Margaret Greenwood MP has spoken in parliament about the “impossible situation” that many private renters are facing as she called for more action from the government to help them.
The Wirral West MP was speaking in a debate on motions which give effect to rises in social security benefits, the household benefit cap and the State Pension.
The government said last autumn that social security benefits and the state pension would rise in line with inflation – 10.1% – from April this year.
It was also announced last autumn that the benefit cap would rise in line with inflation, meaning that the maximum amount working-age households can receive in benefits will rise to £22,020 for couples and lone parents outside Greater London (£14,753 for single adults with no children) and £25,323 for couples and lone parents in Greater London (£16,967 for single adults with no children).
However, before this year, the benefit cap had been frozen at a lower rate since 2016.
It was also announced by the government last autumn that Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates – which are used to calculate the amount of housing benefit private renters can receive – for 2023-24 would be frozen at levels that were previously set in 2020-21.
This is despite rents continuing to rise.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said recently that freezing LHA, as opposed to uprating it to match local rents, will reduce support for nearly 1.1 million households by an average of £50 per month.
Speaking after her intervention in the House of Commons, Margaret Greenwood MP said, “It is extremely disappointing that Local Housing Allowance rates remain frozen for the third year in a row.
“The government has taken this decision even though it knows that rents are continuing to rise.
“This will really hit private renters who are on low incomes.
“The government should be listening to organisations like the Institute for Fiscal Studies who have warned about the impact that the decision to freeze Local Housing Allowance will have.
“The government really must step up and take action to help private renters who are facing an impossible situation.”