Shelter warns government's plans to freeze housing benefit could be devastating for London families

 
Caitlin Morrison
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Families in Hackney could be worst affected by the benefit freeze (Source: Getty)

Government plans to freeze housing benefit could have a devastating on over 100,000 families who privately rent in London, according to new research from housing charity Shelter.

The freeze, which comes into force next April, will keep housing benefit, which helps lower income families to pay rent – and only covers rents in the cheapest third of privately rented homes - at its current level until 2020.

Shelter analysed rent rises across London and found that in eight out of ten areas, working families could face a shortfall of at least £250 a month by 2020.

Potential “blackspots”, where families would face extreme shortfalls, include Hackney, where the monthly shortfall is projected to by up to £783 a month, and Lambeth, which could see a £544 monthly shortfall.

“This looming freeze could push thousands of working families in London to the brink,” said Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter.

“Already struggling to bridge the gap between relentless rent rises and welfare cuts, many of those hit will face an uphill battle to keep a roof over their children’s heads, and put food on the table.”

He added: “Deliberately hacking away at the support for working families is clearly the wrong road to take. If the government wants to cut the welfare bill they should concentrate on building genuinely affordable homes that families on lower incomes can actually afford to live in.”

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