To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Broad Market Rental Area (BMRA) in York which extends into the wider area of North Yorkshire and impacts on the level of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) set for the City of York where housing costs are higher, whether she plans to take steps in response to the impact of the BMRA on people living in the City of York in receipt of LHA, including those affected by the Benefit Cap.
The Local Housing Allowance determines the maximum financial support available for renters in the private rented sector but are not intended to meet all rents in all areas.
The boundaries of a Broad Rental Market Area (BRMA) do not have to match the boundaries of a local authority, and BRMAs will often fall across more than one constituency or Local Authority area. Each BRMA must contain a variety of property types and tenures, sufficient privately rented accommodation and access to facilities for health, education, recreation, banking and shopping.
In April 2020, Local Housing Allowance rates were increased to the 30th percentile of local rents. This investment of nearly £1 billion provided 1.5 million claimants with an average £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. For some areas the average increase was higher for example in York the Local Housing Allowance two-bedroom rate increased by over £114 per month or £1373 per year.
Local Housing Authority rates have been maintained at their increased levels in 2021/22 and will remain at those levels for 2022/23, so that everyone who benefitted from the increase will continue to do so.
For those who require additional support, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available. Since 2011, we have provided almost over £1.5 billion in DHPs to Local Authorities, for households who need additional support with their housing costs.
The benefit cap provides a strong work incentive and fairness for hard-working taxpaying households and encourages people to move into work, where possible. Households can still receive benefits up to the equivalent salary of £24,000, or £28,000 in London.