Why LHA must be addressed in the Autumn Statement

12th November 2023

Lora Bencheikh, Group Executive Director, Caridon Property

“The Government must unfreeze housing benefit rates to stop the exclusion of lower income tenants from the private rented housing market and prevent further homelessness.

The combination of high inflation and soaring rental prices means the freeze on Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates since April 2020 has effectively eroded the value of the financial support provided to people who qualify for housing benefit.

The rising cost of living is making it impossible for some individuals and families to afford housing, and as a consequence there are rising rent arrears, evictions, homelessness and mental ill health.

Whilst we understand that the rate of LHA is not an isolated issue; it forms part of the broader context of the housing crisis, which is complex and multifaceted, adjusting LHA rates to reflect the current economic climate and rising rental prices would be a step in the right direction.

Not only would it help to alleviate poverty and prevent homelessness, it would provide lower-income households with access to better housing options and encourage more private landlords to support this sector.

Having a stable home is also critical to the physical and mental wellbeing of individuals and families. Rising prices are exacerbating already overstretched mental health services, which is considered the single largest cause of disability in the UK with the economic costs estimated at more than £100 billion a year. Ending the LHA freeze could contribute to improved overall quality of life and therefore improved health outcomes, helping to reduce the cost of mental health services.”

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