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'Only five families claiming £100,000 in housing benefit'

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'Only five families claiming £100,000 in housing benefit'


Published by Anonymous for in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities

'Only five families claiming £100,000 in housing benefit' 'Only five families claiming £100,000 in housing benefit'

An analysis of the Government's much-trumpeted claim that some families are receiving over £100,000 a year in housing costs has revealed that there are perhaps only five in the country doing so.

Full Fact, an independent data-checking organisation, made a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to the Department for Work Pensions (DWP) and has concluded that "it is clear from what we've unearthed that the extremely large claims highlighted in the media are also extremely rare".

Defending the Government's forthcoming benefit caps, Lord Freud, the Welfare Reform Minister, said at the National Landlords Association's annual conference on the 31 October: "Sadly this is the system we have inherited. A system that allowed some families who were living in areas with incredibly high rents, to claim over £100,000 a year in housing costs."

However, the DWP's 2010 figures suggest that four fifths of housing benefit claims were less than £100 a week (£5,200 per year), whilst 70 out of 4.5m recipients were claiming over £1000 per week, 0.001% of the total.

Full Fact says that "Even this is likely to overstate the number claiming £100,000 per year however, as a family would need to claim over £1,900 per week to hit this total. Previous FoI responses from the Department have suggested around five families benefited by this amount".

In its conclusion, Full Fact says: "While the evidence suggests that there are a small number of housing benefit claimants who pocket more than £100,000 per year - perhaps around five - these cases are very much the exception rather than the rule. Focusing exclusively on these outliers without first putting them into context, where over 80% of claims are below £100 per week, could distort the debate around this important topic."

DWP Spokesman said: "Housing Benefit needs reform as the country is currently spending around £21billion on it. It can not be right that a family can claim up to £100,000 worth of help.

"We want a system that is fair and gives people support they need with housing costs, for people in work and out of work. But it is not there to allow people to live in houses that hard working families could only dream of."


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