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Sedgemoor near top of South-West housing benefit list
7:00pm Friday 30th August 2013 in Somerset
MORE than half of people living in private rented homes in Sedgemoor are on housing benefit, a new study has revealed.
The study, by GMB, Britain's General Union, showed that of the 7,113 private rented households in Sedgemoor, 3,694 (51.9%) are receiving housing benefit.
Sedgemoor is ranked sixth in the top ten list of areas in the South-West for claiming housing benefit.
That figure (51.9%) is higher than the 41.3% claiming housing benefit across the region.
The growth in ‘buy to let’ lending is expected to fuel public spending, as rent to more than 40% of private landlords in the South West is from housing benefit.
The growth is expected to add another 16,000 new housing benefit claims.
John Phillips, GMB regional secretary, said: “Housing benefit to meet housing costs for rented accommodation of people on low incomes has ballooned to £23 billion per year.
“Half the cash spent in Britain on housing benefit last year would fund over 80,000 new homes each year across the country.
“Ending corporate welfare will save taxpayer’s money and will kick-start the local economy. It will provide families with better quality houses with more security of tenure.”
A Sedgemoor District Council spokesman said: “Sedgemoor District Council works actively with the public to assure them that the private rented sector is a good alternative to social housing.
“With a shortage of social housing and land available to build new homes, Sedgemoor District Council has worked with Taunton Deane and West Somerset to develop SWeLT (Somerset West Landlords and Tenants services).
“The service actively works with landlords to improve their properties to the Decent Homes standard through the voluntary Landlord Accreditation scheme providing accommodation at low cost rent.
“We also provide funds to improve energy efficiency and tackle fuel poverty.
“Already since April 1, 122 private rented properties have been accredited. Properties are actively advertised through the housing options team of the council.”