Gerald Jones – 2022 Parliamentary Question on the Local Housing Allowance

The parliamentary question asked by Gerald Jones, the Labour MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, in the House of Commons on 5 December 2022.

Gerald Jones (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney) (Lab)

What assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of real-term reductions in local housing allowance rates on levels of poverty.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Mel Stride)

First, on behalf of the whole House, may I welcome the hon. Member for City of Chester (Samantha Dixon) to this House, and wish her every happiness and a productive time in the House?

The Government have maintained the uplift they provided in the local housing allowance in 2020, at a cost of almost £1 billion, targeting the 30th percentile of rents. Those who need assistance with housing costs also have recourse to the discretionary housing payments administered by local authorities.

Gerald Jones

I welcome the Secretary of State’s comments about my new colleague, my hon. Friend the Member for City of Chester (Samantha Dixon), but that is as far as I can go.

The local housing allowance is a lifeline for tenants to access the private rented sector. The Government have accepted the need to uprate most benefits in line with inflation, so why have they chosen to freeze the local housing allowance, which will have a disproportionate impact on constituents in my constituency of Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney? Will he commit to reviewing that situation urgently?

Mel Stride

As the hon. Gentleman will know, annually I review all benefits, including LHA—indeed, around this time next year, I will do precisely that. It has to be borne in mind that we are currently spending almost £30 billion a year on housing allowance and that figure is expected to increase to around £50 billion by 2050, so there are cost considerations.