The push towards market level rents and for homeless to be housed in the private sector has a social cost that is debatable - but what about the cost to the tax payer in funding Housing Benefit.
Here is the latest cost data:
At March 2011 There were 4.87 million recipients of Housing Benefit, of whom almost three-quarters were aged under 65. The average weekly amount of Housing Benefit paid to Social Housing Tenants was £67.83. (£3,527 per annum) The average weekly amount of Housing Benefit paid to RSL Housing Tenants was £77.16. (£4,012 per annum) 68% of Social Sector tenants receiving Housing Benefit The average weekly amount of Local Housing Allowance Paid to regulated private tenants was £78.59. (£4,086 per annum) The average weekly amount of Local Housing Allowance paid to unregulated private tenants was £114.47. (£5,952 per annum) 79% of Private Sector tenants receiving the Local Housing Allowance (source: DWP STATISTICAL SUMMARY; 15th June 2011) What struck me the most was the closeness of the regulated private rents benefit cost to RSL levels. This implies that rent levels as well are close. In which case, does it not make even more sense to regulate the remainder of the private market and so protect the taxpayer from further exploitation. That's assuming the obvious expansion of the public sector remains off the agenda.
But how can it be logical to opt for the most expensive form of tenure, as shown by the DWP, as the main housing provider for those without choice?