Press release

Second independent housing research report published

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

The second independent research report into Housing Benefit reform was published today.

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The second independent research report into Housing Benefit reform was published today.

Research from an independent consortium led by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University covers the impact of recent Housing Benefit reform in the private rented sector.

The research looks at the attitudes of claimants and landlords in 19 areas across Great Britain following Housing Benefit reforms that started in April 2011.

Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said:

Reform of Housing Benefit in the private sector was absolutely necessary to control a system that saw spending double over a decade to more than £20 billion a year. However, it is also necessary to monitor and follow the reforms to help us build and learn for future reforms.

I want to thank the consortium led by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) for their ongoing work and look forward to the final report.

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

This report provides findings from in-depth interviews undertaken with claimants, landlords and housing advisors in early stages of the implementation of the reforms.

In addition an econometric and spatial analysis of Housing Benefit claims provides insights to the initial impacts of the reforms across the country.

The report finds:

  • large numbers of claimants have not moved during the study

  • in 120 council areas, reductions to Housing Benefit have been £5 or less

  • the extra £130 million of support from DWP to councils to help tenants has assisted claimants well where losses have been greater.

More information:

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

  • setting 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
    • £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 research ‘Monitoring the impact of changes to the Local Housing Allowance system of Housing Benefit: Interim report’ is available here: Monitoring the impact of changes to the Local Housing Allowance system of Housing Benefit: Interim report

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.

The previous report ‘Monitoring the impact of changes to the Local Housing Allowance system of Housing Benefit: Summary of early findings’ is available here: Monitoring the impact of changes to the Local Housing Allowance system of Housing Benefit: Summary of early findings

Further reports will be published later in early 2014.

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Published 13 May 2013