Housing benefit claims almost double in town

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The number of employed people claiming housing benefit in Rotherham has almost doubled, according to ‘shocking’ new figures.

There were 3,316 workers in the town claiming the benefit in November last year, compared to 1,727 in 2010 - an increase of 92 per cent.

Sarah Champion, the MP for Rotherham, said: “I am shocked and saddened to hear that the cost of living crisis has become so bad that hundreds of hard-working local people are now reliant on housing benefit just to keep a roof over their heads.

“Since 2010 working people are, on average, £1,600 a year worse off as wages have fallen while prices have soared. It can’t be right that ordinary people who do the right thing and go to work have to rely on housing benefit.”

Nationally, the number of employees claiming housing benefit has risen by 60 per cent during the same time period.

The figures were released by the House of Commons library and based on average monthly claimant data.

Ms Champion also said people in Rotherham ‘wanted action’ and she was ‘proud’ of Labour proposals that the party would build more homes and strengthen the national minimum wage.

Star readers said the rise was down to an increase in rents or mortgage costs, the low wages paid by firms, and also funding cuts from Government.

Catherine Hart wrote on The Star’s Facebook page: “Rents are rising far faster than wages, and people working full-time on minimum wage cannot support a household without benefits.”

Angela Lane said the reason was ‘benefit cuts by this cruel government’.

But Andrew Hart said: “People are not taking responsibility for themselves.”