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Housing benefit bill 'to rise £1bn'
Labour's Rachel Reeves says they plan to build 200,000 homes a year by the end of the next parliament
The housing benefit bill is set to rise by £1 billion over the next few years despite government "rhetoric" on reducing it, according to Labour.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves will publishing new figures from the House of Commons library which show that the extra money will be paid to people in work by 2018.
She will tell the annual conference in Nottingham of the GMB union: "The cost of the Government's failure to get more people earning enough to put a roof over their head is the equivalent of 24,000 more nurses or 30 million additional GP appointments.
"And we all know why this is. We have more people than ever who are working but not earning enough to pay the rent - let alone get a mortgage; and we have the lowest levels of house-building since the 1920s."
Ms Reeves will say that Labour has "radical" plans to get 200,000 homes built a year by the end of the next parliament.
"Not only will this improve living conditions for those in overcrowded accommodation, and restore the hope of home ownership to many for whom it now seems out of reach; not only does it have the potential to create thousands more construction jobs and apprenticeships; it's the best way to control the benefits bill as well."
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "Our action to bring the housing benefit bill under control will save the taxpayer around £6 billion by the end of this Parliament.
"The truth is that the housing benefit bill was spiralling out of control in the years up to 2010 and was forecast to rise further.
"Housing benefit has always helped those in and out of work. The Government's long-term economic plan is now helping more families into jobs with the largest rise in employment for over 40 years."
A Conservative spokesperson said: "Labour let the housing benefit bill get out of control and they would do it all over again - they have opposed every single change we've made to get a grip on housing benefit spending.
"Rachel Reeves even voted against our cap which stops people claiming over £100,000 a year in housing benefit to live in expensive homes that other taxpayers could never afford."