Those Housing Benefit Reforms – it’s not just about unemployed Londoners

The new Housing Benefit reforms announced by Gideon George yesterday will not just affect Londoners or the unemployed. Whilst the new Local Housing Allowance (LHA) caps will make it impossible for people living on benefit to rent a private sector property in Central London, the rest of the country hasn’t been left out and can expect their own share of mass homelessness.

In the budget small print it has been announced that LHA rates will now be set at the 30th percentile of local rents as opposed to the median (50%)*. We still don’t know whether this will apply to new claimants only or whether people already claiming Housing Benefit will be affected.

Even if this only applies to new claimants then the impact could be devastating. The newly unemployed, who don’t think that much about market percentiles when renting a flat, could be forced out of their homes. And there’s going to be lots of newly unemployed.

Of course despite the howls of protests about scroungers from the ignorant tory right this won’t just affect the workless. About half of the 5 million or so people claiming Housing Benefit are either in work or pensioners.

It doesn’t end there. Also buried is the fine print of the budget document is the news that those who have been claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) for 12 months will see their Housing Benefit cut by 10% from April 2013. For a claimant in a modestly priced one bed flat, costing say £150, that will be an extra 15 quid a week. With JSA levels set at just over £65 this means a benefit cut, in real terms, of almost 25%!

So let’s say some poor bastard mistakenly took on a flat costing around the median of a local area and then happened to lose their job and were unable to find another after 12 months. Combined with the reduction of the LHA percentile rate and the 10% JSA cut this could leave people living on as little as five or six pounds a day. Take out essential and unavoidable costs such as heat, light and water and this figure could be as low as 2 or 3 pounds a day. Which isn’t enough to be able to eat .

With the news that single parents and huge numbers of people on Incapacity Benefit are set to be transferred to JSA then this could leave millions choosing between starvation or homelessness.

What we’re seeing here is the beginning of the real agenda, the end of the welfare state. That’s what happens when you let posh cunts run the country.

*This does not mean that LHA will be cut to 30% of current claims. It’s bad, but not quite that bad yet. It means that instead of setting LHA rates at 50% of the current property market rents they will be set at 30%. Imagine there are three flats to rent in a road. One costs £200, one £175 and one £150. Currently the LHA rate for the road would be £175. Under the new proposals that would be reduced to £165, meaning the person in the £175 flat will be forced to move or pay a tenner a week out of their benefit.

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15 responses to “Those Housing Benefit Reforms – it’s not just about unemployed Londoners

  1. Quite simply one the harshest aspects of the new ideological warfare unleashed in the “emergency budget”. Squatting will be back big time as a necessary choice for thousands.

  2. Anyone who can’t find a job in a year, is not looking hard enough. Go to any agency in London and there is always vacancies for manual work. Sometimes you have to take a job that you dont want, before you find the job you do and that your career allows.

    • But suppose you don’t live in London and are in your sixties with minor health problems? I might well take far more than a year to get back into work if you ever get back into work at all.

      The 10% cut in housing benefit for the unemployed is non-discriminatory. It will affect people who aren’t trying to fond work hard enough as well as those who have tried their very best and carried out every direction given to them and expected from them by the Jobcentre and the government.

      It CANNOT be right to penalise perfectly innocent men and women, many of whom will be elderly, with a 10% cut in Housing Benefit simply because they have been out of work for one year.

      This is a TRULY unjust and vicious proposal that is absolutely unworthy of the Conservative Party.

  3. Only 1 in 8 housing benefit claimants are unemployed

  4. The US social security pays Housing Benefit at the 40th percentile [i.e. higher than than proposed in the UK budget] Housing analysts and charities have long criticised this as “insufficient.”

    So the British housing benefit system has just slipped behind that operating in America!

  5. The Budget effecting housing benefit is the Tories showing there true colours and the liberal lapdogs we need to smash this coalition remember the poll tax riots come on people we must unite to show them we wont stand for it.

  6. Pingback: “FAIR” Budget is 2.5 times more devastating to the the poor than to the rich… « My Arse

  7. Pingback: “FAIR” Budget is 2.5 times more devastating to the the poor than to the rich… «

  8. Pingback: The Hidden Victims of Those Housing Benefit Reforms « the void

  9. having been a labour supporter nearly all my life i have just come to my senses. to many people, too many imigrants to my scroungers, to many benefits. all the people friendly labour parties fault.
    a complete bunch of a******s. noz

  10. Absolutely disgusting, I have worked most of my life but have been unfortunate to be made redundant twice in a period of three years. I have been out of work for nearly a year and yes for all those people who sit in judgement,it is neon impossible to find work in this current climate and I have applied for lots of jobs,so don’t sit in judgement,we are not all scroungers and I get sick and tired of the media and politicians tarring us all with the same brush,I’d like to see you lot trying to survive on £65.45 per week.I didn’t ask to lose my job and I am fed up with politicians most of them from privileged back grounds who do not know what real life and reality is all about.

  11. I agree with Jo. I was working full-time for about seven years in London. Then lost the job. That was over 12 months ago. I have had periods of job seeking in the past. I think that the task of finding work now is harder than anyone can imagine. Many job sectors seem to be fenced in by a ring of HR steel. No one is getting in and those in are desperate to stay in. The only movement is horizontal, people doing the job moving to another such job. This is equally true of unskilled work. Macdonalds? How many years you worked with Macdonalds? Anyway I earned 35k in last job and rented this place. If i take Macdonalds job, £5 ph, within a month i am either evicted or terminating tenancy early as cannot pay rent, so bad l/l reference so deposit retained, so no deposit for next home. So fucked. So down to council housing emergency housing unit. Back to shit-holes from gangster landlords down Peckham. Local councils have by law to provide emergency housing for homeless eg evicted or not able to afford rent any longer persons. That is their legal responsibility. How are they going to do it come next year?!

  12. “Local councils have by law to provide emergency housing for homeless eg evicted or not able to afford rent any longer persons.”

    only if they have children or are deemed vulnerable (usually that means over 65 or sick)

    most people aren’t eligible for any support with housing at all

    sorry to be the bearer of bad news

  13. It depends on the small details of this rule about 10% if you’ve been out of work> 12 months. e.g. If that is the rule exactly, then sign off for one days work e.g. help brother-in-law decorate his house, sign back on, lose one days’ benefits and gain 10% per month HB for 12 more months? Can it be that simple?

    If the bar is raised, eg you must have worked> 1 month in last twelve to qualify for 100% HB, it discourages people from taking short-term contracts < 1 month duration, especially if said contracts pay eg NM wage. Why? Because if your rent is say £700 per month for single person, normal in London, you will be left much poorer as wages will fall well short of total benefit income. So by taking a such a job for < 1 month, you would be even more out of pocket would have gained nothing in terms of reinstating 100% HB. Then you ill get evicted blah de blah.

  14. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and cannot work. I will soon have my housing benefit cut from £55 shared rate in Staffordshire down to £45 rate. I am trying to find places to live, but the new single room rate is only £77 per week. This limits me to £333 per calendar month. In the whole of Stoke on Trent there is currently only ONE place available that is one bed room and under that amount. Now do your maths – this is a deprived area with a lot of people on benefit due to high unemployment, very low amount of new jobs / vacancies, and high health issues. The 30th percentile is clearly going to cause an enormous deal of homelessness over the next 2-3 years.

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