Demand for housing help increased by more than 30% in Birmingham

Applications for help with housing payments in the city have increased by 34 per cent

The number of people needing help to pay rent has soared by a third in Birmingham.

Applications for help with housing payments in the city have increased by 34 per cent, reflecting the growing hardship faced by people during the cost of living crisis.

Applications for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) in Birmingham jumped from 8,038 in 2020/21 to 10,822 in 2021/22, BirminghamWorld found through a Freedom of Information request.

Birmingham City Council House

DHPs provide financial support to help with rent or housing costs, and people can apply for it if they are already on housing benefit or get the housing element of Universal Credit and need more support with housing costs.

Of the 8,038 applications in 2020/21 to Birmingham City Council, 7,753 were approved in either part of full. In 2021/22, 10,061 claims were approved in either part or full.

Of the 772 applications the Council refused in 2021/22, 220 had no shortfall in rent while 169 had no hardship and 158 of them did not receive any housing benefit or Council Tax Support, making them ineligible.

The refusal rate for DHPs doubled from 3.5% in 2020/21 to 7% in 2021/22 in Birmingham. Meanwhile, the approval rate came down from 96.4% to 92.4% even as it increased in numbers.

The average amount paid was £408.60 in 2020/21 and it jumped to £422.30 the next year. This amount is awarded for each application and not to each household (i.e. threesuccessive awards to one household count as three separate awards), the council explained. So, one household could have received multiple awards.

PM’s Energy Bill Rescue Plan

Prime Minister Liz Truss.

Prime Minister Liz Truss announced her Energy Bill Rescue Plan today (September 8) capping electricity and gas bills to £2,500 a year for normal households from October. It had been predicted to go up to £3,549 from October.

The high energy bills are a huge concern to households and small businesses. Independent businesses in many neighbourhoods fear for their future while food banks have also seen a rise in people needing their services.

Ms Truss added that the energy bill price cap does not include the £400 support households will receive.

“I promised I would deal with soaring energy prices. Today I’m delivering on that promise,” Ms Truss said.

The price gap will be paid for by the government and a new energy supply taskforce has been set up.

“The way we are going to defray the cost is first of all by ramping up supply,” she said. The new prime minister added that the ban on fracking was lifted to increase domestic energy supply.

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