I thought I'd stumbled onto the Daily Mail site by mistake. Anybody who thinks HB is an easy regime should try applying, it isn't. The vast majority of people who get HB are elderly or disabled and not able to look for work, perhaps your correspondents would have them starve. The rise in HB is a direct consequence of the rise in rents. It's not just available to social tenants - private tenants get housng allowance and home owners get income support for their mortgage - a scheme that the government has expanded hugely during the recession. So no matter what tenure you're in you get houisng support if you're unemployed.
People also seem to forget that HB and HA are in-work benefits as well - so that people on low incomes can afford their housing. Stephen West might qualify if he can't afford his rent, then he can be a scrounger too!!
HB and the other schemes struggle to deal with modern emplloyment conditions - people whose income is variable week by week or who are employed casually. This is where the reform is needed - to enable people to take casual jobs without being penalised if their income drops.