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08/02/2019

Private rented sector traps more children in poverty

Words: Huw Morris
Poverty gap / iStock-911770890

Nearly half of children living in privately rented homes in England are in poverty despite the fact that seven out of 10 of their families are in work.

High property prices and a shrinking proportion of social housing mean that the number of families living in privately rented homes at market rates has increased by more than three quarters in a decade and is growing faster than couples and single people, according to research by the National Housing Federation (NHF).

Families living in private rented homes have outnumbered those in social housing since 2012.

By moving into social housing, typically 51 per cent of market rent, households in poverty would be around £3,172 a year better off – more than a year’s worth of food for an average household, says the study.

The government would also save around £1.8 billion of taxpayers’ money each year in housing benefit payments.

A total of 242,753 of these children would not be living in poverty if they had access to social housing, the NHF argues.

The organisation is calling on the government to provide more direct funding for social housing, particularly for family homes.

“We will only be able to build desperately needed social homes for children living in poverty if housing associations have access to land instead of the current situation where they are forced to bid directly against private developers who make millions from luxury properties,” say chief executive Kate Henderson.

According to research by the NHF and Crisis earlier this year, England needs to build 90,000 social homes a year to make up for the critical shortage. Last year only 6,463 homes were built.

Image credit | iStock 

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