The London's Poverty Profile website uses cookies to give you the best possible experience. By continuing, we will assume you are happy to receive all cookies on the website. More information on cookies can be found on our privacy page.

Housing benefit claimants in London

Key points

  • The number of housing benefit claimants in London peaked in 2013 at 850,000 and has fallen to 820,000 in 2015.
  • The number of workless claimants in both social and private rented housing peaked in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
  • In London there are now more working claimants in private rented accommodation than workless ones.

Housing benefit claimants in London

What does the graph show?

This graph looks at changes to claims in housing benefit, a means-tested benefit which helps people meet their rent costs. While those claiming an out-of-work benefit are automatically entitled to housing benefit, it can also be claimed by people in work and pensioners.

The number of housing benefit claimants in London rose throughout the 2000s which is not surprising given the increase in the population and the increase in rented tenures. The graph shows how this has changed since 2010. The number of housing benefit claimants in London peaked in 2013 at 850,000 and has fallen to 820,000 in 2015. The social rented sector accounted for 560,000 claimants at the start of 2015 with the private rented sector at 270,000, with the number in both tenures slightly lower than the 2013 peak. While the 420,000 workless social renting claimants accounted for half of all housing benefit claimants in 2015, 140,000 were aged over 65.

But the more dramatic shift has been in the number of housing benefit claimants that are in work. The number of workless claimants in both social and private rented housing peaked in 2010 and 2011 respectively, but the number of working claimants continues to grow, reaching 130,000 for social renters and 140,000 for private renters in 2015. In London there are now more working claimants in private rented accommodation than workless ones. This is distinct to the capital where half of private renting claimants are working compared with a third in the rest of England.

There has also been a geographical shift in housing benefit claimants within London. Falls have been greater in Inner London where the figure has dropped by 4.4% since 2013. In the Outer East and Northeast and in the Outer South it fell by 3%; but in the Outer West and Northwest it only fell by 0.6%. So a growing share of housing benefit claimants reside in Outer London, particularly the Outer West and Northwest. While this is an important trend these shifts are relatively small compared with the total numbers; in 2010 just under half of claimants lived in Outer London (48%) in 2015 it was just over half (51%).

Data used

Stat Xplore, DWP.

Indicator last updated: 19 October 2015