Northampton families are having to give up more than a quarter of their weekly shops in order to pay rent, according to Crisis

On average, families who receive housing benefits in the town are left with more than £21 left to pay of their rent

Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 3:51 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 3:52 pm
Some families who receive housing benefits are left with considerably less money to spend on food once they have paid for rent that isn't covered.

New statistics have revealed that families in Northampton on housing benefits are having to sacrifice more than a quarter of their weekly food shops in order to pay the remainder of a their rent.

Crisis, a charity for homeless people, has researched the amount of money families are having to take out of their food budget to pay for the left over rent that isn't covered by housing benefit.

In Northampton, families are missing out on an astonishing 36 per cent of their weekly food shop in order to make sure their rent is paid in full.

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This figure is based on the national average cost of a weekly food shop, the average rent in the area and the housing benefit rate.

The average rent for a two bedroom property in the cheapest third of the housing market in Northampton is £155.34 per week.

But families who receive housing benefits will, on average, only be paid £134.00.

This is a shortfall of £21.34, which according to Crisis, is most likely to come out of the food budget for the family.

The national average cost of a weekly food shop for a family of four is £59, meaning a family on housing benefits will be left with only £37.66 per week to spend on food.

This is a 36 per cent decrease in money available for food due to the price of rent and shortfall of benefit payment.

As a result of this, the charity is now calling on the Government to increase investment in housing benefit.

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive at Crisis, said: "A safe and stable home is fundamental to our dignity and humanity. But every day, we hear of people becoming homeless or being pushed to the brink of losing the roof over their heads because of the constant pressure of trying to cover the cost of their rent.

"Paying the rent means families have no option but to make huge sacrifices on other basic necessities. We cannot let this continue.

"Housing benefit is an important tool and could be the quickest and most effective way to prevent homelessness, but due to years of cuts and freezes it simply does not cover people's rent.

"With the right policies and investment, we can end homelessness.

"We urge the new Government to act now and invest in housing benefit."