How can block booking stack up?
28/10/2010 3:43 pm
Its been reported that London authorities have been block booking B&Bs in Hastings, Slough, Luton and other places in response to the HB cuts and caps.
Yet I fail to see how this can work financially given (a) the overall benefit cap of £350/£500 for single / family benefit claimants; (b) the fact that all other benefits are added first leaving a maximum residual HB payments; and (c) especially so given receipt of DLA is the only exemption from the overall benefit cap.
1) If a B&B single room in Hastings is purchased by London authorities for £45pn (and its likely to be higher) then this is £315pw. However the single person will be in receipt of JSA/IS of £65 or so pw and in receipt of CTB of say £30pw. Hence the maxium HB will pay is £350 - £95 or, £255.
This is £60 less than the rent.
2) Same scenario with a family but 1 double room at say £65pn (again likely to be higher) but still £455 per week - Again HB will nowhere near cover the rent.
The above will not apply ONLY when the claimant is in receipt of DLA.
Yet the majority of cases this will not apply and - heres the supreme irony - it is cheaper to pay £250 and £400 pw to the PSLs in London
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28/10/2010 4:42 pm
Anon - Is Section 180 funding likely to be able to pay for 80,000 units? A quick extrapolation of my very crude figures for 80,000 lots of £65 per night works out at £1.9bn per annum.
28/10/2010 4:51 pm
just done a quick check and the cheapest family room in a B& B in Hastings (curiously described as large family room, maximum 2 persons!!!) is £85 per night. So assuming the hugely increased demand does not see rates climb by any more than the discount a block booking can achieve this means almost £2.5bn.
Isnt other homeless funding being cut? - Doesnt The Temporary accommodation amendment order 2010 do just that? (SI 2509 / 2010)
03/11/2010 1:25 pm
The above highlights in my view the fact that appears to be missing from the block-booking issue - that it isnt financially viable and that there isnt 80,000 or so units available to be booked in Hastings, Slough, Luton et al.
As such, that lack of availability will see those alleged 'block-booking' council having to rehouse those affected locally in homeless / B&B units in the capital.... at a far higher cost to the public purse that HB was paying before!!
The best laid plans ... written on fag packets again!
03/11/2010 2:18 pm
"London Councils revealed this week at a meeting of the work and pensions select committee that local authorities in central London have been block-booking private rented accommodation and bed and breakfast rooms in towns across the south of England"
Well as it has come from the councils themselves that has been officially minuted I think any notion this is journalistic licence is wrong.
The fact that its yet another hard-brained back of fag packet response to a hare-brained back of fag packet idea that will cost far more than its intended to save is the issue
03/11/2010 3:05 pm
Just to clarify on this one - B&Bs can be had for £30 a night in Hastings. Given the average occupancy rates for B&Bs is around 40-60% a block booking securing 100% occupancy for a significant period of time is likely to mean a significant discount could be secured.
Whilst the relative merits of such an action are obviously still up for debate, the fact it will save money isn't - Joe's being a bit creative with his sums - again.
03/11/2010 3:46 pm
When I lived in Essex heard people in Local Authority Hostel and B&B over a year - some was sitting on discharge notices and legally appealing again the Discharge Notice and one case been in the B&B then over 18 months others cases via Kent Coucil dumping them in Essex in Hotels and B&B's these where migrants.
03/11/2010 4:51 pm
Rather than charging my figures with your assertions
(a) go online and see how many B&Bs are available at £30 pn in Hastings and Luton et al.
Perhaps as many similar anonymous figures on here use the internet to see feel free to see how many are available.
(b) please reference where you find 40 - 60% average occupancy rates for B&Bs while you are there. Or is that yet another plucked out of thin air?
(c) may we keep this on the costs rather than the merits. I have no objections to you remaining anonymous, I do however have them when you cite figures as apparent facts. Please produce those facts of occupancy and rates.
Finally, two quick points. Firstly I noticed you didnt challenge the B&B costs for families. Secondly, you also didnt comment on the availability of 80,000 such units being available - that is a critical factor - Rather you very very crudely stated that it will save money; so if you are so sure please produce some alternate figures and advise where this money is coming from
03/11/2010 5:23 pm
http://www.senlacguesthouse.co.uk - Rooms from £25 per night.
http://www.enjoyengland.com/Images/augsum10%20(2)_tcm21-197745.pdf - occupancy rates survey showing August (one of the busiest months) at 59%, up from just 28% in January.
Research like this isn't tricky Joe, it's all on Google.
I'm perfectly prepared to concede there may be plenty of other difficulties associated with the implementation of policies such as this, I'm just pointing out the inaccuracies in your comments.
Far too often you state things that are simply false, it fundamentally undermines any valid points you may make. You need to check things throughly before presenting things as fact if you want to be taken seriously.
03/11/2010 5:51 pm
Oh dear anon - please check your own references.
The headline rate may say rooms from £25 per night. Try booking one. I have just been on the website and found no availability at all - not even from April next year.
Oh dear again - the Tourist board does have bedspace utilisation at 59% but occupanct rates at 72%. So unless you are propsing that unrelated people share rooms?
Moreover, that generic information on occupancy is for England and not rpresentative of Hastings or Luton or Slough. It could be higher or lower of course but on balance I would suggest that a seaside resort such as Hastings is likely to have far higher than average occupnacy rates than say Slough (and not just Betjemans fault!)
Where are these 80,000 rooms? If the one example you give has no availability then where is the availability.
Yes google is easy - but please take 2 minutes to read what you research rather than assume it is fact!
Finally, it seems from using your sources of (alleged) available abd cheap provision that my figures are in fact an underestimate. Unless you can find cheaper again Mr Anonymous?
