Thousands more Sheffield workers claiming housing benefit

Labour leader Ed Milliband in Ilkeston.
Labour leader Ed Milliband in Ilkeston.
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‘Low wages and high rents’ are forcing thousands more working people to rely on housing benefit, Labour leader Ed Miliband has said.

The Doncaster North MP spoke after figures showed Sheffield had seen a 116 per cent increase in working people claiming the benefit in the last five years.

Working claimants in the city rose from 3,697 in May 2010, to 7,969 in August 2014, according to Government figures.

Mr Miliband told The Star: “It is low wages and high rents making more people claim the benefits and the answer to that is to raise the minimum wage and deal with the rents by building more homes, and actually saying we are not going to allow the private landlords to rip people off.”

Across the country the rise in the number of housing benefit claimants has gone up by an average of 66 per cent, with some politicians arguing that it is because more people are now in employment as the economy recovers.

Mr Miliband told The Star they showed there was an economic recovery which ‘might have reached the city of London but hasn’t reached the kitchen table.’

He said the party wanted to stop landlords from being able to ‘jack up rents without proper notice and threaten to throw people out of their homes.’

In Rotherham, the number of people claiming the benefit has risen from 1,727 to 3,697 - an increase of 110 per cent.

Former housing minister John Healey, who represents Wentworth and Dearne, said annual wages in the town had fallen by £4,000 a year since 2010.

He said: “These figures show David Cameron has completely failed to curb spending on housing benefit.

“He has made life a misery for people on low incomes by cutting entitlements back to the bone but the housing benefit bill has continued to rise.”