More have to ask for housing costs help in Bradford area

New research shows a rapidly rising number of people in work are asking for help with housing costs to keep a roof over their heads.

Rising rents, house prices, high unemployment and low wages have helped contribute to a 105 per cent increase in working people across Yorkshire and the Humber claiming housing benefit since 2009, according to figures released today by the National Housing Federation.

The Home Truths report also claims that people in the region are being affected by the second lowest number of new homes built in the region during 2012/13.

Daniel Klemm, Yorkshire and the Humber’s external affairs manager for the National Housing Federation, said: “We hear a lot about ‘making work pay’, but a decent job won’t even cover the cost of a home in many parts of Yorkshire and the Humber, and with rising rents and house prices the situation looks set to get even worse here. Nationally, billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is being spent on housing benefit to cover the soaring cost of private rent, lining the pockets of private landlords, when it could be spent building more homes people can afford. Relying on the private rented sector so heavily is a costly sticking plaster rather than a solution.” He added: “Hard-working families are spending more and more of their income on a home and many could be forced to move – away from jobs, schools and relatives.”

Mervyn Jones, chief executive of Yorkshire Housing which provides social housing in the district, said: “Every five minutes a working person signs up for housing benefit. The only way to stop this, and prevent taxpayers’ money lining the pockets of private landlords, is to build more homes. Investment in affordable homes will save money on housing benefit in the long run – the Autumn Statement missed the opportunity to do this. “Local authorities must be supported by central Government to have robust plans in place which make sure that affordable homes are built where they are needed.”

Mr Jones said Yorkshire Housing built nearly 300 new, affordable homes last year.

A spokesman for Incommunities, the district’s biggest social housing provider, said: “We continue to work and support those customers affected by benefit changes including providing assistance to apply for Discretionary Housing Payments, offer debt advice and open basic bank accounts. We would urge any customer needing advice about the Welfare Reform changes to contact us on (01274) 254943.

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