Committee raises concerns about uncertain impact of housing benefit changes

22 December 2010

The Work and Pensions Select Committee has published its report into changes to Housing Benefit. The Report says there is still a level of uncertainty around the impact of the proposed changes to Housing Benefit and their cumulative effect on households.

The Report examines the wide-ranging reforms to the Housing Benefit system proposed by the Government, and in particular for claimants in the private rented sector, in receipt of Local Housing Allowance.

The Committee accepts the Government’s desire to slow the sharp rise in Housing Benefit costs, particularly in the private rented sector, and thereby to influence the private rental market. However, it expresses some concerns about the availability of private rented accommodation in certain localities, which tenants are likely to be able to secure at the new Housing Benefit levels.

The Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, Anne Begg, said:

“It is difficult to judge at the moment to what extent Housing Benefit claimants will change their behaviour as a result of these proposals. The Government hopes that people will be able to find cheaper accommodation in cheaper areas and that private landlords will be willing to reduce their rents to Local Housing Allowance claimants, so that the new levels will not result in an increase in homelessness. 


However, it is too early to determine if this will happen in reality which is why it is hard say exactly what the impact of these changes will be.”

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