Benefit losses revealed

8 November 2010

Almost a third of councils outside of London will have households losing £50 a month or more following cuts to housing benefit, Shelter revealed today.

Our analysis shows the widespread impact of the cuts across the country, affecting nearly 780,000 people outside of London renting privately who get local housing allowance (LHA).

Of 283 English local authorities outside of the capital, 81 (29%) will see two bedroom households in their area lose an average of £50 or more, while 156 (55%) will see households losing an average of over £30 a month when the rate at which LHA is paid is cut from October next year.

Join Shelter’s campaign to stop the cuts – email your MP

The impact will be felt in every region across the country. See our map showing the average monthly losses for households in Britain.

The findings come ahead of a parliamentary debate this Tuesday 9 November about the changes to housing benefit, with legislation to enact the first stages of the cuts expected later this month.

Shelter's chief executive Campbell Robb said: ‘The focus of debate so far has been the cap to housing benefit and the impact on London, but this analysis shows that these cuts will affect hundreds of thousands of people across the country.

‘Many are those already on low incomes such as pensioners, disabled people, carers and people in low paid jobs who will really struggle to find the extra money they will need to keep a roof over their head.

‘For a pensioner surviving on £98 a week, or those on the minimum wage of £218 a week, these losses represent a significant proportion of their income.’

Shelter is warning that the cuts could change the face of cities and rural areas alike, as those claiming LHA are pushed into concentrations of poverty and deprivation in areas with the cheapest housing.

Mr Robb continued: ‘Not only are these changes a huge threat to England’s mixed and diverse communities, but they may ultimately act as a disincentive to work if the minority of unemployed claimants are unable to live in areas with job opportunities, while the 300,000 claimants who are in work have to move away from their jobs.’

What can you do?

Join Shelter’s campaign to stop the cuts – email your MP