Housing benefit recipients near 5 million
The number of housing benefit claimants has risen to almost 5 million, according to the latest figures.
Data released by the Department for Work and Pensions today show that for December 2011 there were 4.95 million people claiming housing benefit – almost three quarters of who were aged under-65. The month previous there were 4.93 million claimants.
The total means that with the average award being £86.91-a-week, the overall annual housing benefit bill stands at £22.4 billion.
Of the total number of people claiming housing benefit in December, 3.34 million of them were social housing tenants – 68 per cent – while 1.6 million were in the private rented sector.
Despite the difference, the number of people in the private rented sector receiving benefits rose more than those in social housing.
Between October and December 2011, the number of private rented sector tenants in receipt of housing benefit grew by almost 12,000.
The number of additional social housing tenants receiving housing benefit during the same timescale was just under 9,000.
Most of the people receiving housing benefits were single – 3.91 million – with almost two-thirds of these being female