The number of housing benefit claimants is rising, and thus so is the cost to the Treasury, data from the Department for Work and Pensions shows. The number of people claiming housing benefit has increased by a startling 780,000 since the beginning of 2009 to 5 million.
There are a couple of small rays of light for the government.
Firstly, the rate of increase in claimants has slowed since the general election in May 2010.
“Oh we do like to be beside the seaside, oh we do like to be beside the sea”, as the classic English music-hall song goes. But for many people, that’s no longer the case. British seaside towns – once the bastion of the country’s summer economy – now have the nation’s highest levels of insolvency, according to a data analysis by the Office for National Statistics.
Four of the five highest rates of insolvencies in 2011 (per 10,000 adult population) were areas containing seaside towns, and they make up just under half of the top 20.