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Housing benefit freeze to end – but is that enough?

MPs are set to end the freeze on benefits today by agreeing to increase income-related benefits by the rate of inflation. 

The change should mean that Local Housing Allowance rates for private renters will rise by 1.7% from April 1, which could see 900,000 people get an extra £10 a month.

However, Citizens Advice research shows that 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.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive at Crisis, said: “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.

“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 – anything less than this is simply unacceptable.”