Lord Fraud Spins Out of Control As Homelessness Starts to Soar

A new independent study was published this week which reveals that over half a million families could face homelessness in the next year due to the Government’s brutal cuts to Local Housing Allowance (otherwise known as Housing Benefit).

Around a third of private sector landlords who currently let to LHA claimants have said they will stop, or are considering stopping, letting to claimants in the next 12 months.  This could remove the availability of around half a million homes from the low paid, pensioners, disabled or unemployed people.

The number of people claiming LHA has soared to over 5 million, up 25% since 2008, largely due to huge numbers of people only being able to find part time work.  The figure, which includes over a million pensioners, show that around 1.6 million of the total number of LHA claimants are private tenants who will be affected by the cut to the Local Housing Allowance.

The study released this week is the first part of a piece of research commissioned by the DWP to track the effects of the vicious cuts to LHA.  Astonishingly Lord Freud, the Minister for Welfare Reform has claimed:

“The research published today gives us an early insight into what is really happening and I am encouraged that it shows that the many scare stories about the effects of housing benefit reform are not materialising.

This represents a staggering misreading of the report which includes a survey with 1,910 current LHA claimants.  The surveys were carried out in Autumn last year meaning the vast majority (1,356 claimants) have not so far been affected by the caps.  Only those who have started new claims since April 2011 will have felt any effect from the cuts.  One of the most devastating changes, which will see those aged under 35 only eligible for a room in a shared house, has still not yet been implemented.

Despite this 67% of tenants claim that there is a shortfall between the LHA they receive and their rent – and this is before the cuts have been introduced.  12% of tenants are currently in arrears, and 43% say they are currently finding it very difficult (23%) or fairly difficult (20%) to meet rent payments.

Of perhaps most concern is that 93% of current LHA claimants say they don’t know very much, or know nothing at all, about the upcoming changes to their LHA payments.  This suggests the Government has failed dismally to explain the upcoming devastation set to be caused by the drastic cuts, which will only now be beginning to affect some, though not all, of existing claimants.

Lord Fraud’s claims that all in rosy for LHA claimants either reveals startling naivety or gross  dishonesty.  This report suggests that huge numbers of people were struggling to hold onto their homes even with the system as it was before the cuts.  With homelessness agencies reporting a 16% rise in homeless households in the first three months of this year, the crisis is already escalating.  It will not be until towards the end of this year that the full extent of the LHA cuts will be felt, and even then the £500 a week benefit cap will not yet have been implemented.

Ever the willing lapdog, the Daily Telegraph has hailed the results of the study as a triumph.  Completely misreading the situation, the paper hails the news that a quarter of LHA claimants were looking for work to help meet rent payments.  This is hardly surprising news, given that 21% of those surveyed were in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance, a condition of which is that the claimant must look for work.  It is unlikely that the 25% of those on LHA who are claiming a pension are out looking for a job to avoid impending homelessness.  The study also neglects to inform us whether any of those looking for work have actually found a job, something which is increasingly unlikely in the current climate.

It is the results of the survey of landlords which perhaps reveals the grimmest view of the future.  Out of touch ministers believed that landlords would negotiate and lower rents due to LHA reforms.  The Telegraph hails the new study as evidence that this is taking place, claiming that of those who have attempted to renegotiate rents with landlords, around 1 in 4 were successful.

Many of those people will have renegotiated rents before the cuts – it remains to be seen whether landlords will agree to a further decrease in rent levels when the LHA cuts take effect.  In fact the study is quite explicit in its findings stating that: “in this early stage of the reform, the LHA measures had not, in practice, resulted in an increase in negotiation between claimants and landlords over rent levels”.

Of more concern is the result that 30% of London landlords are already not renewing tenancies due to the LHA changes, whilst only 5% may be prepared to negotiate a lower rent with an existing, or prospective tenant.  Landlords are more encouraged to lower rents if LHA payments are sent directly to them, reducing the risk of arrears building up.  This will no longer be an option when Universal Credit,the new benefit system, is finally implemented.

Lord Fraud can spin all he wants, but this report makes bleak reading.  The Telegraph claim that only 3% of people have been forced to move due to LHA cuts.  What the report actually shows is that 3% of people were having to leave their homes due to LHA rates being too low before the cuts were implemented.

Even with the system as it was huge numbers of people were struggling to pay their rent, and most are unaware of the upcoming tsunami.  The vast majority of landlords are not prepared to make any concessions, and with rents soaring as home ownership becomes an unaffordable dream for most, why would they?

On top of this comes the news that 4000 bed spaces for homeless people have been lost due to cuts.  A perfect storm is coming that may well see homelessness on an unprecedented scale in the UK .  Lord Fraud’s spin will seem as empty as his policies when sleeping bags once again line the streets of London.

Credit to Black Triangle Campaign for spotting the study which can be read at (PDF): http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2011-2012/rrep798.pdf

23 responses to “Lord Fraud Spins Out of Control As Homelessness Starts to Soar

  1. Half a million new homeless at a time when house build starts are at their lowest for almost a century, how will that work exactly? Mass emigration to where? Am beginning to think that the true agenda is more than mere spite, that the intention is to re(gain) control of any and all revenue generating land and the accelerated return to actual serfdom.

