UK Government must end freeze on Local Housing Allowance

Members and supporters of the Homes for all Cymru coalition have called for an end to the freeze at the Spring Budget on 15 March 2023.

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Made up of charities and organisations across Wales, the coalition aims to end homelessness in all its forms; ensuring everybody in Wales can access a home that is sustainable, secure, affordable and suitable for all their needs; and promoting the exchange of information and effective collaboration to achieve the aims.

The LHA is designed to provide people with enough support through the benefits system to afford the cheapest 30 per cent of housing in an area, adjusted for household composition. With LHA having been frozen since 2020, however, this is far from the case.

Research undertaken by the Bevan Foundation, Wales’s most influential think tank, has found that only 1.2 per cent of properties that were advertised for rent between 3 February and 17 February 2023 were available at or below LHA rates. In total there were only 32 properties advertised on the market that were fully covered by LHA rates, with no properties at all being on the market at LHA rates in 16 of Wales’s 22 local authorities. 

Propertymark supports the campaign to increase housing options for people on low wages and those on benefits. In our Spring Budget representation to HM Treasury, we called for the increase of LHA levels to the 30th percentile if not the 50th percentile. It has been nearly three years since housing benefit last increased and with the increase in the cost of living more people are left priced out of a home. The UK Government must act so that housing benefit can fulfil its purpose and protect those on low incomes.

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30 Jan 2023
Propertymark 2023 Spring Budget representation

Concentrating on three core themes to drive the housing sector forward, Propertymark has called on the UK Government to improve welfare to support vulnerable and low waged tenants, provide energy efficiency grants to support landlords and homeowners to achieve Net Zero and repeal Section 24 to reintroduce Mortgage Interest Relief and other tax deductibles for landlords.

Rental data

We also encourage and support letting agents submit rental data to the Valuation Office Agency, to improve data to reflect fair LHA rates. We believe that agents have a vital role to play in improving data, but both the UK and Welsh Governments must make data collection as seamless as possible.

08 Mar 2023
Supplying rent data to the Valuation Office Agency

When agents and landlords supply the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) with rental data, they are contributing towards improving the quality of government data which helps landlords and tenants make accurate and informed decisions.