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'Bedroom tax' causing 'severe hardship and distress'

Disabled people are suffering "severe financial hardship and distress" as a result of the 'bedroom tax', a cross-party committee of MPs has said.

People stage a demonstration over bedroom tax outside the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow in September 2013. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

The decision to reduce housing benefit payments from social tenants deemed to have a larger home than they need has hit vulnerable people who were not the intended targets of the reform and have little hope of moving to a smaller property, the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee found.

Housing minister: 'Rents falling and 360,000 homes built'

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins has responded to a report which warned that one working person every five minutes is being forced into claiming Housing Benefit because of soaring rents in London, while other areas are experiencing economic growth.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins pictured with David Cameron. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Mr Hopkins said: "The housing market we inherited in 2010 had housebuilding at its lowest peacetime levels since the 1920s.

"Three years later rents are falling in real terms, we've built 360,000 homes and housebuilding is growing at its fastest rate for 10 years. None of this would have been possible without our action to cut the deficit left by the last administration, and keep interest rates low."

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Reliance on private rental sector 'must be addressed'

Chief executive of the National Housing Federation David Orr says the reliance on the private rental sector must be addressed to reduce the burden on the taxpayer.

We hear a lot about 'making work pay', but a decent job won't even cover the cost of a home in England. Billions of pounds of taxpayers' money is wasted, lining the pockets of private landlords, when it could be better spent building more homes people can afford. Relying on the private rented sector so heavily is a costly sticking plaster rather than a solution.

In towns and cities pulling away from the recession, the dysfunctional housing market is burning the fingers of many people. Hard-working families are spending more and more of their income on a home and many could be forced to move - away from jobs, schools and relatives. We need to address the problems of the housing market now, before another generation is left locked out and reliant on taxpayers to keep the roof over their head.

– Chief executive of the National Housing Federation David Orr

Soaring rents 'force working people to claim benefit'

One working person every five minutes is being forced into claiming housing benefit because of soaring rents in London and other areas experiencing economic growth, a report has warned.

A report claims one working person every five minutes is being forced to claim housing benefit. Credit: Press Association

The number of employed people claiming housing benefit in England has risen by 104% since 2009, with a further 310 added every day, at a total cost to the taxpayer of more than £12 billion over the period - or £1.7 million a day - said the National Housing Federation.

In a report entitled Home Truths, the NHF called on the Government to do more to build affordable homes in the capital and other growth areas where the housing market is "overheating".

The report warns failure to provide homes in sought-after areas has pushed rents beyond what ordinary working families can afford.

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