Friday, 06 March 2015

Renters cannot absorb housing benefit cut

Two thirds of people renting social housing would face difficulties if their income fell through cuts to housing benefit, a survey has found.

The study carried out by YouGov for the Trades Unions Congress and the Fabian Society found 49 per cent of people in private rented housing and 66 per cent of those in social housing would have problems if their income fell.

It found a drop of 10 per cent in income would cause “real difficulty” for 31 per cent of private renters and 44 per cent of social renters.

The government wants to slash the £21 billion housing benefit bill through a range of measures, including capping rents, altering how the amount that can be claimed is calculated, and cutting housing benefit by 10 per cent from people who have been claiming jobseekers’ allowance for more than a year.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘Ministers want us to believe that housing benefit is going to what they would call work-shy scroungers, yet in reality only one claimant in eight is unemployed. The rest are mainly low-income working households, pensioners or the disabled.

‘Then they tell us that people can absorb a cut in their housing benefit. This poll shows that most cannot.’

Homelessness charity Crisis said the government is ‘peddling myths’ about housing benefit claimants.

Chief executive Leslie Morphy said: ‘We are concerned to hear those who are reliant on housing benefit being described as making a “lifestyle choice”. Nearly half of those on local housing allowance already face a shortfall between their benefit and their rent of an average of £23 per week, meaning tough choices between rent, food, heating or falling into a vicious spiral of debt.

‘More claimants of local housing allowance are actually in work than are unemployed whilst half are pensioners, disabled or have caring responsibilities.’

Meanwhile the Telegraph reports London mayor Boris Johnson’s comments on housing benefit last week may have jeopardised his bid to take control of the Homes and Communities Agency’s budget for the capital.

The mayor sparked a furious debate after he suggested cuts to housing benefit introduced by his own party could cause ‘Kosovo-style social cleansing’ in the capital. This follows a report by Inside Housing which showed that London councils were booking accommodation for homeless housing benefit claimants in towns as far away as Hastings.

The Telegraph reports today that Mr Johnson’s comments have angered senior government politicians so much they are considering rejecting his plans to take funding for social housing in London from the HCA in the upcoming Localism Bill.

Tensions continue to run high in Westminster over the housing benefit cuts, which will come into effect from next April. Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester Bob Russell is said to have stormed out of a meeting about the cuts with deputy prime minister Nick Clegg last week.

Readers' comments (38)

  • Arthur Brown

    I am not sure about ‘peddling myths’ - these Eton educated millionaire cabinet ministers think they are peddling the truth. We seem to have elected a government with no grasp of reality. This is peoples lives & homes they are playing with - not some trading commodity.

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  • A blind man can see that the deliberate changes in housing legislation and housing policy since Thatcher (Absence of rent controls/ tenants rights/ council house supply etc) have reintroduced the environment to faciltate the private landlord extortion racket - clearly an adequate supply of social housing would ensure there was simply no market that private landlords could enter other than to cater to the better paid people in society.

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  • Oh come on. Social welfare is out of control. This government is the first in a long time who is trying to do good for the economy and not buy votes from the 'scroungers'. Buying votes is a danergerous political game. Since man kind landed on this planet, he was self sufficient, until some looney left party decided to buy votes to get into power and offer people freebies. Sure a small proportion of people do need help, but then a huge number of workshy jump on the band wagon claiming they need help too, and so it never stops.

    Stop relying on those who work hard and become self sufficient.

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  • A blind man can see and even a very stupid one can realise that the huge amounts of money put into social housing by successive governments since Thatcher have had precisely nothing to do with the "private landlord extortion racket" which a blind and stupid man imagines.

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  • I see the British wing of the Tea Party is alive and well in this country, long live the soup kitchens and homeless shelters, welcome to the 51st state of the good old USA.

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  • Melvin Bone

    I vote we remove the option to post as Anonymous.

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  • Anonymous | 01/11/2010 10:16 am

    No need for the Anonymous tag – be counted – use a name. Whether people agree with you or not – recent money in to housing including inflation busting tenant rent increases, PFI, Procurement, DHS, Outright Sales, Grants, S/O (who wants ’em?), recent landbank money loss (£100Million+ plus, major RPs?), *salaries, severance pay offs – yet so little for existing tenant and additional fair rent tenancies seem minimal.
    *not forgetting the Daily Mail link that Michael Read posted yesterday which seems to have disappeared???

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  • Posting as anonymous is protected under The European Convention on Human Rights, so you can't stop that, I'm afraid ;-)

    On a serious note, the anonymous posters make some good points:

    Private landlords are making a lot of money out of taxpayers by charging higher rents. Capping HB will reduce this because the majority will bring their rent down rather than suffer an empty property.

    Labour have socially engineered the country to produce a vast number of people dependent on the state, who of course will vote Labour to retain their income. The Conservatives will attempt to get the majority of these people out of dependency, and into work because they are then more likely to vote Conservative. This is how it works.

    Whatever political arguments you want to have, it is impossible to justify giving housing benefit to a person to live in a house that low paid workers could only dream of affording. The big slap in the face is the fact that it's paid for out of their taxes at a time when the country is maxed out on debt and is cutting spending in other areas.

    If the article is correct that the policy will "cause 'real difficulty' for 31 per cent of private renters and 44 per cent of social renters." then they will be joining the real world.

    In case you hadn't noticed, there has been a bit of a bust (after the boom) and things are hard for everyone. Taxpayers are giving up things left right and centre to pay their bills, so why should those in receipt of benefits be exempt.

    People should take responsibility for their own lives, and cut their cloth according to their earnings (please note I said 'earnings' rather than 'income').

    There is an expectation by many in this country that taxpayers should pay for the lifestyle that they think they deserve, and it's WRONG. Theose who work should be applauded, and rewarded, not taxed to fund those who can't be bothered.

    There are millions of people on benefits who want to work, but need help to get into work. These people are being robbed by the lazy - the more scroungers there are, the less there is to go to the REAL needy.

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  • Eva Silver

    I believe you got to pay people a Living Wage and a number in my area on low wages and event if your a widow or single parent your still entitled to Housing Benefit due the the low wages most of these widow and single parent want to stand on own feet. The wages are not they and due to the increases in Social Housing Rent and Social Housing Services Charges which creeping up and up. Can never stand on own feet.

    What was Clegg's promise at election under 10,000.00 then changed to 7,000.00 and then we see VAT up. Look how Transport will rise and look now that Gas prices going up and up.

    Its very hard event if you do work has a widow or single parents
    Every is top up.

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  • Whatever happened to the "End of social housing 1945 - 2010", posted on Friday, 29 October.

    Seems by 9am this morning this premature obituary had been erased. The end of the end of social housing in just 72 hours. The corpse is alive and kicking.

    David Orr is still dreaming, and ever-ready to be quoted, of a planet-sized wallet, provided courtesy of the taxpayer, to solve the living problems of the poor and much more importantly the problems of his members - whose share prices have collapsed 20% on the stock market in the last month.

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  • The story hasn't been removed, just moved down the page by newer content::

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