7 million private renting households receive LHA through housing benefit (355,699) or the housing element of Universal Credit (1,359,601) in England. This is from DWP Statxplore and is as at August 2023. This is equivalent to 35% of all private renting households. The proportion of private renting households in receipt of housing benefits is calculated by comparing this DWP data with household population estimates derived from the English Housing Survey, and by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

  • Data provided via a Freedom of Information (FOI) request made by Shelter showed 934,477 households in receipt of LHA in England had a shortfall between their housing benefit, or housing element of Universal Credit and their rent, as at February 2023.

  • 48% of private renters in England have no savings. This data is from the English Housing Survey (2021-2022), Annex Table 2.16.

  • The number of private renters who could be one paycheque away from losing their home is from a YouGov survey for Shelter, funded by its charity partner Nationwide, of 2,003 private renting adults (18+) in England, including 1,498 of whom are in work. 51% of working private renters say that they wouldn’t have enough in savings to pay their rent for more than a month if they lost their job. The survey was conducted online between 8th – 30th June 2023, and the results were weighted to be representative of private renters. Population calculations have been done by Shelter using English Housing Survey data.

  • 131,370 children lived in temporary accommodation in England at the end of March 2023. This is available at Statutory Homelessness Live Tables, Number of households by type of temporary accommodation provided, Table TA1.

  • 104,510 households were in temporary accommodation in England at the end of March 2023. This is available at Statutory Homelessness Live Tables, Number of households by type of temporary accommodation provided, Table TA1.