One working person every five minutes is being forced into claiming Housing Benefit as the number of claimants in the South West doubles in four years, a report says.
The number of employed people claiming Housing Benefit in England has risen by 104% since 2009, with a further 310 added every day, at a total cost to the taxpayer of more than £12 billion over the period – or £1.7 million a day – according to the National Housing Federation (NHF).
The regional rise in employed claimants was 108%, the third highest of the nine regions after the North West and the East Midlands. Private rents are also predicted to rise by 40% and house prices 33% by 2020, putting more strain on families and the public purse.
In its Home Truths report, the NHF called on the Government to do more to build affordable homes in the capital and other growth areas where the housing market is "overheating", warning that failure to provide homes in sought-after areas has pushed rents beyond what ordinary working families can afford.
David Orr, NHF chief executive, said: "We hear a lot about making work pay, but a decent job won't even cover the cost of a home in England."