Campaign update – Parliamentary Committee backs Generation Rent calls on Local Housing Allowance

Generation Rent saw a campaign success today as a new report by the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee has called for the UK Government to introduce a new ‘uprating guarantee’ to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate each year, to “end the uncertainty faced by people claiming benefits”. Under these recommendations, the government would be required to set out its reasoning to Parliament if it decided not to increase LHA each year in line with the 30th percentile of local rents. LHA is used to determine how much recipients of Universal Credit and Housing Benefit get to cover their rent.

This recommendation is very welcome as guaranteed support for renters in need is long overdue. Certainty for people receiving LHA means that the situation of the last few years, where these benefits remained frozen while rents soared, would not be able to be repeated. During this time, LHA payments were so far removed from the reality of what tenants were paying in rent, and this had an incredibly damaging impact on all of us who relied upon them.

We have been campaigning on this issue for a long time and are glad to see that reflected in the committee’s report. Our Chief Executive Ben Twomey gave evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee back in June on behalf of this country’s 12 million renters we’re pleased to see that they listened to what we had to say.

We urge all parties to annually increase Local Housing Allowance to reduce homelessness and mend the broken safety net for those in need.

The picture more broadly, however, is that the reliance on LHA is a concern and leads to the government effectively subsidising sky-high rents and putting money straight into landlords’ pockets. It is the sign of a broken system that the government has to pay such a high proportion of such high rents..

This change, if implemented, must come with a commitment to address the cause of this issue. The government must slam the brakes on soaring rents to give renters the breathing space we need during the cost of living crisis and beyond. As rents continue to increase at astonishingly unaffordable rates, the government’s costs will go up as more taxpayer’s money will go directly to landlords. That is not sustainable and serious action is required to bring these rents down.

In the meantime, Generation Rent will continue to campaign for this recommendation to become reality to protect the most vulnerable renters.


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