New research by homelessmess charity Shelter suggests the Government’s proposed changes to Housing Benefit will halve the number of neighbourhoods affordable to claimants in London.
In June the coalition government set out plans to cap the level of housing benefit by introducing a cap based on property size. Under the new rules the maximum any household will be paid is £400 per week.
Shelter’s research, conducted by the University of Cambridge, suggests that 75% of London neighbourhoods are currently affordable to people receiving help with their rent.
However researchers says the Government’s proposed changes will see this figure drop to 36% by 2016, potentially displacing o affecting 160,000 households.
According to the research, London boroughs which will remain “largely affordable” include Hillingdon, Hounslow, Enfield and Waltham Forest, Newham, Barking, Lewisham, Bexley and parts of Croydon.
Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb warned that “tens of thousands of households [will be] priced out of their homes and communities, creating concentrations of poverty across the city and adding to the already significant levels of homelessness and overcrowding in the city.”
The charity says the effect of such displacement “could change the make-up of London for decades to come.”
Mr Robb said the charity “supports reform of housing benefit” but said “cuts on this scale are going to have a devastating economic and social impact on London and we urge the government to urgently rethink them.”
Last month Mayor of London Boris Johnson criticised the proposed changes, likening them to “social cleansing”, before distancing himself from his own comments and accusing journalists of taking his words out of context.