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Single room rent - the case for abolition

21 December 2006
Benefits and tax credits evidence cover

Single room rent [ 74 kb]

Young people aged under 25 have long faced discrimination in the benefits system.  Whilst claimants aged 25 and over are assumed to need £57.45 per week to cover day to day living costs such as food, fuel and clothing, under 25s are entitled to only £45.50.  They are also excluded from the working tax credit.  This discrimination is compounded for single under 25s renting in the private sector, by restricting their housing benefit (HB) to the average local rent for shared accommodation - known as the single room rent (SRR).

  • 87 per cent of all SRR claimants faced a shortfall between what they receive in HB and what they pay in rent, averaging £35.14 per week.  This is over double the shortfall faced by other claimants.
  • There is a shortage of accommodation available to under 25s which meets the SRR definition.
  • Charities working with young homeless people are unable to move people on to appropriate accommodation because of the impact of the SRR.
  • The SRR puts young people at greater risk of social and financial exclusion, making it more difficult for them to find and sustain employment.

It is therefore essential that the Welfare Reform Bill is amended to abolish the SRR under 25s restriction in the local housing allowance (LHA).

Single room rent [ 74 kb]