Number of employed people claiming housing benefit soars by 71 per cent in Barnet

Number of employed people claiming housing benefit soars by 71 per cent

Number of employed people claiming housing benefit soars by 71 per cent

First published in News
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Times Series: Photograph of the Author by

The number of people who have jobs but are claiming housing benefit has risen by 71 per cent in Barnet.

Figures from the House of Commons Library show that 11,374 employed people were reliant on housing benefits in November 2013, compared to 6,654 in 2010.

The research, which was commissioned by Labour, also shows the number of people claiming housing benefits has increased by 60 per cent in England since 2010.

Barnet Borough Council’s shadow cabinet member for housing Councillor Julie Johnson dubbed the figures “totally shocking”.

Speaking to the Times Series, the Labour councillor said: “Barnet is one of the worst boroughs in the list. The high cost of housing rent and ownership together with low pay is forcing more and more people into claiming housing benefit.

“I haven’t seen any signs from the Tory council that they are prepared to do anything about it.

“I knew it was bad but I didn’t know it was this bad. There are no genuinely affordable homes.”

But Tory cabinet member for housing Councillor Tom Davey has hit back at Labour, claiming Barnet is in line with the rest of the capital and has plans in place to increase the number of affordable homes in the borough.

He said: “The increasing proportion of benefit claimants in employment shows that the jobs market is improving as the economy grows and that the Government’s welfare reforms are succeeding in getting those on benefits into work.

“In Barnet we have a programme to deliver 20,000 new homes, including at least 4,000 affordable starter homes - a programme that Labour have opposed at every turn.

“We have built new council houses – when Labour built none during their time controlling the council – and there are more on the way. Neighbouring Labour boroughs have hiked social rents, while we in Barnet have kept increases below inflation.

“From all this it is evident that the Conservatives have a clear plan and that Labour cannot be trusted on housing.”

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