Poor driven out of rental London

Since March 2011 housing benefit claimants in the private sector have fallen by nearly a third in Westminster and more than a quarter in Kensington and Chelsea.

Changes to local housing allowances, which came into force in April 2011, imposed a cap on housing benefit for single people aged 25-34, ranging from £250 weekly for a one-bedroom home to £400 for a four-bedroom home.

Grainia Long, CIH chief executive: said: “The combined impact of high rents and local housing allowance reform means that poorer families are effectively being priced out of the private rented sector in some areas of London.

“To find a more affordable home people may be forced to move long distances away from where they work – which could make it difficult to hold down their job in the long term – and from their support network of family and friends.”

Claims across London and Great Britain as a whole are rising prices in the private rented sector.

Long added: “It cannot be right that some areas of the capital are becoming the exclusive preserve of the wealthy elite or that people on lower incomes are simply unable to afford to live in the places where they work.

“Increasing the number of new homes we build is vital if we are to have any hope of sustaining mixed communities.”