The average rent in Eastbourne is more than a third of people’s pay, according to a new study.
Those with two bedroom apartments pay on average 33.8 per cent of their earnings towards rent – well above the national average of 26 per cent – according to statistics from 2015/16.
The study, by the GMB, shows the average rent in the town has risen to £750 a month, compared with £675 in 2011.
This comes as part of the study covering the south east of the country, with Brighton topping the list of most expensive places to live with an average of £1,100 a month going towards rent.
In the South East as a whole, workers are paying out 32.9 per cent of their earnings on rent, up from 28.7 per cent in 2011.
The union is calling for local authorities to fix the problem by building more homes ‘without delay’.
Paul Maloney, GMB Southern regional secretary, said, “These figures demonstrate the extent of the squeeze felt by workers and their families in the South East since the financial crisis in 2008. Rents have surged upwards as pay has been stagnant or falling.
“They show that a massive programme to build more homes, especially homes for rent, by the South East authorities is absolutely essential in all parts of the region and has to get underway without delay.
“We have been talking about this problem for far too long, there can be no excuses for not providing housing to people that they can afford to live in on average wages.
“The decisions of the Thatcher government in the 1980s to sell council housing stock, and not replace it, and to pay landlords housing benefit instead of providing social housing directly has been a huge and expensive mistake.
“Last year, for example, £24 billion was spent on housing benefit, with much of this public money ending up untaxed in bank accounts in offshore tax havens.
“If a fraction of that amount had been spent on social housing for rent, the strain on the tax payer would be less and people would have housing they can afford to live in.
“These mistakes need to be corrected without delay, fair and affordable housing is a basic aspiration for all.”
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