Around 900,000 people across the UK could see their Housing Benefit payments rise from April.
The freeze on Local Housing Allowance rates that has been in place since 2016 has today (13 January 2020) been lifted by the Minister for Welfare Delivery, meaning that rates will rise by inflation from April.
There are around 1.4 million people in the private rental sector receiving Local Housing Allowance, and this change will provide an average of around £10 extra a month to affected households in the private rented sector.
And since 2011, the government has provided local authorities with over £1 billion in Discretionary Housing Payments to protect the most vulnerable claimants. An additional £40 million was also made available for next year’s Discretionary Housing Payment fund to help affordability in the private rented sector.
Minister for Welfare Delivery, Will Quince, said:
“This government is levelling up opportunity across the UK, and this will be a welcome increase for more than a million people as we provide more money to help pay for housing.
“We are committed to tackling all forms of homelessness – ending the freeze on housing benefits is just one part of achieving this. We have announced an additional £263 million to help councils provide better support to homeless people, and importantly, prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.
“We will continue to work with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and others across government, to find ways to support the cost of living in the rented sector.”
This announcement follows a commitment to end the benefit freeze made in November, which means other benefits will also rise by inflation.
Millions of people on Universal Credit, as well as those on the old benefits system, will also see their payments rise by inflation.
What do people need to do to receive the increase?
Payments will increase automatically – they do not have to apply to receive the extra cash and should see a change in their housing payments after 1 April 2020.