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Richmond Council urges government to address Housing Benefit crisis in Spring Budget

31 January 2024

Richmond Council intensifies its call on the government to address the growing housing crisis and urgently uprate the Housing Benefit subsidy cap for temporary accommodation.

At Full Council, Councillor Jim Millard, Deputy Leader, put forward a motion stressing the urgency of raising the subsidy cap. The current cap, frozen at 2011 rates, is placing increasing financial stress on council budgets, which ultimately risks impacting the delivery of council services.

This motion builds on the Council's earlier appeal, a joint letter from Councillor Millard and Councillor Gareth Roberts, Leader of the Council, which highlighted the role of Local Housing Allowance in covering housing costs for low-income private renters and expressed grave concern about the growing homelessness crisis in Richmond upon Thames. 

Councillor Millard said: "Our Housing team does incredible work to support those who find themselves without a permanent roof over their heads in the borough. However, without significant government intervention, council taxpayers will have to meet ever increasing costs as we work to tackle the homelessness crisis that has been exacerbated by the rising cost of living. 

“We have to maintain the safety net for our most vulnerable residents, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of other services residents expect and rely on. So we urge the government to take urgent action and use the Spring Budget to unfreeze the subsidy cap for temporary accommodation placements from 2011 levels and help ensure the well-being of our residents.”

Richmond Council has been investing in improving temporary accommodation for individuals seeking homeless assistance and is committed to exploring innovative solutions to address the continued challenges. The Richmond Upon Thames Housing Strategy aims to alleviate housing market pressures by providing high-quality solutions for residents presenting as homeless and increasing affordable and social housing stock to ease the transition to permanent homes.

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Up to: January 2024

Updated: 31 January 2024

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