The amount Britain spends on housing benefit rocketed by 34.7% between 2007 and 2014, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Wednesday.
Housing benefit expenditure has now reached the equivalent of 1.5% of GDP, a rise of £2.4bn since the Tory-led coalition rose to power in 2010.
Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reveal that spending on housing benefit rose to £24.6 billion in 2013/14, up from £22.99 billion in 2010, the Independent reports.
The figures rubbish claims made by Iain Duncan Smith prior to the general election that the housing benefit bill had actually fallen by £150million.
People over pension credit qualifying age represent the largest group of housing benefit recipients at 29.9% in 2013/14, however this has fallen 7.4 percentage points compared with 2007/2008.
The long-term sick and disabled are the second largest group, accounting for 23.9% of claimants in 2013/14. The number of people in this group has fallen slightly since 2007/08, by 0.9%.
Lone parents are the third largest group at 20.8% of all housing benefit claimants in 2013/14, down by 0.9% on 2007/08 figures.
Notably, the number of housing benefit claimants in the ‘Others’ category – comprising mainly of low-income working people – saw their share of the multi-billion pound housing benefit bill grow from 9.2% in 2007/2008 to 15.3% in 2013/2014.
Those in the ‘Unemployment’ group of housing benefit beneficiaries represent the smallest group of claimants, according to the ONS data.
This group of claimants accounted for just 10% of all housing benefit claimants in 2013/14, however this is up from 7.5% in 2007/2008.
The United Kingdom spent £394 per capita in the ‘housing category of social protection’ in 2013, the highest expenditure per capita among 33 European countries included in the ONS study.
Meanwhile, spending on social protection for disabled people was slashed by nearly £400 per person in 2013 alone. ONS statistics show that government spending on “disability social protection” in Britain fell by an average £392 per claimant, the Morning Star reports.
Debbie Jolly from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAG) warned that cuts meant people with disabilities were losing out on vital financial support, adding that the government’s “ongoing onslaught against benefits” has resulted in “tragic deaths”.
“Not only have disabled people lost a lot more money, we must also remember that many have lost their lives as a direct result of the regimes the Tories have imposed”, she said.
DPAC co-founder Linda Burnip added: “It should be emphasised that severely disabled people with the highest support needs have lost a further 10 times as much in that period of time.”
This article was last edited at 04:01 on 10 December 2015.