Teresa this week highlighted concerns about Housing Benefit reforms, which are causing hardship for many private renters across her constituency, during a debate in the House of Commons about housing costs.
During the debate, Teresa highlighted the lack of affordability of properties across the private rented sector, a problem which is being compounded by the fact that Housing Benefit awards are not rising adequately in accordance with rent inflation. She drew on the fact that many private renters in receipt of Housing Benefit often experience income discrimination as landlords are reluctant to rent to benefit claimants, meaning their choice of properties is very limited. Teresa also reiterated the need to regulate the private rented sector to ensure that affordable properties of an acceptable standard are available to rent.
The debate was prompted by a report published by the Work & Pensions Select Committee, of which Teresa is a member. This report was published in April 2014, and specifically looked at the impact of Housing Benefit reforms on claimants. Unfortunately, no Government response to the report has yet been received.
Following the debate, Teresa said:
“The Work & Pensions Select Committee’s report highlighted a number of ways in which reforms to Housing Benefit are failing private renters. It is unacceptable that the Government has not yet responded to this report almost a year after its publication.
It is indisputable that the most vulnerable are being failed whilst privately renting. The cost of renting has soared whilst wages have dropped, but changes to Housing Benefit provision mean that private renters are still struggling to pay their rent.
Private renters should not have to choose between having a roof over their heads and eating, but increasingly this is a daily choice for many people across my constituency. It is clear that the Government must review Housing Benefit reforms, work with private landlords, and reform the private rented sector as a matter of urgency to ensure that private renters are able to build the secure, stable homes they deserve.”