The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has hit back at accusations made by Jeremy Corbyn in his Labour conference speech that private landlords are being subsidised by more than £9bn of housing benefit.
Corbyn attacked the Tory government’s record on housing and slammed the fact that official figures show that private landlords pocketed in the region of £9.3bn in housing benefit last year – double the amount they received a decade ago.
The Labour leader (right) said: “Look what’s happened to housing under the Tories: housebuilding has fallen to its lowest level since the 1920s; home ownership is falling as more people are priced out of the market; evictions and homelessness go up every year; council homes are sold off without being replaced.
“And another consequence is that we’re paying over £9bna year to private landlords in housing benefit.
“Instead of spending public money on building council housing, we’re subsidising private landlords. That’s wasteful, inefficient, and poor government.”
But the RLA defended private landlords and the role that the private rented sector plays in providing people with much needed housing in this country. It was also quick to point out that total housing benefit spending for social rented tenants in 2014/15 hit £15.2bn, which was significantly more than the amount paid for those residing in the private rented sector, despite the private rental market being larger.
The RLA’s policy director, David Smith, said: “Millions of tenants rely on housing benefit in both the private and the social housing sectors, but proportionately far more is spent on social housing tenants than those in private accommodation.
“With the private rental market having doubled in size since 2002, it is inevitable that more housing benefit claimants will be living in the sector.”