Councils spend £18.5bn on payments in 2010/11
Housing benefit bill rises by £1.3bn
Housing benefit spending by councils rose to £18.5bn between 2009/10 and 2010/11.
The government’s local authority revenue expenditure and financing figures, published at the end of August, showed housing benefit spending grew by £1.3bn in that time.
Housing benefit spending increased by 7.2 per cent, the largest rise of the spending areas measured by the report. Education saw the second-largest growth in spending with a 2.1 per cent rise.
Housing benefit was the third largest area of council spending after education and social care.
The amount spent by councils’ general funds on housing fell by £209m to £2.5bn between 2009/10 and 2010/11, the figures showed.
The fall was the second largest in percentage terms behind highways spending, which fell by 13.3 per cent. But the figures exclude councils’ housing revenue accounts which handle larger sums and deal with spending on and income from their stock.
The general fund pays for services like maintaining a housing register and homelessness services.
Housing services funded by local authorities’ general funds employed 787 people.