West Dorset Families 'bled dry' by private rent

West Dorset Families 'bled dry' by private rent

Published by George Sharpe at 12:01am 13th July 2019.

Working families in West Dorset cannot afford to privately rent as they are forced to fork out more than a third of their wages on a typical home, new figures show.

Housing charity 'Shelter' says households in which earners are on low wages are being “bled dry" by the price of renting across much of England.

It has called on the next Prime Minster to build 3.1 million new social homes in the next 20 years to provide a sustainable solution to the housing crisis gripping the nation.

Shelter says families are being 'bled dry' by the cost of private rent in West Dorset
Shelter says families are being 'bled dry' by the cost of private rent in West Dorset

How much does the 'typical working family' earn in West Dorset?

The charity used Office for National Statistics data to work out the average combined salary of a full-time and part-time worker on low incomes .

They say the typical working family in the South West earns a combined £23,920 a year after tax.

But privately renting a two-bed home in West Dorset would cost the family £8,700 a year on average – 36.4% of their pay packet.

Meanwhile, the same-sized home at social rent rates would set them back £5,143 annually, or 21.5% of their wage.

The combined income of the average family in the South West is £23,920 a year (after tax), but over a third of that goes towards housing.
The combined income of the average family in the South West is £23,920 a year (after tax), but over a third of that goes towards housing.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said:

“Families in lower-paid jobs are having their bank balances bled dry by expensive private rents across huge swathes of the country.

“The steep decline in social housing has left a growing number of families caught in a debilitating rent trap.

“It’s disgraceful that, despite working every hour they can, many parents are now forced to rely on housing benefit to keep a roof over their children’s heads.”

Ms Neate said it makes no sense to keep “haemorrhaging billions” in housing benefit to private landlords.

She added:

“The next Prime Minister, whoever that may be, needs to realise social housing is the best cure to the affordability crisis we face.

“The delivery of 3.1 million new social homes over the next 20 years is the only way to lift millions out of housing poverty and into a stable home.”

Shelter’s analysis found that lower-income families in two-thirds of councils have to spend more than 30% of their salary on private rent.

In around a third of local authorities, this rises to more than 40% of income.

A Government spokesperson said:

“We are committed to providing good quality social housing.

“We are investing £9bn to build more affordable homes across England and have abolished councils’ borrowing cap – allowing them to build a new generation of social housing.”