UK Politics

Conservative Party: Counting the cost of Labour's failure on Housing Benefit reform

News   •   Nov 10, 2010 11:04 GMT

New figures released show that if the Housing Benefit system continues unreformed the bill would rise to £25 billion in the next five years.

By 2015 every working household would be paying £1,515 a year for a broken Housing Benefit system. Labour are opposing the coalition government's Housing Benefit reforms in a vote in the House of Commons.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has announced plans to restore fairness to housing benefit. He wants to reform a broken system which traps people on benefits by paying for them to live in houses they could never afford if they entered work. The main beneficiaries of the current system are private landlords who have seen Housing Benefit rents rising while private rents were have fallen.

There is widespread public concern about the number of families currently trapped on benefits, and the absurd situation that in some cases over £100,000 a year to is being paid to private landlords for just one house.

Ahead of the Commons motion on Housing Benefit, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said:

"Labour have behaved disgracefully over the Housing Benefit issue and have been spreading panic and lies in a cynical attempt to disguise their own incompetence. We want to end the situation where families find themselves trapped on benefits and living in houses they could never afford if they  entered work. Thanks to Labour's failure to reform the welfare system, Housing Benefit rents have risen much faster than the rest of the market, meaning that those on Housing Benefit pay far more rent than they should."

And he added, "We don't think it's fair for working families to be taxed to pay housing benefit bills of more than £20,000, especially when the only ones that profit are private landlords by inflating the rents. Our  reforms are about restoring fairness to a system that has been allowed to run totally out of control under the Labour government.  It's time we got rents down and sorted out this mess."