Ipswich currently has no affordable rental properties for those on housing benefits, a study has found.

Research conducted in July by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism analysed the details of 160 property listings across the town and compared them to the region's local housing allowance, which calculates the maximum amount of money people can claim on benefits towards housing costs.

Out of the 160 listings, not a single property was affordable for those on universal credit or housing benefits.

The study included every two-bedroom property up for rent at the time - the most common kind of property rented by those on welfare support.

The news comes as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite and rental prices skyrocket.

Jools Ramsey, chief executive of Ipswich Housing Action Group (ihAg), said the news was "extremely troubling".

"Local people on benefits are now effectively priced out of local accommodation," she added.

"This forces them to look for alternatives outside of their hometown and further away from the local support networks they already have.

"We know that many people struggle to approach support services for help until their situation is critical and moving to a new area will undoubtedly impact their ability to feel able to ask for support with the impact of the current cost of living crisis.

"This situation also increases the risks of local people becoming homeless, and the pressure on local support services, such as ihAg , in terms of increase in demand for our services."

Councillor Neil MacDonald, Ipswich Borough Council portfolio holder for housing, said the area is facing a "chronic shortage of affordable housing" and has encouraged those in need to use the authority's resources for support.

“Ipswich Borough Council uses the Gateway to Homechoice website to promote our available council housing, where individuals can bid for up to two suitable properties per week. Availability is updated weekly with homes allocated by priority need," he said.

Ipswich Star: Councillor Neil MacDonald, Ipswich Borough Council Portfolio Holder for HousingCouncillor Neil MacDonald, Ipswich Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Housing (Image: Ipswich Borough Council)

“We work as quickly as possible to see empty properties re-let and are working with developers locally to build more affordable homes to increase availability.

"All council rents are below the LHA (Local Housing Allowance) rate, so provide an affordable option, with private rentals much more expensive."