Further when on booking part of website the cheapest rooms are £55 per night and a family room at £110pn - Yet even these are not available!
03/11/2010 6:07 pm
Apologies for the above being out of sync. The final paragraph should have been the 3rd para.
Anon "Far too often you state things that are simply false, it fundamentally undermines any valid points you may make. You need to check things throughly before presenting things as fact if you want to be taken seriously"
Really? I think the expression is hoist with your own petard is is not?
You wish to use Luton or Slough it may be easier as I forgot to mention the 6000 on the waiting list in Hastings which is another factor in availability - or in real terms supply and demand and cost
03/11/2010 11:45 pm
Hopefully people will read the details in the link and make their own judgements. Once again Joe you've taken the information that suits your argument and ignored the rest.
The 72% you quote is for August only, and doesn't compare the with the substantially reduced occupancy rates in the winter months. Taken as an average it falls comfortably within the 40-60% quoted.
Personal experience leads me to believe rooms are available in most towns for around the £30 mark. Often not published on the internet (a quite expensive form of advertising incidentally - you're unlikely to find the best prices there). I know this because I've stayed in many cheap hotels - perhaps you're more of a champagne socialist and only stay in better places than me.
Given a hotel can continue to operate profitably on a 40-60% occupancy rate, if something approaching 100% can be secured the additional costs per room rented would minimal. Many of the costs associated with such a business are fixed, meaning as the occupancy rate rises profits rise at a greater rate.
Once again I would hope people would reach their own conclusions, you consistently cherry pick information to suit your argument, often completely ignoring information which doesn't suit your narrow minded view.
I'm not suggesting the solution to all social housing problems will be found in a B&B in Hastings, I just find it frustrating you consistently cling to inaccurate beliefs about how much such an idea would cost to implement.
04/11/2010 8:51 am
'I just find it frustrating you consistently cling to inaccurate beliefs about how much such an idea would cost to implement.'
That is Joe Halewoods job on this forum, to bamboozle people with mischievously innacurate figures cobbled together from left wing press releases.
04/11/2010 10:39 am
Anon please read YOUR sources as the report on occupancy compared the period Aug 08 to Aug 10. It is one generic report as I have stated and may hold no releveance to the picture in Hastings, Slough or anywhere else as it could be much higher or lower in those areas.
Yet the link you gave to specific B&Bs did reveal no availability and had a headline rate that was hafl the actual cost. The family room rate was also much higher than my example figures as well.
It still remains that the cost of this exercise has yet to be determined and you have failed to provide any alternate figures or produce anything to challenge my figures, which appear to underestimate the cost, availability notwithstanding.
Remaining anonymous then making cheap comments on champagne socialists - how petty - yet they are just a woeful attempt to get off the points of debate. How much is this going to cost, how is this to be paid and where is the availability, pretty fundamental points unless the plan is a hard-brained scheme.
Even if Ms Roe gets her way and persuades the government to dilute homeless legislation to allow this sort of scheme to happen more easily, then it still doesnt stack up financially and the availability isnt there.
Those are the key points here in this diaspora of the vulnerable and homeless and nothing even practical stacks up let alone the offensive nature of it.
The most probable outcome is that the lack of availability means these inner london councils will need to commission and lease B&Bs and PSL properties at a much higher rate than the vulnerable tenants were evicted for. Yet more cost to the public purse due to incompetent and ill thought through ideas
04/11/2010 12:07 pm
'Yet more cost to the public purse due to incompetent and ill thought through ideas'
I agree. Its a shame Labour were not more organised and left the ConDems to sort out this mess.
If Boris gets his billion maybe he can start to sort out the cock-up that is housing in London.
04/11/2010 4:01 pm
Perhaps Boris should explain what he spent the last £5bn he had on before he is given another £1bn!
For all the anonymous drivel - Joe is correct in his assertion that the B&B route does not work. Never mind the latest ggle just consider whether the shift from B&B reliance was on humantarian or cost grounds previously and you'll find your answer.
As for B&B being short term - until the B&B refugee can afford 80%MR they are stuck in their expensive Shapps' Cell.
05/11/2010 11:54 am
Joe - Once again you've misread the report. It's not the period of August 2008-2010, rather occupancy rates in August 2008, August 2009 and August 2010 that are being compared. Again, the figures for the winter months are massively lower meaning the average 40-60% occupancy rates over the course of a year is a perfectly reasonable estimate.
Quite why you seem to think the Hastings B&B market should differ so wildly from the rest of the UK is beyond me, although I suspect it's because it doesn't fit with your viewpoint. You seem to use statistics like a drunk uses a lamppost - for support rather than illumination. Perhaps unsurprisingly nobody seems to have taken the time to conduct in depth analysis of the Hastings B&B market, that being the case reference to a UK wide survey seems reasonable.
I am well aquainted with cheap hotels, brief negotiations with hotel owners has always secured me a room for around the £30 mark in a number of places such as Reading (a fair comparable to somewhere like Luton) and Newquay (a reasonably desireable holiday town). But hey, why let facts get in the way of a left wing rant.
I fail to see how you can cling to the belief that it's always going to be cheaper to accommodate people in a flat in expensive areas of London rather than a B&B property in Hastings
Once again I'm not suggesting all London's social housing problems could be solved by shipping people to B&Bs in Hastings, but that doesn't give you free reign to fabricate figures and dismiss out of hand an option that may work in some instances.
Your consistent misrepresentation and lack of understanding of what is a fairly simple piece of research means you leave me (and hopefully anyone else with a interest in accuracy) no choice but to ignore all "facts" you quote unless specificially referenced.