Social Security Benefits: Private Rented Housing

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 11th February 2022.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she had with the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on the (a) setting of Broad Market Rental Area boundaries and (b) impact of those boundaries on the expenditure of families affected by the Benefit Cap.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions meets regularly with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on housing matters; however, rent officers at the Valuation Office Agency have responsibility for setting broad rental market area (BRMA) boundaries in England.

BRMAs, of which there are 192 in Great Britain, are determined in accordance with requirements laid down in legislation. Each area must contain a variety of property types and tenures, sufficient privately rented accommodation and access to facilities for health, education, recreation, banking and shopping. Where rent officers decide that a boundary should be moved, they must carry out a review, consulting with affected Local Authorities among others, and submit a recommendation to the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions to make a decision.

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.

Claimants that need additional support to meet rental costs can approach their Local Authority for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

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