In the year to May 2016, housing benefit (HB) claimant numbers fell by 3.4% within Great Britain to 4,681,714 claimants. In the Lancashire-14 area, the number declined by 4.8% to 105,821. Claimants moving over to universal credit is having an impact on the reduction.
Yearly percentage reductions in the number of housing benefit claimants were in excess of the -3.4% recorded in Great Britain in every authority in the Lancashire-14 area, ranging from -3.9% in Blackpool, to -7.5% in Burnley. This may be a result of the North West being the first region where the universal credit system was rolled out in the second half of 2014.
The greatest numeric reductions in housing benefit claimants in the Lancasire-14 area over the previous year were registered in Blackpool (-752), Burnley (-653), Blackburn with Darwen (-571), Lancaster (-532), Preston (-461) and West Lancashire borough (416). The lowest numeric reductions were recorded in Rossendale (-199), Fylde district (-194) and Ribble Valley (-133).
Housing Benefit can be reduced if claimants live in council or social housing and have a spare bedroom.
In May 2016 there were 432,363 housing benefit claimants in Great Britain, or 9.2% of the total number of housing benefit claimants, who had had the spare room subsidy reduction applied. The average amount of the reduction for Great Britain was £15.21.
The spare room subsidy withdrawal affected 7,395 (7.0%) housing benefit claimants across the Lancashire-14 area. Blackpool had by far the largest number of HB recipients in the Lancashire-14 area, but it also had the smallest proportion (2.5%) who were affected by the spare room subsidy. This was because over 70% of its claimants rent privately, so the subsidy does not apply.
West Lancashire (13.4%), Blackburn with Darwen (10.3%), Preston (10.0%) and Chorley (9.9%) had percentages in excess of the GB percentage average (9.2%) of HB claimants affected by the spare room subsidy.
Blackburn with Darwen (1,232), Preston (1,095), West Lancashire (877), Chorley (569), Burnley (530) and Lancaster (519) had the greatest number of HB claimants who had had the spare room reduction applied. Fylde (186) and Ribble Valley (110) had the lowest numbers.
The full report, which can be downloaded via the further analysis link below, contains related data tables and background information.
Page updated September 2016