October 12

Labour’s Housing Allowance Freeze: Will It End?


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The housing benefit rate freeze is a concerning issue, as highlighted by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA). At a Labour Party conference fringe event in collaboration with think tank DEMOS, NRLA’s Policy Director, Chris Norris, expressed serious concerns.

Norris emphasized that the freeze is detrimental, describing it as “completely unworkable.” He pointed out that it hinders social mobility, limits access to rental housing, and obstructs investment in new rental properties.

Housing benefit rates have remained frozen for the third consecutive year, causing benefit support to be tied to rental costs from three years ago, rather than current rates.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies reports that only five percent of rental properties listed on Zoopla are currently affordable for individuals receiving housing benefits due to this freeze.

The NRLA is urging the Government to promptly unfreeze housing benefit rates to prevent a growing number of benefit claimants from facing difficulties in securing the housing they require.

During the conference, Stephen Cowan, Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, who leads an independent review of the private rented sector for the Labour Party, emphasized the crucial role of the rental sector. He also stressed that addressing the sector’s challenges requires increasing overall housing supply.

Chris Norris echoed this sentiment, highlighting that government policy’s failure to encourage greater investment in privately rented homes is letting tenants down. He argued that this lack of choice in housing options leaves tenants unable to take their business elsewhere when faced with subpar housing from a minority of landlords.

This situation underscores the urgent need for policy changes that promote investment in the private rental sector and ensure better housing options for tenants.

Chris Norris underscores the significance of the private rented sector and appreciates the acknowledgment from all panelists. He highlights the fundamental challenges within the rental market that demand attention. The persistent shortage of private rental homes is making it increasingly challenging for renters to secure suitable housing.

In addressing these issues, Norris emphasizes the importance of ending the unjust housing benefit freeze and taking decisive actions against landlords who provide substandard and unsafe housing, which damages the sector’s reputation. He acknowledges that these changes won’t come without challenges but expresses readiness to engage constructively with the party to create a rental market that benefits both tenants and responsible landlords.


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Housing Allowance Freeze UK, Labour Council, NRLA Highlights News

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