ALMOST one million Brits will see a 120 a year boost to their housing benefits in April, the Government has announced.
Ministers said today that 900,000 people across the country will see relief when the freeze on the Local Housing Allowance benefits rates is lifted later this year.
It will make a huge difference for Brits on Universal Credit – and those on the old benefits system too.
It will give people an average of 10 a month extra, but it’s not yet clear whether the benefits will rise in line with inflation on a yearly basis.
Payments will automatically increase and Brits won’t have to do anything to get the cash.
The boost is expected to come in on April 1.
DWP Minister Will Quince said today: “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.
Ex-DWP Secretary Amber Rudd had been campaigning for a rise to the Housing Allowance to help Brits on Universal Credit, before she left Government.
Ministers announced last year that the benefit freeze would be lifted for other benefits come April too – for the first time in four years.
Others on ESA, income support, housing benefit, child tax credits, working tax credits and child benefit will also see a boost from April.
The majority of working age benefits have been frozen at the 2015/16 levels, meaning they were not hiked in line with inflation.
Charities estimated that thousands were 200 a year worse off because of the continued freeze.
Senior Tories have been urging ministers to end the freeze for months.
But the Residential Landlords Association said this afternoon the move was not enough – and called on ministers to restore links to local rent increases instead.
John Stewart, Policiy Manager for the RLA said: “The benefit level needs to reflect the realities of the level of rents locally.
“Given rents have risen by an average of 5 per cent, and in some areas more than that over the last 4 years, a rise of 1.5 per cent in the benefit level is not going to be much help to a tenant struggling to afford the rent in those areas and many others.”