Exclusive: So-called 'in-work poverty' soars by 59% under Coalition as more people with jobs are forced to claim housing benefit

Figures reveal extra £5bn cost to taxpayer by next election as wages fail to match rising rents

Political Editor

The number of people in work and claiming housing benefit has rocketed by 59 per cent since the Coalition came to power and will cost taxpayers an extra £5 billion by next year’s general election.

The figures, compiled by the House of Commons Library, highlight the growth of “in-work poverty” in recent years while wages fell in real terms and rents continued to rise. They also undermine claims by some Conservatives that benefit claimants are “skivers” because many people qualify for state help even though they are in jobs.

The number of housing benefit claimants in work rose from 650,561 in May 2010 to 1.03 million by the end of last year. The Commons Library estimates the cost of the extra claims at £4.8 billion by May 2015. In England, the number of in-work claimants has increased from 586,181 to 936,964 since 2010. In Scotland, the number jumped from 40,447 to 61,856 over the same period and in Wales from 23,923 to 38,003.

The Library calculated the amount spent on in-work housing benefit will rise from £3.4 billion in the 2010-11 financial year to £5.1 billion in 2014-15, making a total of £21.9 billion over the five-year parliament ending at next year’s election.

Labour, which commissioned the research, seized on the findings as evidence that the Government had failed to keep a lid on housing benefit despite bringing in controversial measures such as the so-called “bedroom tax” and a £26,000-a-year cap on benefits for one family.

Writing on The Independent’s website, Rachael Reeves, the shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, and Emma Reynolds, Labour’s housing spokeswoman, said: “This year the Government will be spending £1.4 billion more on housing benefit than in 2010. This increase is being driven by the huge rise in people in work needing to claim housing benefit because they can’t make ends meet. Far from, ‘getting to grips’ with housing benefit the Government has completely lost control… People used to think that if you were in work you should be able to save for a home. Now increasing numbers of working people can’t even afford their rent without help from the state.”

The areas with the biggest increase in claimants by working families include Croydon (up by 1,100 per cent); Fareham (883 per cent); Uttlesford (840 per cent) and Boston (103 per cent).

A Department of Work and Pensions spokesman said: “The truth is that the housing benefit bill was spiralling out of control in the years up to 2010, doubling to £20 billion in a decade. Action this Government has taken is bringing that bill under control - saving the taxpayer over £2 billion a year. Contrary to these figures, we have seen the number of housing benefit claimants fall over the last quarter. The removal of the spare room subsidy alone is saving £1 million a day and means the taxpayer is no longer paying for around 820,000 spare rooms in the social rented sector.”

He added: “This Government has also taken action to help hardworking people by increasing the tax-free personal allowance, freezing fuel-duty, cutting energy bills, and introducing free school meals and tax free childcare.”

The DWP announced that in the first year of the benefit ceiling’s operation, more than 100 people a week found jobs after their state payments were capped. Almost 6,000 “capped households” have seen someone moved into work, while more than 42,000 households have had their payments capped at £26,000. More than 1,000 saw their benefits cut by more than £200 a week.

scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £550 - £650

£550 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Traded Credit Risk - Investmen...

Data Insight Manager - Marketing

£32000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based o...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux, Redhat, Solaris, SAN, Puppet

£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL, MSMQ, SQL, GIT, SQ...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape