Posts Tagged ‘Housing Benefit’

The right and the wrong way to attack the Tories on housing

27/06/2012, 01:48:45 PM

by Peter Goddard

So David Cameron has announced his latest cuts, this time directing his bloody shears at housing benefit for the young.

Predictably, left-wing commentators have howled their outrage at this latest withdrawal of the state.

The problem, though, is that while many on the left focus on the gross abrogation of an individual’s right to benefits, criticising Cameron for cutting benefits in this way is little more than accusing a Tory of being a Tory.

The Tories are, as with most of their proposed cuts, using the opportunity to portray the recipients of housing benefit as the undeserving poor, to be contrasted with and despised by the squeezed middle.

These benefits are always shown as being paid to some feckless individual, who ultimately makes a better living on welfare than they would by honest toil.

During straitened times such as these, the rights based case for benefits will only go so far with the public.

Surely it would be better to oppose the Tories in terms of the national interest, the common good. Something in which everyone has a material, rather than moral, stake.


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The nasty party is back with a vengeance

17/11/2010, 12:00:27 PM

by Gavin Hayes

Last week a new survey discovered that Britain’s favourite decade is allegedly the 1980s. In the spirit of that decade in the last few weeks something else has become as glaringly obvious and vulgar as the luminous socks – the nasty party is back with a vengeance, coupled with a full range of toxic policies that again threaten to rip the very fabric of society.

David Cameron had of course promised us something very different indeed than the medicine he is now gleefully prescribing and throwing down our throats. We were promised his so-called new cuddly Conservative party would be compassionate and then once thrown into bed with the Liberal Democrat leadership we were even promised they would be ‘progressive’.

Yet we now know that sadly the progressive and liberal conservatism he once spoke of has completely rung hollow. Announcement after nasty announcement has confirmed this Government’s true colours. It would seem for them the 1980s really is their favourite decade. (more…)

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Labour is wrong on housing benefit

04/11/2010, 09:00:20 AM

by Peter Watt

The proposed changes to housing benefit have certainly got people fired up.  “Rightly so”, you may say. It certainly feeds our preferred narrative: a heartless government unfairly slashing that which benefits the most vulnerable. There is also no doubt that thousands of families will suffer from a loss in income and in some cases even be forced to move. The full scale and impact of the changes is unknown, but Crisis has powerfully set out the full range of the government proposals:

  • Local housing allowance (LHA) rates to be recalculated meaning 774,970 households will lose on average £468 per year;
  • 25 to 35 year-olds to be moved down to a share room rate from a one bed flat rate affecting 88,000 people;
  • Cutting housing benefit by 10% after a year on job seekers’ allowance affecting 200,000 people;
  • Index linking of LHA affecting 939,220 households to the consumer prices index;
  • LHA caps for 21,060 households will ensure that no one-bedroom property receives more than £250 in LHA, rising to £400 for a four-bedroom property or larger;
  • Non-dependent deductions will be increased from2011;
  • Limiting working age housing benefit to reflect household size;
  • Limiting total benefit claim by household to £500.

A hard hitting and tough list; so it should be an open goal for Her Majesty’s loyal opposition. Same old Tories, supported by their new supplicant mates the Lib Dems, doing what Tories do best – screwing the poor. And we are certainly putting the boot in with gusto. Ed Milliband has led with it at PMQs and the Labour blogs have been full of technically correct and eloquent arguments that the government is wrong. It is so obviously unfair, the Liberals are split on the issue and even Mayor Boris is worried about the impact. We can’t fail to miss. (more…)

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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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