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Industry calls on govt to publish data on Local Housing Allowance freeze

Jake Carter

August 17, 2021

Various industry bodies have grouped together to call for the government to publish data on the impact freezing the Local Housing Allowance and cutting Universal Credit has on renters.

The group include The Big Issue Ride Out Recession Alliance, Crisis, The Mortgage Works (TMW), Nationwide Building Society, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), Propertymark, StepChange Debt Charity and Shelter.

Universal Credit increased by 107% between February 2020 and February 2021.

More than 55% of these households have a shortfall between the housing support they receive and the rent they have to pay.

The UK government has confirmed that where such shortfalls exist, the median amount is £100 a month.

Since April this year, Local Housing Allowance has been frozen in cash terms, and later this year, Universal Credit will be cut by £20 a week.

Whilst the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has described changes to the Local Housing Allowance as “arbitrary and unfair,” there has not been an assessment from the UK government on the impact either of these policies will have on the capacity of recipients to cover rent payments.

Nathan Emerson, chief executive of Propertymark, said: “We are adding our voice to scrutinise these policies and highlight the serious issue of tenant debt.

“The impact on landlords is evident as many tenants are already struggling financially because of the pandemic.

“Agents are continuing to work with landlords and tenants to resolve rent issues where possible, however the freeze to Local Housing Allowance rates and the decision to cut Universal Credit, will simply exacerbate existing problems, risking tenancies which could otherwise be saved.”


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