Citizens Advice report launch 2023

A major new report by the University of Plymouth and local Citizens Advice services has shone a spotlight on the damaging effects of the government’s three-year freeze on Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates for local private sector renters.
The report, Sometimes I Sit on the Sofa and Cry, tells the stories of local people struggling to keep up with soaring rents and eviction notices.
It also contains suggestions to help ease the crisis, including an increase in LHA, an emergency cap on rents and provision of more affordable homes.
The research (which focused on the South Hams, Plymouth and SE Cornwall) found that average rents in the area have been outstripping the level of LHA support since 2015 but the gap has now grown to 12%.
The increase in people facing eviction has also led to big increases in bills for temporary accommodation for local authorities.
In Cornwall, the figure has risen from £9.5 million in 2020/21 to £18.4million in 2022/23 while for South Hams District Council, the figure has risen from £115k to £476k in the same period.
The report is the result of a collaboration between local Citizens Advice charities in the South Hams, Plymouth and Cornwall and the Plymouth Business School. It was funded following a successful bid to the University’s Get Involved Awards 2024 programme.
Dr Nigel Jackson, Associate Professor in the Plymouth Business School, work on the report with colleagues Dr Mike Sheaff and Dr Carl Evans.

From the outside, many people may look at Devon and Cornwall and perceive them as being relatively affluent. However, there are thousands of people having to make very difficult financial choices every day as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads. By speaking to people experiencing housing challenges, the organisations supporting them and the local housing sector, this project has shone a spotlight on the pressing need for collective action to address this.

Nigel JacksonNigel Jackson
Associate Professor (Reader) in Persuasion and Communication

This report shows the urgent need for action as more and more people in our region face long waits in temporary accommodation or homelessness. We know that second homes and holiday lets are putting pressure on the private rental market just when food, fuel and energy inflation is putting unsustainable pressure on many people’s household incomes.

Janie Moor
Chief Executive, Citizens Advice South Hams

Citizens Advice report launch 2023
Citizens Advice report launch 2023
Citizens Advice report launch 2023

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