Housing Benefit was introduced many years ago to help people who were struggling to pay their rents. More now than ever before is it needed, as house prices spiral out of control. More than 90% of new claims for housing benefit in recent years have been made by people in low paid employment.
But rather than tackle the crisis of supply and affordability, a cap has been imposed on how much benefit can be claimed, and the first thing to go is the financial support towards rents.
A Panorama survey has found that thousands of families hit by the benefit cap have been left with just 50p a week towards their rent, and that 7,585 families had had their weekly housing benefit cut to this level.
The cap has been reduced to £23,000 per annum for a household in London and £20,000 in the rest of the country. For a single person it is much less, £15,410 a year in London, £13,400 elsewhere. The average annual rent for a one bed flat in Brighton is £11,652.
The amount of money above the limit is taken from housing benefit or Universal Credit.
I always try to make a comment at the end of a post like this, but I think that this situation speaks for itself, and the consequences are obvious if someone simply gets just 50p per week towards their rent.