CHANGES have been made to the way housing benefit is handed out by the government after it was revealed an Afghan family are living in a £12,500-a-month council house.

Yesterday James Purnell, secretary of state for work and pensions, said the rate for housing rented from private landlords will be capped at the five bedroom rate, while a review is carried out.

The announcement comes after it was revealed the landlord for the seven bedroomed home in Acton was able to check how much he could claim before he negotiated with the council, at cost of £170,000 a year for the tax payer.

Mr Purnell said: “An unintended consequence of the changes meant that in a limited number of cases the taxpayer paid out significant sums of money to private landlords in order to house people in the sorts of property that they could not afford if they were in work.

“That was clearly unacceptable.

“We will lay regulations as soon as possible, to come into effect no later than next April. In the interim, DWP and the Rent Service will monitor such applications carefully and advise on a case-by-case basis.”

He also said every tenant in a home being paid for above the five bedroom capped rate will have their case reviewed after a year in the property.

This means the Acton family will be in their home until at least next July.