New figures show Dacorum District Council overspent its housing payments budget
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Dacorum District Council spent all of its discretionary housing payments budget in the last tax year, new figures show.
Discretionary housing payments are paid by local authorities to cover shortfalls in residents' housing benefit or Universal Credit.
Department for Work and Pensions figures show Dacorum District Council spent £246,187 on discretionary housing payments from March 2022 to 23.
It was given a budget of £246,208, meaning it spent just over its allocation.
The council spent 99 per cent of its budget in the previous year.
Dacorum is among 42 per cent of councils that overspent their budget by more than five per cent.
Just 11 per cent of authorities spent less than 95 per cent of their budget.
The figures come amid the Government freeze on housing benefit, in place for the last three years.
But housing charity Shelter is demanding benefits are increased to match the dramatic rise in rent over the last few years.
Chief executive Polly Neate says families are struggling to balance the books.
She explained: "If the Government really wants to tackle the housing emergency, the Chancellor must urgently unfreeze housing benefit to help families pay their rent.
"But the only long-term solution to the housing emergency is for the Government to invest in a new generation of genuinely affordable social homes, with rents tied to local incomes."
A government spokesperson said nearly £1.6 billion in funding has been given to local authorities since 2011, as a safety net for people struggling with rent or housing costs.
They added: "We are set to spend over £30 billion on housing support this year, on top of the significant cost of living help worth around £3,300 per household.
"It is for councils to decide how to allocate funding and manage their budgets, and they can top up government funding up to two and a half times using their own funds."