Figures show a total of 13,880 housing benefit claimants in Quarter 1 of 2010 compared to 14,573 in Quarter 3 of 2013.
Mike Le-Surf, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock explained, “The Tory-led Government has made great play on the fact that they want to reduce the benefit bill and make housing a priority, so much so that together with the Liberal Democrats, they have set about introducing the pernicious bedroom tax.
“Unfortunately, these statistics are evidence of what Labour has been warning since George Osborne took charge at the Treasury; things are getting worse, not better.
“Stephen Metcalfe promised to sort this out but is missing in action”.
Gavin Callaghan, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Basildon and Billericay went on to say, “We now have 3,564 housing benefit claimants in the private rented sector compared to 2,970 before the last General Election. We know this figure will increase further when the effect of the bedroom tax is properly calculated. That means even more taxes from hardworking families in Basildon are lining the pockets of private landlords. John Baron likes to talk tough on the bedroom tax but its under his government that the benefit bill is rising”.