I am grateful to those constituents who have contacted me about the impact of the Local Housing Allowance freeze and acknowledge the concerns that have been raised.

Around £24 billion a year is spent to support people with their housing costs, with over £800 million in Discretionary Housing Payments provided to local authorities to help support vulnerable claimants.

Whilst there are no plans to lift the four year freeze to Local Housing Allowance rates before April 2020, the Government recognises that the impact of this measure will vary, especially in areas of high rental growth. In view of this it has made available 30 per cent of the savings to create Targeted Affordability Funding. This funding is used to increase Local Housing Allowance rates in areas where local rents have diverged the most. For example in 2017/18, 48 Local Housing Allowance rates have been increased by 3 per cent. Further Targeted Affordability Funding will be made available in 2018/19 and 2019/20.

Ultimately, the key to improving affordability in the private rented sector across England is to build more homes. Since April 2010, around 333,000 affordable homes have been delivered, including 240,000 for rent. The Government is supporting councils and housing associations to build more homes at rents that are affordable for local people through the Affordable Homes Programme 2016-2021, and I welcome the Prime Minister's recent announcement to increase the affordable housing budget by £2 billion to more than £9 billion.

In addition, the Housing White Paper, which was published in February this year, outlined an ambitious plan to help reform the housing market and increase the supply of new homes. This includes getting the right homes built in the right places, speeding up house building and diversifying the market.