Cameron’s Housing Benefit Reform Claims fail to Impress

18 January 2012 Categories: News

Cameron’s Housing Benefit Reform Claims fail to Impress

Prime Minister David Cameron has been in the news this week after claiming that the newly introduced housing benefit reforms have already resulted in a fall in private rent levels. Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions, Cameron was heard to say “What we have seen so far, as housing benefit has been reformed and reduced, is that rent levels have come down, so we have stopped ripping off the taxpayer.” 

Not surprisingly the comments made by the Prime Minister were opposed by spokespeople from numerous organisations, including the shadow housing minister Jack Dromey who responded “There is no evidence that rents are falling. On the contrary, every survey including that conducted by Shelter demonstrates that private rents continue to soar.

So where did the Prime Minister get his information from?

It is thought that evidence supporting falls in rent levels came from the November rent index published by LSL Property Services, parent company of YourMove and Reeds Rains. Unfortunately a dip in rent levels during the months of November and December is an annual occurrence as landlords accept lower rents in return for accommodated property over the winter period.

When asked about the misleading information given out by Cameron, David Newnes, Director of LSL said “Although rents fell on a monthly basis in November, it’s premature to suggest this is a consequence of policy changes. We will only be able to measure the impact of the cuts for social tenants once they have had more time to feed through into the whole market.”