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Low income renters face policy black hole

Words: Huw Morris
Rent / iStock-534569026

The government must radically increase the supply of homes for social rent if it is to unlock the 'grip of poverty' in the private rented sector, according to latest research.

A Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) analysis reveals 956,000 households in England are either on low incomes and spend more than 30 per cent of these on rent or struggle to cover their rent after housing benefit.

Nine in ten of these families live in poverty despite four in five having at least one adult in work. Adults in two-thirds of of these families work full time.

It urges the government to increase the supply of homes for social rent to 90,000 a year for the next 15 years. Such investment could lift 600,000 people out of poverty but current policies are failing these families and creating “a policy black hole” for low-income private renters.

“Buying your own home through government schemes is simply not an option for the vast majority of people on low incomes, and policies to make rent more affordable are not working either,” said JRF economist Rachelle Earwaker. “The impact of the housing crisis is being felt up and down the country: so why is there a policy black hole for the people who most need support?

“It’s unacceptable that almost a million families on low incomes across England are paying private rents they can’t afford. This has huge consequences for families: money that could be spent on nutritious food, after-school activities or saving towards a deposit for your own home is instead sucked into high private rents.”

Image credit | iStock