Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/684/12728
The Socialist 7 September 2011 |
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Local Housing Allowance
The recent Socialist feature (issue 683) showed how the Con-Dems' attacks on benefits hit young people. This included the January 2012 increase in the minimum age, from 25 to 35, to receive full housing allowance for a single-occupant tenancy.
This attack builds on Labour's introduction of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates in April 2008, which replaced housing benefit for private tenants. A new LHA applicant, whatever their age, sharing a multi-bedroom home, can only get the very low 'bedsit' rates. This is usually not enough for someone sharing a two or three bedroom property.
LHA rates were reduced in April 2011 from being based on the cheapest five out of ten rental prices to three out of ten, while private rental rates have increased. Many people under 35 face the prospect of very poor quality, cramped and expensive housing conditions, often with no or little privacy.
If any government wants to stop subsidising private landlords, it should cap rents not benefits and build decent public housing, available at affordable rates. Instead the Con-Dems are bringing social housing rents closer to private ones.