Section 4: Welfare Benefits and Universal Credit

Housing Benefit (HB) and Council Tax Support (CTS)

Table 4.1:

Caseloads Sep 2019 Sep 2020 Sep 2021 Sep 2022 Annual Change  2022-2021
Total CTS Claimants** 63,200 67,029 65,137 63,332 -1,805
Total HB Claimants 48,095 41,259 36,824 33,224 -3,600
Total combined caseload for HB&CTS*** 68,171 70,818 68,991 66,586 -2,405
Expenditure 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22 Annual Change 2021/22 -2020/21
CTS claimed £49.1m £50.1m £55.6m £55.4m -£133,544
HB claimed £246.2m £207.5m £189.6m £175.5m -£14.1m
Source: LCC Welfare Benefits, Jan 2023
** An ongoing decrease in CTS Cases was reversed by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic when job losses, furlough and decreased working hours caused many people to claim CTS.
*** Where a customer receives both HB & CTS, this will count as one claim (to avoid double counting). Similarly if a claim has only HB, it is counted as one claim, or if a claim is receiving CTS only, this would count as one claim

63,332 households claimed Council Tax Support (CTS) in Sep 2022. The number of claims for CTS decreased by 1,805 in the last year.  33,224 households claimed Housing Benefit (HB) in Sep 2022. The number of HB claims fell by 3,600 in the year from Sep 2021 to Sep 2022. Combined in 2022, there were 66,586 households in Leeds requiring at least one local authority benefit.

The caseloads for CTS in Sep 2022 resulted in expenditure for Sept 2021/22 of £55.4m across Leeds. The caseloads for HB in Sep 2022 resulted in expenditure for Sept 2021/22 of £175.5m across Leeds. This figure fell by £14.1m in the last 12 months.

HB Case numbers continue to decrease due to the “Natural Migration” to Universal Credit for Working Age HB Claims.

Welfare Reform Impacts on Housing Benefits

Table 4.2:

Housing Benefit Sep-21 Sep-22 Annual Change  *
No of claims affected by the Benefit Cap 312 163 -149
Total weekly reduction (due to Benefit Cap) £14,937.03 £7,319.04 -£7,617.99
Source: LCC Welfare Benefits monthly reporting January 2023

The overall number of households affected in Leeds by the Benefit Cap was 163 in September 2022. The total weekly reduction for claims affected by the Benefit Cap in Leeds was £7,319.04.  This means an overall average of £44.90 is being reduced across the 163 households in Leeds.

* The falling numbers of HB claims affected by the cap are not necessarily a decrease in those affected by the Benefit Cap, and can instead be attributed to claims moving from Housing Benefit to Universal Credit. Once the claim for Housing Benefit has ended, the local authority no longer have access to details of how/if these cases are affected by Welfare Reform.

To put this change of numbers in to perspective, in September 2018, the total Housing Benefit caseload was 59,290, but by the most recent caseload count as of September 2022 this has decreased to 33,224.

Welfare Reform Impacts on Council Tax 

Table 4.3

Council Tax Sep-19 Sep-18 Annual Change
No of claims affected by the localised council tax support 12,949 19,085 -6,136
Weekly loss of benefit for claims affected by CTS £51,063 £71,161 -20,098
CT liability of claims prev in receipt of full CTB £3,852,331 £3,299,680 552,651
Source: LCC Welfare Benefits monthly reporting September 2019

12,949 households, who would previously have had full council tax support, now have to pay 25% of their council tax.  The number of claims to CTS has fallen by 6136 on the previous year.

In total, the 12949 households have effectively lost £51,063 of their weekly benefit.  This is an average loss of £3.94 a week to each of these households.

The 12949 households now liable to pay 25% of their council tax bill pay a total of £3.8m.  This is an average of £298 owed per year in Council Tax by each of these households.

Universal Credit 

Table 4.4

October 2022 Not in employment In employment Total on UC Not in employment In employment
Leeds 43,819 28,886 72,701 60% 40%
GB 3,449,303 2,277,834 5,727,139 60% 40%
Source: DWP Universal Credit Statistics, January 2023

In October 2022, there were 72,701 UC claimants in Leeds, 43,819 were not in work (60%) and 28,886 were in work (40%). The Leeds rate matches the national picture where 40% of all UC claimants were in work.

Further Information: Universal Credit

Universal Credit (UC) is a change to the benefits system which provides a single payment based upon the circumstances of the household. UC is now a means-tested benefit which means it is available to people who are in work and on a low income, as well as to those who are out-of-work. Support for housing costs, children and childcare costs are integrated into UC. It also provides additions for disabled people and carers. Claimants will receive a single monthly household payment, paid into a bank account in the same way as a monthly salary; support with housing costs will usually go direct to the claimant as part of their monthly payment.

UC went live in Leeds on 1st February 2016. Initially, the only groups of people that will make a claim for UC are newly unemployed singles who would have previously claimed JSA.  Roll out to other groups of people will started in Leeds from October 2018.  The following benefits will be replaced as UC rolls out in stages across the country:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit