Rugby politician: housing benefit situation is 'disgraceful'

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Rugby Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate has branded the situation of those receiving Local Housing Allowance (LHA) a ‘disgrace’.

Debbie Bannigan’s comment came in response to a report recently released by the Chartered Institute of Housing – which stated that the failure of LHA to rise alongside the market means private renting is now unaffordable for many low income tenants.

LHA is a benefit given to those who need financial help to rent privately.

Rugby Labour said next year private renters in Rugby will have to pay a shortfall between rents and housing benefit of £30.18 every week for a four-bed home, £28.81 every week for a three-bed home, £23.82 every week for a two-bed home or £19.10 every week for a one-bed home.

Dr Bannigan said: “This is a disgrace. Families on low incomes in Rugby are now struggling to afford even the cheapest, lowest-quality housing. They are facing a living standards crisis, and it’s only going to get worse.

“For some people these shortfalls might sound small, but if you’ve got a low income, a few quid a week really matters. When you can’t afford your rent, you have to choose between heating and eating.”

Rugby MP Mark Pawsey responds

Mr Pawsey said: “The Government presently spends £24 billion a year supporting those in the private rented sector.

"Those in the greatest need have also been supported through providing £800m in discretionary housing payments which enable local authorities to help vulnerable members of their communities.

"The best way to ensure that my constituents in Rugby are appropriately housed is to increase the number of affordable homes being built. Since 2010 the Government has delivered over 357,000 affordable homes.” 600 Rugby families have bought their first home through help to buy, he added.