Soaring rents in Cambridge are forcing more and more people onto housing benefit – and pushing up the welfare bill. Figures obtained by Labour show that the number of working people in Cambridge claiming housing benefit rose by 55% between May 2010 and November 2013. While the overall numbers of people claiming housing benefit barely rose (up 2% from 7676 to 7825), the numbers of people in work claiming housing benefit leaped from 1040 to 1608 – a 55% increase.
Cambridge Labour Parliamentary candidate Daniel Zeichner says that with Cambridge rents rising by 20% in the last two years, it is no surprise that more and more of Generation Rent are being forced onto benefits:
“Rents are rising fast, but wages in Cambridge are stuck – many young people in particular are now finding they need to claim housing benefit just to pay the basic bills. That’s bad for them, and bad for the tax-payer – we are all effectively subsidising landlords, when taxpayer funds would be better spent building housing. The Government tries to blame hard-pressed tenants, but they have created a lethal cocktail of stagnant wages and failure to supply sufficient homes which has left a generation trapped. Labour’s plan for longer tenancies, an end to letting fees, and a cap on rent rises can’t come too soon.”