Building social homes for thousands of families living in temporary accommodation or on housing benefit could still cost less than the eye-watering amounts being paid into the private sector, the government has been told.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak could save almost £2bn a year by moving housing benefit and universal credit claimants out of costly private rentals, according to a new report from the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and the Centre for Homelessness Impact (CHI).
The lack of social housing stock is a major factor in the housing crisis, but the report found the savings made could comfortably fund the building of more social homes.
Building 10,000 homes a year in the social rented sector would cost central government around £40m a year, but could save £44m a year in subsidising housing costs to cover private rents or temporary accommodation.
The findings come just weeks after the government removed the £20 universal credit increase introduced during the pandemic – despite widespread warnings of rising homelessness – and just over a week before Sunak is set to lay out his fiscal plans at the spending review.
From just £3 per week
“We should ask hard questions about whether the very large sums paid in benefits to subsidise the housing costs of people on low incomes are being used in the most effective way,” said Dr Ligia Teixeira, chief executive officer, Centre for Homelessness Impact.