Family incomes are on the rise in most of the region, official figures show – but at a slower pace than in most of the country.
Household disposable income per head crept up by just 0.8 per cent in the North-East between 2012 and 2013, below the one per cent rise across the United Kingdom.
And the North-East was left in the slow lane by both Scotland (up two per cent) and the West Midlands (up 2.3 per cent) as the economy bounced back, as well as by Yorkshire (up 1.4 per cent).
But households in London and the South-East (both up 0.6 per cent) saw incomes grow more slowly – even though overall growth was far higher than in the North-East in both areas.
The statistics also reveal striking local variations in the changes in gross disposable household income (GDHI), the amount available for spending or saving after taxes and benefits.
Incomes grew sharply in Darlington (3.5 per cent) and South Teesside (2.6 per cent) and were also up in North Yorkshire (two per cent) and Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees (1.9 per cent).
But growth was more sluggish in County Durham (1.3 per cent) – and fell markedly in both Sunderland (3.1 per cent) and York (3.3 per cent).
In Westminster, the average GDHI was £42,221 in 2013 – almost three times the figure of £14,659 in County Durham and the highest of 173 local areas analysed.
And incomes in Kensington and Chelsea/Hammersmith and Fulham (£42,116), Camden and City of London (£37,324) and Wandsworth (£35,237) were not far behind.
Matt Whittaker, chief economist at the Resolution Foundation think-tank, said:
“Regional inequalities have fallen since the crash, but the gap between the South East and the UK is stark.”
Experts believe disposal income – the amount people have to spend after the bills have been paid – is the best measure of the economic confidence of families and individuals.
Greedy private landlords are raking in billions of pounds of public money in housing benefits payments, new research shows.
Freedom of Information Requests by the GMB union reveal that private landlords received a staggering £9,296 billion in housing benefit in 2013/14.
GMB says this abuse of Britain’s welfare system has been allowed to go on for far too long. Millionaire landlords are exploiting low-income families in need of housing and who could otherwise be left homeless.
There are 4.2 million households living in private rented accommodation in Britain. 1.59 million of these (38%) pay part or all of their rent using housing benefit.
More people now rent privately than from councils and housing associations. The switch away from cheaper social housing to the more expensive private sector has resulted in an increase in private tenants claiming housing benefit.
The Conservatives have pledged to open up social housing to buy-to-let private landlords. This could reduce an already dwindling social housing stock and further increase the housing benefit bill.
GMB has named and shamed twenty private landlords abusing Britain’s welfare system. These include:
- Private landlord Mr Mohammed Taj was paid £3,219,858 of taxpayer’s money direct as housing benefits by Watford in 2013/14.
- Investing Solutions Ltd was paid £2,239,915 by Merton, Brent, Lambeth, Hammersmith and Fulham, Ealing and Wandsworth councils.
- Thorney Bay Park Ltd was paid £1,924,226 by Castle Point council in 2013/14.
- Mr Alastair Kerr was paid £1,616,951 by Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham and Hounslow in 2013/14.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said:
“This research lifts the lid on the mainly secret payments to landlords who are the real winners from Britain’s welfare system.
“We see taxpayers cash subsidising buy-to-let empires with £9.2 billion of hard earned taxpayer’s cash paid into private landlords’ bank accounts – much of it ending up in tax havens.
“The abuse of housing benefit by private landlords has gone on for too long.
“Millionaires take sackloads of cash for exploiting those in housing need or stuck on low pay. It’s incredible that the Tories want to extend this billions pound rip off.
“It’s time to close the offshore tax dodgers charter, cap rents and use the billions being sucked up by property speculator landlords to build affordable homes for people again.”
Source – Welfare Weekly, 28 Apr 2015