Increasing housing benefit by inflation ‘not enough’ to fight rising poverty

Crisis says that to make a difference any increase has to cover the true cost of rents.

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Crisis warns increasing housing benefit by inflation won’t be enough to fight rising poverty.

Government is expected to announce today (Feb 10) an end to the freeze on benefits by agreeing to increase income-related benefits by inflation.

Crisis chief executive Jon Sparkes said only investing in housing benefit so it covers the true cost of rents gets close to tenure security.

“Anything less than this is simply unacceptable,” he said.

Sparkes referenced research from Citizens Advice that found the number of people who are unable to cover their living costs has increased since the benefits freeze began in 2016.

The research also revealed almost four in 10 households that seek debt advice and receive benefits, including housing benefit, would still not have enough money to cover their costs by 2024 – even if these rises were to continue in years to come.

“Right now, across the country thousands of people are battling to keep their head above water by going without food or missing a crucial bill payment, just to be able to cover their living costs – this includes being able to cover their rent.

“No one should be forced to live like this, especially when we know we have the means to fix it,” said Sparkes.

“Following years of cuts, unfreezing benefits to rise in line with inflation is a sticking plaster to a societal problem that has far reaching, and often devastating, consequences.

“Too many people are living in poverty, at risk of losing their homes, or already are homeless – increasing housing benefit by inflation won’t be enough to change this.

“By investing in housing benefit, so it covers the true cost of rents, the Government will ensure that everyone has the security of a safe home,” he said.

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