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People with jobs claiming housing benefit on the rise

Those claiming housing benefit, including those in jobs, is on the rise. Photo: Press Association

Given that you may have become used to hearing about the government tightening up on payments like housing benefits, you might be rather surprised to learn not just that the number of people who claim it has gone up by rather a lot, but also that the number of people with jobs who receive housing benefit has risen so much - an extra 310 every day claims the National Housing Federation.

That's not just because wages have stagnated so much, with many people coping with freezes to their pay, or only being able to find part-time work. But it's also down to very significant increases in the cost of private rents.

Those hikes have meant that more working people just can't keep up with paying rent on their own without help, so increased numbers are asking for support from the taxpayer in the shape of housing benefit to stump up some of the cash. This is rather at odds with the government's repeated desire to "make work pay".

The tweaks the government has made to claiming can't bring the cost down anything like as much as it's been pushed up by rising rents. And with the NHF predicting rents will rise faster than house prices in the next five years, bolder action is required if the brakes are to be put on the bill.