Private rent costs low income families in Welwyn Hatfield spend nearly 50 per cent of their income

PUBLISHED: 08:20 10 July 2019

Privatly renting a two-bedroom house for low-income families is largely unaffordable in the East of England

Privatly renting a two-bedroom house for low-income families is largely unaffordable in the East of England

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A working family on a low income in Welwyn Hatfield would have to spend 47.3 per cent of their income to privately rent an average two-bedroom house, according to research by homelessness charity Shelter.

The table of data collected by ShelterThe table of data collected by Shelter

Findings show that in 87 per cent of areas in the East of England, a working family on a low wage could not afford to privately rent a typical home without turning to housing benefits.

The combined salary after tax and National Insurance for working families in lower paid jobs - with one adult working full-time and another part - was calculated to be £24,717 per year in the East of England.

The annual median private rent for a two-bedroom house in Welwyn Hatfield is £11,700, whereas the equivilant annual social rent is only £5,662 - 22.9 per cent of the average income.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: "Families in lower-paid jobs are having their bank balances bled dry by the high cost of private rents in many parts of this region.

"The steep decline in social housing across the England has left growing numbers of families caught in a debilitating 'rent-trap'.

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

"It makes no sense to continue haemorrhaging billions of pounds in housing benefit to private landlords, when the government could support families in the East of England and beyond by investing in a sustainable, long-term solution to the housing emergency instead.

"Social housing is the best cure to the affordability crisis we face."

Additional analysis of rent costs for families with only one full-time worker on a low wage proved even more shocking.

No matter where they move to in the region, a family living off one low wage would be forced to spend more than a third of their take-home pay on rent.

In 26 areas - 55 percent of the region - this rises to more than half their salary after tax and NI.

In stark contrast to private renting, social rents were found to be 100 per cent affordable for working families on low wages across the East of England.

Shelter used the widely accepted 30 per cent rule, setting an affordable level of rent as below 30 per cent of a household's take-home pay.

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