Further housing benefit cuts to save £215m
The government has announced further plans to cut housing benefit payments in the comprehensive spending review.
From 2012, single people under 35 will be paid a shared room rate rather than a rate for a full flat.
The shared room rate is lower than all other housing benefit payments and is currently paid to claimants under 25. It is based on the amount of rent charged for a single room with shared use of the rest of a house.
The government expects raising the age at which the shared room rate can be paid will save £215 million by 2014/15.
Announcing the change, which comes on top of savings announced in the emergency Budget and at the Conservative party conference, chancellor George Osborne said: ‘This will ensure that housing benefit rules reflect the housing expectations of people of a similar age not on benefits.’
Today’s review also revealed a cap on benefits for out-of-work single people of £18,200. This follows the announcement of a £26,000 cap for workless families at the Tory party conference two weeks ago, and will be administered in the same way, with housing benefit being cut up to the cap.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: ‘The combined worry of cuts to housing benefit and the slashing of the affordable house building subsidy, coupled with the absence of a long-term strategy, will be devastating for the housing aspirations of thousands of young people consigned to increasing costs and bringing up their families in an insecure private rented sector.
‘The chancellor acknowledged this generational shift in housing aspiration for under 35s in his speech.’