The average cost of renting for tenants rose by 2% in 2021 – the largest annual increase since 2017, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.
It was reported that property website Zoopla found newly advertised rental prices were rising much faster across the UK. It said the average rent jumped 8.3% in the final three months of 2021 to £969 a month.
House prices across the country also hit record highs, ONS data showed. The average price of a UK home was £275,000 in December, 10.8% higher than a year earlier. The increase was the biggest in almost two decades.
Those on Housing Benefit face uncertain future
Shelter, a housing charity has said that newly released government data shows that the cost of a modest family rental is now out of reach for people claiming housing allowance in 91% of local areas in England.
Around 1.9 million private renters in England now rely on housing benefits – either the housing element of Universal Credit or ‘legacy’ Housing Benefit – to pay their rent. Many of these renters are in employment but need housing benefits to bridge the gap between low-paid jobs and high rents.
The result is that tax payers are stumping up the cost of inflated rents, a huge transfer of money from the public to private interests. Social housing is an urgent economic necessity along with tax breaks for our poorest paid workers.
Tax cut needed for poorest – immediately
The Workers Party of Britain advocates an increase in the personal tax threshold for the poorest-paid working people. Its not a solution to the crisis but it is an immediate and realisable demand that could be implemented with very little fuss.
Any loss for the exchequer can be easily made up with measures taken to counter tax evasion by big business, or by a tax on those with fortunes exceeding £10m.
Already before the economic crisis of 2020, there were 5.19 million people earning poverty pay – that is, pay below the living wage.
Our policy would help almost all working people by removing tax from the first £21,200 of their wages, which would be a lifeline to more than two million workers who earn between £12,500 and £21,200 and who currently pay 20% tax.