On 11 January David Cameron told MPs in response to a question on housing benefit that ‘[private] rent levels have come down, so we have stopped ripping off the taxpayer’.
The truth will out
This was significant as it came at a time when the House of Lords was set to inflict a series of defeats on the government over its controversial Welfare Reform Bill. Peers were particularly concerned about the extent to which proposals in the bill would unfairly penalise poor people and Mr Cameron’s implicit message was ‘the reforms to housing benefit which we have already implemented are working and these new ones will too’.
Research by Inside Housing today shows this simply was not true. Across the country people in receipt of housing benefit in the private rented sector face a widening gap between their benefit payment and the rent. Landlords are not dropping rents. If anything, as demand rises, rents are rising too. Mr Cameron has misled parliament and should set the record straight.