Thursday, 05 March 2015

NHF attacks vote on 'unfair' welfare reforms

A decision by MPs to overturn a series of Lords amendments to the Welfare Reform Bill will cause hardship for thousands of families, a housing body has warned.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, hit out after MPs voted against amendments which would have allowed underoccupying tenants to avoid the bedroom tax if they have one spare room if no other suitable accommodation is available.

The House of Commons also voted last night to reinstate plans for a £26,000 benefit cap for workless households. Mr Orr said that he would continue campaigning against the proposals.

Mr Orr said: ‘The decision by MPs to reject the Lords’ bedroom tax compromise is a blow to thousands of families in social housing across the country, many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet.

‘That over 70 organisations, from disabled charities to mortgage lenders, came together in support of this change to the Welfare Reform Bill shows just how important this issue is.

‘It is unjust to penalise people for under-occupying their homes when they have nowhere else to move to.

‘Given the level of opposition in the Lords to these proposals and their potential impact, it is totally wrong for the government to shut down discussion by claiming financial privilege. We will continue to campaign against these unfair proposals.’

Despite the votes, the government has made a number of concessions including giving claimants who have been in work for at least 12 months previously a nine-month grace period before the cap takes effect. Discretionary funding of up to £130 million has also been announced which will help people move

Mr Orr said: ‘While we welcome the government’s commitment to introduce a nine-month grace period for claimants hit by the overall benefit cap after losing their job, we remain concerned that this crude measure will lead to a rise in rent arrears, homelessness and child poverty.’

Readers' comments (41)

  • What is unfair is that people consider that it is a right to live for free without ever having paid any taxes or contributed to society. We should be glad this government is trying to do something about it to give hard working taxpayers some kind of slowdown in the ever increasing burden of rising taxes to pay the non-working economy.

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  • F451

    But RT - the working poor are to be given nothing except higher rents, higher prices, higher utility bills, higher taxes, less home security, less job security, and less social security.

    Is that really to be celebrated - is beggar thy neighbour really a positve act?

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  • To be fair F451, it is the non working that attract the condemnation of the public, and you and I both know that there are those on benefits with no intention of looking for work, happy to be supported in all that they do (I'm basing that on the assumption that you too work in social housing) Until "the public" see appropriate treatment for this group of people, I am afraid they will not see through to have sympathy for the "working poor"

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  • F451

    What is 'appropriate treatment for this group of people' Tricky?

    8 million working poor earn less than £26kpa. 17 million are moderately paid. Only 4 million are highly paid - and it is only this group who can easily afford housing costs.

    The 76% calling for benefit to be only for the 'deserving' need to realise that their circumstances have been reduced over the past 30-years not by a benefit claiming culture but by a low pay culture benefiting the richest.

    Please do share what you mean by appropriate treatment, and while you are at it maybe include an estimate of how many you believe deliberately refuse work in preference to benefits - your answer should be interesting.

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  • Rick Campbell

    Of course, as is typical in life, there will always be the 'Alf Garnettts' of this world who will spout bigotted claptrap about those not in work -- they forget that there are those who CANNOT work ... the vulnerable, the disabled, the elderly and so on.

    Many of these will have fed into the system but there are those (for example, those disabled from birth, those who became seriously ill during childhood, those with limbs lost in the service of the country, etc.) who may not have.

    There appears to be a disability envy pervading the UK -- I don't know of any disabled person (and I know many) who delights in being disabled.

    In 1997 welfare spending was 7.76% as a percentage of GDP -

    In 2010 it was 7.26% - not unaffordable in these ’enlightened times?

    Welfare, it is suggested by eejit MPs saps the will to work.

    In which case , if what appears to be true, “why is it that post-war unemployment was at its lowest in the 1950s, when unemployment benefits were at their highest in relation to pay“ according to posters elsewhere?

    I don’t know the figures for the 1950s -- so over to you who deal with figures ………….

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  • Two points...

    There are 22 unemployed people for every job in Hull - and the same ratio applies across much of the north and Midlands. The rail workers of Derby didn't ask to be unemployed when the government decided that Britain's railway engines should be made in Germany. Rik's point about welfare being a diminishing share of GDP is interesting. And before we slate the subsidised poor perhaps we should turn our attention to the £1.3 trillion used to prop up the bankers and financial speculators?

    The other poiint is that the CiH has been quiet on this.But then again, what does one expect from the Conservative Institute for Housing?

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  • NHF role is to increase housing supply.reduce costs - not get political and cricize the Government of the day.

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  • Eric Blair

    The sad thing about all this is that the cuts / benefit caps won't work: they will in fact generate extra costs. Some of these costs will be in human / social terms... but many will be financial.

    Huge numbers of workless people do nothing for the economy. And while the government claims that it's getting people back to work, this is arrant nonsense! Training schemes and unskilled Mickey Mouse jobs will fail to deliver on growth.

    There is currently no economic growth from any sector (public, private, charitable). This won't change while the coalition is in power. Nothing in, nothing out. A simple formula.

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  • Usual Suspect

    i like to take a differnt simplistic view on this .Given that there has to be a limit on ewhat we spend . If i have paid £1000 in tax would i prefer to help 10 people by giving them £100 each or 1 person by giving them a thousand

    simplistic and short term but that means my vote goes for housing three or more people in liverpool rather than one in westminster.

    Then of course there are additional issues around creating employment and a better fairer society but maybe thats a different issue

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  • Usual Suspect

    and sure the cap should be variable , but lets start at the top first then introduce variation under that

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