What has happened to housing benefit in the four years since the government inherited a system it claimed was ‘out of control’?
New housing benefit statistics published this week cover the period up to May 2014. They reflect not just successive government cuts but a changing pattern of claims and changing tenure over the last four years. Here are five things that struck me:
1) The housing benefit bill continues to grow despite all of the coalition’s reforms. The May 2014 figures show just under five million claims for an average of £92.69 a week, a total of £24.0 billion. That compares with £20.8 billion in May 2010 (4.8 million claims averaging £84.20 a week).
The coalition never claimed that its reforms would reduce the total bill, just that they would reduce the rate of growth from previous forecasts. The bill has grown by 15.4 per cent over the last…
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