Latest government figures show that half of all the families who live within the private rented sector now receive support from the government either via housing benefit or Universal Credit (UC) to pay their landlord.
DWP figures show that 910,000 families are now in the position, an increase of 23% since the Covid pandemic arrived in the UK.
Tenant lobbying group Generation Rent says that a fifth of these families live in more expensive properties that fall outside the Local Housing Allowance system, which only pays out based on the cheapest 30% of homes in any area. This means 378,000 families face a rent shortfall and are having to cut down on essentials or get into debt to make up the difference.
Also, many families will not get the full LHA because of the benefit cap, which places an upper limit on the amount that working age claimants who are out of work can receive.
Generation Rent says that, although many UC claimants have been exempt from the benefit cap, this exception is due to expire just before Christmas.
The group is calling on Sunak to commit more support to private renters by raising Local Housing Allowance, scrapping the benefit cap, and clearing rent arrears brought about by the pandemic.
“With so many private renters now reliant on it, the Government must ensure the benefits system covers housing costs,” Alicia Kennedy (pictured), Director of Generation Rent, told inews.
“Everyone deserves the security of a home they can afford while we recover from the economic impact of coronavirus.”