More social housing could save councils nearly £600m a year on housing support

By William Eichler | 18 October 2021

A new study has calculated that councils could save millions of pounds if money spent on housing support was invested in building homes in the social rented sector.

The study by the Chartered Institute of Housing and the Centre for Homelessness Impact found that building 10,000 homes a year in the social rented sector would cost the Government around £40m a year but could save £44m annually in housing subsidies if the homes were used to house tenants currently in private rented housing or temporary accommodation.

It found the Government could save £1.9bn a year by moving recipients of housing benefit or Universal Credit from private rented accommodation to social rented housing while also making low income households less vulnerable to homelessness

The report found that councils could save £572m a year if they were able to use social rented housing for the 73,700 lettings they currently use in the private rented sector for households at risk of homelessness.

It estimated that moving each benefit claimant out of private rented accommodation and into social rented accommodation would save about £1,100 per year in benefit payments.

Moving each family in temporary accommodation into social rented accommodation would save about £7,760 per year.

Chief executive officer of the Centre for Homelessness Impact, Lígia Teixeira, said: ‘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.'

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