A new online petition is calling on Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates to rise in-line with the current rate of inflation. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation fell to 10.1 per cent in March from 10.4 per cent in February.
William Conway created and posted the petition on the petitions-parliament website, proposing that the increase should then be applied every year, following in the footsteps of the annual State Pension and benefits uprating which is implemented every April. He highlighted how many private tenants have seen their rents rise at a “massive rate”, meaning the LHA doesn't cover rent costs, leaving “many households in financial hardship”.
Local Housing Allowance was introduced in 2008 to provide Housing Benefit entitlement for tenants renting private-sector accommodation in Scotland, England, and Wales. Its introduction meant significant changes to the way Housing Benefit levels were calculated and how benefit was paid.
It did not replace Housing Benefit, it was just a different way of calculating entitlement under the existing Housing Benefit scheme.
LHA rates relate to the area in which the Housing Benefit claim is made. These areas are called ‘Broad Rental Market Areas’, defined as ‘where a person could reasonably be expected to live taking into account access to facilities and services’, and a selection of rents in the area are used to determine the LHA for each category of housing in the area.
You can find the weekly LHA rates for all 32 council areas in Scotland on mygov.scot here.
The ‘Require Local Housing Allowance rates be increased in line with inflation’ petition states: “We want the Government to require local authorities to immediately increase Local Housing Allowance rates by 10.1%, to cover recent inflation, and then increase these rates by inflation every year.
“In the cost of living crisis many private tenants have seen their rents rise at a massive rate, meaning the LHA doesn't cover their rent costs and leaving many households in financial hardship.”
It adds: “Many landlords have had to increase rents to cover the increases in their mortgages, causing instability for both the tenants and landlord.
“Most benefits have increased by 10.1% and it is vital that LHA rates are increased in the same way, to prevent people being evicted because they can't afford their rent.”
At 10,000 signatures the UK Government is required to give a response, at 100,000 the petition would be considered for debate in Parliament. The petition is open until October 17, 2023 and can be viewed online here.
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