OFFICIAL figures released at the end of this summer have shown that the “in-work” housing benefits bill has more than doubled to £4.6 billion since the Tory-led coalition came to power, as people struggle to survive in austerity Britain.

Estimates, based on House of Commons data, show the total cost of housing benefit payments to people who are in work will rise even further to £6 billion by 2018.

Since the coalition came to power, the number of working people dependent on housing benefit to top up their low incomes has grown to 962,000.

Predictions forecast that this will rise again to 1,238,000 by 2018.

The large rise in the number of working people claiming housing benefit is due to the Conservative-led coalition government’s failure to tackle low pay, insecure work and the cost-of-living crisis.

Hundreds of thousands of more people are now forced to rely on housing benefit to make ends meet, because they are stuck on a low wage.

With high rents and millions of workers on poverty pay, it is clear that until housing becomes more affordable the taxpayer will have to continue to pay housing benefit to top up low incomes.

Despite David Cameron’s rhetoric about making work pay, the ugly truth is that work doesn’t pay for many in coalition Britain.

Britain’s workers definitely need a pay rise but housing costs that are crippling for many, will not fall unless the housing shortage is addressed.

That means building more decent, affordable social housing available to all on low incomes and an end to rip-off rents in the private rented sector with a fair rent for all.

Dr Adrian Heald Labour PPC for Crewe & Nantwich