Press release

Independent Housing Research Published

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Independent research into housing benefit reform is published today.

Independent research into housing benefit reform is published today.

The first report from an independent research consortium led by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University covers the early months of housing benefit reform in Autumn 2011.

Researchers from the consortium worked with landlords and tenants in 19 local authority areas across Great Britain to assess attitudes to housing benefit reform in the private sector.

The housing benefit reforms are designed to bring fairness back to a system that has seen costs spiralling out of control and reverse benefit dependency.

Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said:

This research has been a valuable resource. It will help us to monitor our reforms and inform future thinking. I want to thank the consortium for their work.

The research published today gives us an early insight into what is really happening and I am encouraged that it shows that the many scare stories about the effects of housing benefit reform are not materialising. We will continue to monitor this activity over the next year.

Ian Cole, Professor of Housing Studies, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR), said:

This is the first report to be published from the review of the impact of recent changes to Local Housing Allowances and Housing Benefit in the private rented sector.

In providing early findings from initial surveys with private landlords and Housing Benefit claimants, I believe the report provides a useful empirical basis for our subsequent research, not least given the widespread interest that is being shown in the impact of these important policy measures.

The consortium’s research started in April 2011 and will run until June 2013 and covers the effects of:

  • Local Housing Allowance rates from the median to the 30th percentile of local market rents from April 2011

  • capping Local Housing Allowance rates by property size from April 2011 to:
  • £250 per week for 1 bed
  • £290 per week for two bed
  • £340 per week for three bed and
  • £400 per week for four bed or more
  • the increased Government contribution to the Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) budget
  • increased powers of local authorities to make direct payments to landlords to support tenants in retaining and securing a tenancy
  • allowing an additional bedroom within the size criteria used to assess Housing Benefit claims in the Private Rented Sector where a disabled person, or someone with a long-term health condition, has a proven need for overnight care and it is provided by a non-resident carer who requires a bedroom

The full report is available here: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2011-2012/rrep798.pdf

Further reports will be published later this year and in 2013.

Notes to editors

  • The consortium is led by Ian Cole, Professor of Housing Studies, from the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University.
  • Other key team members included Peter Kemp of Oxford Institute of Social Policy, Carl Emmerson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and Ben Marshall from IPSOS-MORI.
  • The Scottish Government along with the Department of Communities and Local Government and Welsh Assembly Government are working in close partnership with the DWP and each contributing to the costs of the review.
  • The Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University is one of the UK’s leading academic research centres specialising in social and economic regeneration, housing and labour market analysis.