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.
Join the facebook group to support the fight back