The headlines say one thing – but what are the facts?
There have been plenty of stories in the news that might give the impression that many housing benefit claimants are receiving thousands of pounds a week and living in mansions in central London. We take a look at some of the statistics behind the headlines.
People are getting thousands of pounds a week in housing benefit
Even before changes to the housing benefit system were introduced in April 2011, the average housing benefit award for private rented accommodation was £110.21 per week and 48% of people claiming already had a shortfall between their benefit and rent – the average shortfall before the changes was £23 per week.
People claiming housing benefit should just get a job
Many housing benefit claims are paid to working households, particularly in the private rented sector where wages increasingly don’t cover the rent and 93% of new claims for housing benefit since the election have been from employed people. In Hackney, the council’s own research has found that many people affected by housing benefit shortfalls are already in work, so moving into work isn’t a potential solution for them.
Only people in Kensington & Chelsea or Westminsterare going to have their housing benefit cut
All private rented households in Hackney will see a cut in their housing benefit over the next two years, thousands of households in total. The east and north-east of the borough where rents are lower will be most heavily affected, not the higher rent areas of Shoreditch and Hoxton.
We’re highlighting the real stories behind these changes so that the impact isn’t swept under the carpet. Many Hackney residents have already shared how the changes are affecting them, to share yours visit our Impact Map.
We’re also sharing information and advice on what options are available to help anyone affected.