Posts Tagged ‘Housing’

Cuts in Housing Benefit will cause hardship and increase homelessness, says Karen Buck

22/07/2010, 12:53:48 PM

Beveridge, intellectual giant, architect of the post war welfare state, threw in the towel when it came to sorting out rent subsidy. The Beveridge report argued, not unreasonably, that any coherent national system of subsidising housing costs for those who could not afford them was not feasible while rents varied so greatly between different part of the United Kingdom.  The problem which confounded him has, if anything, intensified over the years. In the last three decades, to add to the intractable problem of regional variations in costs, governments of both colours pursued a deliberate policy of allowing Housing Benefit to ‘take the strain’ generated by decline in the provision of social rented housing.   Today, housing need is one of the great policy challenges of the century, with demand for affordable homes far outstripping supply and subsidy, in the form of Housing Benefit, going instead into the pockets of private landlords supplying the roof over the head of an ever increasing number of low income households.

Taken in isolation from wider housing policy, one can understand the concern at the rising bill, and recognise the sense of injustice amongst working families at the small number of very extreme cases of households claiming Housing Benefit in our most expensive neighbourhoods. Intuitively, it seems as though we have got it wrong and the system is ripe for reform.

Yet seeing where a policy is wrong does not necessarily help us get it right. The measures set out in the Coalition budget for cutting subsidy to low income households is draconian, runs counter to all attempts to create mixed communities and could easily create a crisis of homelessness.

To summarise the proposals, a cap on the highest  rents (mostly in  London) will be followed by a reduction in Local Housing Allowances everywhere in the country, with future up-rating limited too.  Working age households in private and social housing alike will see their benefit cut if they are deemed to have any spare bedrooms, and, in 2013 anyone on Jobseeker’s Allowance for a year loses 10% of their benefit.


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Friday News Review

25/06/2010, 07:22:18 AM

Liberal lies and more post budget fallout

“Labour leadership candidate Ed Miliband seized on Mr Hughes’s remarks as evidence that cracks were beginning to appear in the coalition. Privately, LibDems are concerned that capital gains tax was not raised enough for those on high wages.” – The Daily Mail

“What’s really going on is that Paddy Ashdown would love to have been Deputy Prime Minister and he has leader envy. He sits there looking at two nodding Lib-Dem dogs on the front bench and he’s not one of them. And it hurts.” – David Miliband, The Mirror

“Two things in life are inevitable, said Benjamin Franklin, death and taxes. The Conservatives campaigned against “Labour’s death tax” and against “Labour’s jobs tax”. But Labour left it to the Lib Dems to campaign against the Tory VAT tax bombshell. So how will Labour characterise the VAT rise that will bring an end to the New Year sales? They’ve got a little time to work it out…” – The New Statesman

“Labour leadership contender Ed Balls makes clear in today’s Mirror, VAT is a regressive Tory levy on the people of Britain. Mr Osborne’s raid on ordinary, hard-working families was avoidable.” – The Mirror

“The Labour leadership contenders have all declared that they will vote against the legislation to enable “free schools”. But once the genie of choice is out of the bottle, it is a brave socialist who tries to stuff it back in. Parents who send their children to these schools will have reason and motivation to vote Conservative as long as Labour opposes them.” – The Telegraph

Housing takes to the stage

“David Miliband – “For me, community is one of the things that makes life worth living. And while it’s often said how fast moving the modern world is, a sense of belonging to the place where we live is still just as important as ever. That’s my starting point for thinking about housing policy.” – Inside Housing

“Abbott also predicted that, “I am going to see thousands of people in London evicted precisely as a consequence of these housing benefit changes.” Is she right?” – The Guardian

The other race

“Labour nationally is now going through a process of renewal and change to a new generation of leadership. We in London need to do the same and choose a mayoral candidate for 2012 who reflects the modern 21st century London. London is a dynamic vibrant melting pot of different cultures. We need new leadership which reflects that dynamism and vitality. We need a…” – Mike Gapes, Progress

Eyes down under

“When Julia Gillard’s family emigrated to Australia from South Wales in 1966, little did they dream that their daughter would make history as the country’s first female prime minister. Yesterday, after her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, was unceremoniously dumped by his own party, Ms Gillard was sworn in – appropriately enough by the nation’s first female Governor-General, Quentin Bryce.” – The Independent

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