Ben Southwood's comments on housing benefit feature in the Independent

The Independent on Sunday have quoted the ASI's Head of Research, Ben Southwood, on what he hopes Wednesday's Budget may bring.

Ben Southwood, at free market think-tank the Adam Smith Institute thinks its time for a drastic change in policy: "Housing benefit should be phased out and eventually scrapped. In a property market where supply is tightly constrained, increases in the benefit supply mainly go into higher rents. The empirical evidence suggests that about 70p of every £1 of the £26bn system goes into the pockets of the landlords in the form of higher rents."

He adds: "What's more, the system encourages people with less means to move to the most expensive areas, since the level of payment is tied to prevailing rents, which means that the bill is artificially inflated. The Government should use the money to supplement low incomes, by raising the employee NIC threshold and making Universal credit withdrawl rate less steep so work pays more for recipients."