Benefit-rent gap for poorest tenants widens to £113 a month

Benefit cuts mean Britain’s poorest private tenants are having to find an average of £113 a month to meet a shortfall between their housing benefit payments and their rent, putting many at risk of poverty and homelessness. Official data obtained by housing charity Shelter found that London renters on full benefits faced the widest rent gap in cash terms, needing to find an average of £211.94 a month, followed by £139.66 in the east of England and £138.23 in the south-east of England. Around 370,000 low-income households renting privately in Britain, including more than 100,000 families with children, struggle financially because housing allowances lag so far behind rents as a result of the benefit freeze. Shelter said that for many people on housing benefit who are by definition on very low incomes these can be catastrophic amounts, forcing many to choose between paying rent and buying food. If they cannot meet the difference they are at risk of eviction. Read more.

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