There are more claimants in the South West London borough than anywhere else in the UK.
The number of working families on housing benefit in Croydon has soared by 1,100% since May 201, new figures from the House of Commons Library revealed today.
The Labour-funded research shows a national 59% increase, with Croydon showing the greatest rise, from 1,051 up to 12,610 working claimants – the most in the UK.
The figures, which show that the extra claimants will cost taxpayers £5billion by the 2015 election, are being used to criticise the coalition government’s housing policies.
“These shocking figures in Croydon expose the complete failure of David Cameron’s government to control housing benefit spending,” said Shadow Housing Minister, Emma Reynolds.
“David Cameron’s failure to tackle the shortage of homes in London means the cost of housing is rising out of reach of low-to-middle-income earners.”
Steve Reed, Labour MP for Croydon North, accused conservatives of forcing working people into poverty.
He tweeted: “A 1,100% increase in the number of working households forced onto benefits is a scandalous indictment of govt failure.”
The news comes as wages have failed to match the rise in rents across the country, and in Croydon particularly, leaving 1 in 25 in need of benefits despite employment.
Mr Reed went on to lay the blame on welfare reforms having pushed poor people into Croydon combined with the borough’s housing shortage.
Ms Reynolds and Rachel Reeves, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, visited in Croydon this morning answering questions on Labour’s housing plans.
A Department of Work and Pensions spokesman told The Independent: “The truth is that the housing benefit bill was spiralling out of control in the years up to 2010, doubling to £20 billion in a decade.
“Action this Government has taken is bringing that bill under control – saving the taxpayer over £2 billion a year. Contrary to these figures, we have seen the number of housing benefit claimants fall over the last quarter.
Photo courtesy of Green Alliance, with thanks.
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