London Councils has welcomed new research from Crisis - published at the launch of the charity's new Cover the Cost campaign - which shows that Londoners receiving Universal Credit are unable to afford the vast majority of rented homes in the capital.
These findings chime with boroughs’ experience of worsening homelessness in their communities. Boroughs are calling on the government to lift the Local Housing Allowance, which is administered under Universal Credit and is currently frozen, to at least 30 per cent of local market rates for private sector accommodation.
Cllr Muhammed Butt, London Councils’ Executive Member for Welfare, Empowerment & Inclusion, said:
“Crisis’ research confirms what London boroughs have long experienced. The freeze in Local Housing Allowance rates combined with year-on-year rent increases means that fewer and fewer properties are affordable to low-income households in the capital.
“Too often, the result is Londoners going into rent arrears and ending up homeless. This is a terrible situation for Londoners to find themselves in. It also puts huge pressure on councils, who take responsibility for those made homeless and ultimately have to pick up the bill.
“The upcoming Spending Review is an opportunity for the government to put a stop to this spiralling problem. Ending the Local Housing Allowance freeze and restoring rates to ensure that at least 30 per cent of the market is affordable to claimants would be a massive boost to boroughs’ efforts to tackle London’s homelessness crisis.”