The research body analysed figures produced by the Department of Work and Pensions and found that:
- the number of Housing Benefit claimants reached a new high of 4.95 million in December 2011
- in-work households accounted for almost all (93 per cent) of the increase in the number of claimants during 2010 and 2011
- in December 2011 almost one in four households who rented their accommodation and were in employment received Housing Benefit
It points out that the Coalition Government will not achieve its intended savings on Housing Benefit expenditure whilst in-work claimants remain at this level. As for the human cost, it concludes:
“The growth of in-work claimants represents households who are in employment but cannot afford to pay their housing costs. The rapid increase in the number of households in this position highlights the vulnerability of their financial situation. If rental accommodation is no longer affordable for many low-income working households it would have serious implications for households, for housing policy and for the wider economy.”However, a spokesperson for the DWP told 24dash.com:
“BSHF findings are based on wrong assumptions. The fact is that DWP forecast assumptions do include the recent growth in in-work claimants and they have been agreed with the independent Office for Budget Responsibility as well as a range of stakeholders.
“The reality is that Universal Credit will continue to provide a housing safety net, as well helping people into work and those in work to increase their hours by ensuring they keep more of each extra pound they earn and allowing greater access to childcare for 80,000 households.”