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Universal Credit: Private Rented Housing

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 122578, tabled on 10 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data her Department holds on the number of households in the private rented sector in receipt of universal credit with the housing element in payment; how many and what proportion of those households have rents which exceed the local housing allowance (LHA); and what the median average gap is between the rent and the LHA for those households where rent exceeds the LHA, for each local authority area in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales for the most recent period for which data is available.

Answered on

25 February 2022

The information requested is in the attachment.

The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) determines the maximum financial support available for renters in the private rented sector who are in receipt of housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit, but are not intended to meet all rents in all areas.

In April 2020, we increased LHA rates to the 30th percentile of local rents, costing nearly £1 billion and providing 1.5 million claimants with around £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received.

LHA rates have been maintained at their increased levels in 2021/22 and will remain at those levels for 2022/23 rather than reverting back to previous rates which were less generous.

For those who require additional support, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are available. Since 2011 we have provided almost over £1.5 billion in DHPs to local authorities for households who need additional support with their housing costs.