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Income and Benefits

 

Earnings

The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings indicates that Bedford Borough residents who are in employment earn more than the people whose workplace is in the Borough.

This is a reflection of the large number of Borough residents who commute to areas such as London, Cambridge and Milton Keynes where higher salaries are available.

As is the case both nationally and regionally, male workers in the Borough earn more than female:

Median Gross Weekly Pay of Full Time Workers (£), 2014

 

Resident

Workplace

 

All

Male

Female

All

Male

Female

Bedford Borough

538.1

561.9

498.4

493.7

522.2

451.0

East of England

539.1

586.8

471.7

505.8

548.6

443.3

England

523.6

565.3

466.0

523.3

564.9

465.5

Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, ONS, 2014

ONS estimates that 20.6% of jobs in the Borough, or approximately 15,000 jobs6, do not pay a living wage.  Nationally, the proportion of workers not earning the living wage is higher among females (23%) than males (18%), and much higher among part-time workers.

Within the Borough, there are huge disparities in income between wards.  Average gross weekly household income in 2011/12 (latest available modelled data) in Bromham and Biddenham ward (£1,184) was far higher than Harpur (£614), Kingsbrook (£652) and Cauldwell (£702) wards.7

 

Other Benefits

In addition to out-of-work benefits, a range of other benefits and tax credits are available and are significant sources of income for many Borough residents:

 

Income Support

In May 2015 there were 1,760 people aged 16-59 claiming Income Support benefit in Bedford Borough.

As expected, the more deprived wards in Bedford have the highest levels of Income Support claimants:

  • Kingsbrook – 200
  • Cauldwell - 175
  • Goldington – 150  
  • Queens Park – 140
  • Castle – 125
  • Harpur – 120

 

Disability Living Allowance

In May 2015 there were 6,520 recipients of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in the Borough (note that DLA for adults is now being replaced by the Personal Independence Payment).  The main conditions for which payments were made were:

  • Learning Difficulties - 1,270
  • Arthritis - 850
  • Psychosis - 560
  • Diseases of the Muscles, Bones and Joints - 300
  • Back Pain - 290
  • Neurological Diseases - 280
  • Psychoneurosis - 270

 

Housing Benefit / Council Tax Support

In May 2015, there were 10,532 Housing Benefit claimants in the Borough, a reduction compared to 11,057 in May 2014. Of these 7,324 (69.5%) were Social Rental and 3,208 (30.5%) Private Rental8

The proportion of claimants living in privately rented accommodation has increased from 28.3% in August 2009.  This is in line with the growing share of the private rental market in the Borough's housing tenure mix.

Some 737 households were affected by the Spare Room Subsidy ('bedroom tax') in May 2015, with an average reduction in benefit of £18.42 each week.

In 2014/15 a total of 12,218 Borough residents received Council Tax Support9.  There is, of course, major overlap between Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support recipients, with many households receiving both.

 

Working Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits

In 2013/14, an average of 4,700 families with children in Bedford Borough were receiving both Working Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits.  There were 8,600 children in these families.  A further 2,300 families (with 4,900 children) were receiving Child Tax Credits only.  An additional 900 families without children were receiving Working Tax Credits10.

 

Pension Credit

There were 29,490 pensioners in Bedford Borough in May 2015.  Of these 16,980 (57.6%) were female, and 4,260 (14.4%) were in receipt of Pension Credit, marginally above the regional average of 14.3%, but below the national average of 17.6%. (ONS, via Nomis, accessed November 2015)

 

References

6ONS, Estimates of employee jobs paid less than the living wage in London and other parts of the UK (2014), 2015.

7 ONS, Small Area Model-Based Income Estimates 2011/12, 2015. Data is published at the Middle Super Output Area (MSOA) geography. 

8 DWP, Housing Benefit Claimants by Region and Local Authority, 2015

9 DCLG, Council tax support: number of claimants, council tax foregone and total payments paid to parishes, April 2014-March 2015.

10  HMRC, Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics, finalised annual awards 2013/14.

 

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