Housing benefits to private landlords in London cost government over £2 billion a year

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196,737 HOUSING BENEFIT RECIPIENTS IN THE PRIVATE RENTED SECTOR IN LONDON RECEIVE £2.17 BILLION IN HOUSING BENEFITS PER YEAR WITH BRENT TOPPING LIST OF BOROUGH WITH MOST RECIPIENTS

A change of policy to shift away from housing benefits to direct provision of council housing is long overdue. It will save money in the long run too, says GMB London

In February 2019 there were 196,737 recipients of housing benefits in London. This is 23% of all private rented households in London. With the average recipient receiving around £212 per week, this means housing benefits in London are costing the government £2.17 billion every year.

The London borough which is home to the most housing benefit recipients in the private rented sector is Brent which has 15,931. This is 45.52% of all privately rented households in the borough. Each recipient in Brent receives and estimated £12,450 a year in housing benefits, meaning the estimated spend on housing benefits per year in Brent is £198.4 million.

Next in the list is Enfield which has 15,826 housing benefit recipients in the private rented sector, who receive a total of £191.8 million a year; followed by Barnet which has 13,959 recipients costing a total of £162.3 million a year; Newham has a total of 11,698 recipients, costing a total of £121.9 million a year; Ealing has 11,450 recipients costing a total of £131 million a year; and Haringey has 10,837 recipients of housing benefits costing £117.1 million a year.

The figures covering 33 London boroughs are set out in the table below, ranked by the highest number of housing benefit recipients in the private rented sector taken from February 2019. This is from a new study by GMB London Region of official data for 33 councils in London. It compares the number of privately rented households per borough, the number of those receiving housing benefits, the average a household receives in housing benefits per week and per year, and the cost of housing benefits for the entire borough. [See notes to editors for sources and definitions.]

All Private Rented Households (2016) (1)

Housing Benefit recipients in the Private Rented Sector (Feb 2019) (2)

% of Housing Benefits recipients in private renting sector

Mean of Weekly amount (£) of Housing Benefit paid to Private Landlords – (April 2018 – Feb 2019) (2)

Estimated Annual Housing Benefits Paid to Claimants (£)

Estimated Annual Housing Benefits Cost per Borough (£m)

  England and Wales

          4,225,400

                          979,898

23.19

213.97

             11,126.44

10902.8

  London

             855,300

                          196,737

23.00

212.26

             11,037.52

2171.5

   

 

 

       

1

Brent                35,000                             15,931

45.52

239.55

             12,456.60

198.4

2

Enfield                26,900                             15,826

58.83

233.07

             12,119.64

191.8

3

Barnet                34,300                             13,959

40.70

223.56

             11,625.12

162.3

4

Newham                43,400                             11,698

26.95

200.47

             10,424.44

121.9

5

Ealing                38,900                             11,450

29.43

219.97

             11,438.44

131.0

6

Haringey                26,000                             10,837

41.68

207.76

             10,803.52

117.1

7

Redbridge                28,600                               8,748

30.59

184.21

               9,578.92

83.8

8

Hackney                28,000                               7,983

28.51

241.25

             12,545.00

100.1

9

Harrow                27,600                               7,956

28.83

200.19

             10,409.88

82.8

10

Croydon                28,300                               7,679

27.13

208.65

             10,849.80

83.3

11

Hillingdon                25,500                               7,654

30.02

185.4

               9,640.80

73.8

12

Lewisham                27,800                               6,779

24.38

228.93

             11,904.36

80.7

13

Waltham Forest                31,900                               5,714

17.91

186.51

               9,698.52

55.4

14

Wandsworth                38,500                               5,000

12.99

237.09

             12,328.68

61.6

15

Barking and Dagenham                13,200                               4,969

37.64

171.05

               8,894.60

44.2

16

Greenwich                19,000                               4,685

24.66

169.31

               8,804.12

41.2

17

Merton                19,400                               4,548

23.44

144.25

               7,501.00

34.1

18

Lambeth                33,300                               4,403

13.22

211.4

             10,992.80

48.4

19

Havering                  9,800                               4,113

41.97

163.48

               8,500.96

35.0

20

Hounslow                22,900                               4,062

17.74

193.13

             10,042.76

40.8

21

Westminster                42,000                               3,963

9.44

249.77

             12,988.04

51.5

22

Bexley                12,400                               3,834

30.92

165.62

               8,612.24

33.0

23

Bromley                20,800                               3,673

17.66

161.57

               8,401.64

30.9

24

Camden                27,900                               3,405

12.20

240.04

             12,482.08

42.5

25

Tower Hamlets                43,500                               3,075

7.07

257.78

             13,404.56

41.2

26

Kingston upon Thames                17,100                               2,881

16.85

217.48

             11,308.96

32.6

27

Sutton                14,800                               2,321

15.68

180.86

               9,404.72

21.8

28

Richmond upon Thames                15,100                               2,133

14.13

200.17

             10,408.84

22.2

29

Islington                31,400                               2,087

6.65

236.34

             12,289.68

25.6

30

Hammersmith and Fulham                21,500                               1,861

8.66

227.65

             11,837.80

22.0

31

Kensington and Chelsea                19,200                               1,779

9.27

240.65

             12,513.80

22.3

32

Southwark                29,100                               1,722

5.92

209.89

             10,914.28

18.8

33

City of London                                      29  

267.89

             13,930.28

0.4

 

Warren Kenny, GMB Regional Secretary said:

&quotHousing benefit was introduced by the Tories in the 1980s as an alternative to providing genuinely affordable council housing for lower paid households. There was a prejudice against councils providing housing at genuinely affordable rents for lower paid households.

&quotHousing benefits has proved to be an incredibly expensive alternative to the direct provision of council housing for lower paid households.

&quotAny rational approach to policy would seek to reverse this way of paying to house lower paid households. It is high time that this be widely recognised and that national and local government end the prejudice against council housing.

&quotA change of policy to shift away from housing benefits to direct provision of council housing is long overdue. It will save money in the long run too.

&quotIt is 100 years ago that national government made grants available for local government to build huge council estates right across the country. This spirit needs to be found again for a crash programme for new council homes.

&quotAt the same time there has to be an end to the urge to demolish existing council estates and replace them with up market private homes

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