Background: Single women are the main recipients of housing benefit. In Coventry around 4,360 single women and 2,085 women in couples are claiming Local Housing Allowance (LHA) for private rented accomodation.[i] There is also a shortage of accommodation for single homeless women in Coventry.
The Cuts: From April 2011 there has been a number of changes to LHA including:
- LHA cut to cover the bottom 30% of rents rather than bottom 50%
- LHA will be linked to Consumer Prices Index rather than local rents meaning its value is likely to go down over time.
The Impact: Cuts to LHA will have a disproportionate impact on women since women are the main recipients.[ii] In the short term these changes will cost those affected in Coventry between £8 and £15 a week[iii]. This will lead to increased pressure on women’s finances. Together with changes to other benefits and tax credits this will increase the income gap between women and men and may push some women into poverty, raising human rights concerns.
Over time the value of LHA is likely to fall relative to actual rents reducing the number of properties that people claiming LHA can afford. At this stage, the shortage of accommodation for single homeless women in Coventry may also become an issue.
Read full chapter on Housing in Unravelling Equality here
[i] 9,480 households in Coventry are claiming Local Housing Allowance (Office for National Statistics. 2009. Neighbourhood statistics: housing benefit/council tax benefit claimants. [online] August. http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadTableView.do?a=7&b=276801&c=coventry&d=13&e=4&g=373870&i=1001x1003x1004&m=0&r=1&s=1300219065156&enc=1&dsFamilyId=1037), of these 46% are single women compared to 20% who are couples and 30% who are men.( Single Housing Benefit Extract, March 2010 & Family Resources Survey 06/07, 07/08 and 0809 (for ‘all non-HB private rented sector (PRS)’ figures)
[ii] Single Housing Benefit Extract, March 2010 & Family Resources Survey 06/07, 07/08 and 0809 (for ‘all non-HB private rented sector (PRS)’ figures)
[iii]: Department of Work and Pensions, Impacts of Housing Benefit proposals: Changes to the Local Housing Allowance to be introduced in 2011-12, (23 July 2010) http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/impacts-of-hb-proposals.pdf,