  2. I worked for a major local authority for 20 years. I dealt with private sector housing and can confirm that people were being evicted by private landlords for being unable to meet the shortfall between their Housing Benefit payments and their contractural rent back in the 1990s and since then. Rather than control rents both Conservative and ESPECIALLY Labour Governments have made tenants the victims of greedy, grasping private landlords. The idea which Labour peddled about tenants ‘negotiating’ reductions in rents with their landlords shows what bastards they were. The idea that a landlord would voluntarily choose to lose money when there were queues of alternative tenants waiting for accommodation who could pay the market rent is mad. This Government’s proposals will make a bad situation worse than anyone could imagine.

  3. WorriedAboutTheFuture

    It makes me wonder where all this is going. Maybe they’ll be making ghettos next and shoving all the homeless, vulnerable and poor people into them, to get them off the streets and out of their sight? Nothing would surprise me now. I think we’re well overdue a revolution, like the French one, but most of us are just sheep who are too scared to rise up and upset the status quo, even though the status is clearly not quo.

    • Eric Greenwood

      Worried, I see a scarier future… one that happened before..Sending the unemployed into ghettos (to the north as some london councils wanted.)..then since they are so anti obesity.. you will have to have a government approved diet..Then you will have to work for the state. (work programme).,

    • The “authorities” will just go around “mopping up” all the homeless and destitute… and that is the last you will see of them.

  4. In the United States there are shanty towns known as Tent Cities which are located on the fringes of cities where people live in tents and other temporary structures. Many formerly middle class Americans who thought it would never happen to them now live in them. It seems that the Tories intend to create the same situation here.

    There is a shortage of social housing. Rather than build new homes or cap private rents, the Tories would prefer to make people homeless. If it’s a choice between greedy landlords or tenants having a roof over their heads, for the Tories it’s no contest. For the Tories mass homelessness is a price worth paying.

  5. The system is broken

    I am currently going thorough the process of moving into social rented accomodation the reason for this is purley down to how the benefits system works and LHA.
    I had no rent arrers 6.5 months ago when my seasonal contract at work was not renewed and my partners commercial insurance business was forced to close due to majority of clients being high risk contractors.
    I immediatly started getting in arrears because it took 6 weeks to process my LHA claim I have struggled and managed to pay £64 a month shortfall. my Mum paid a months rent for me so I have managed to stay up to date with payments. However because LHA is paid in 4 weekly an my rent is monthly and I have to pay the top up fortnightly my agent/landlord was not happy with the way the payments came in dribs and drabs. The out come they are evicting me because they are selling the house! Really?! I’d bet all of the money in my pocket (48P!) that this house will be up for rent within a week of me moving out.
    I am extreamley lucky that I had no rent arrears and had not made myself intentionally homeless, because, get this they then don’t have to help you find alternative accomodation!
    I am so gratefull for the social rented property I will get keys for next friday because I can now afford to work, I will be able to work and pay the rent and also eat. I actually have a job starting Monday, so to all those people who think everybody claiming benefits are lazy and just expect to have every thing handed to them maybe you can see not all claiments want to be there they genuinally have no chioce.

  6. Just like Grayling, rolling out yet more MWA in the knowledge that it doesn’t bloody work and is a “complete policy disaster” in the words of Jonathon Portes of NIESR. Spinning, lying and incompetent. Having just read the last words of disability campaigner Karen Sherlock, who died very recently after a protracted battle to be put in the ESA support group because of her extremely severe and numerous health conditions, I am haunted by the fact that these housing benefit cuts mean that people as sick as she was, could be facing fear and homelessness in addition to their DWP/ATOS battles. Shameful and sickening.


  7. Lord Fraud is a Cunt

    Fuck this Nazi piece of shit!

  8. Pingback: Lord Fraud spins out-of-control as homelessness starts to soar | Black Triangle Campaign

  9. Arbeitsscheu_UK

    Social cleansing

  10. I’m probably preaching to the converted here but the real problem is instead of investing in affordable housing the gov put the emphasis on buying ur own home, so more people were forced to rent in the private sector with a deregulated rent market. Landlords could thus charge what they wanted leading to a mass increase in housing benefit bill. I don’t think gov reall cares about homelessness but they mind when it starts to effect them ie they have to step over them as they come of the opera.

  11. Homeless people have very low life expectancies due to immense stress, disease, illness, suicide and exposure. So intentionally creating homelessness is a useful way of culling useless eaters without overtly murdering them.

  12. A minor point of order: housing benefit is the name of the benefit and for payments of it.

    Local Housing Allowance is the system for capping the benefit level for private tenants. Other than that I agree with everything said in this piece.

    Even more confusingly, the LHA cap is separate from, and much lower than, the ‘cap’ of £400 a week, which will affect very few people. This confusion is almost certainly intentional to make to it sound to the uninformed as if benefit levels are much higher than they are.

  13. I’ve been through the system, that is: I spent ten months legally recognised as homeless whilst I fought to get access to social housing (a council flat). As I was working in a very poorly paid job, but enough for the council to still charge me £130/week for temporary accommodation after housing benefit, I kept getting told renting privately would be cheaper. I, thankfully, held out for social housing – which should be a right, not a privilege.

    I discussed the issue of Social Housing with Prof. Jones of Heriot Watt University, who authored the definitive book on the root cause of the problem – “The Right to Buy”.

    Various accountancy fiddles were forced onto local authorities, moving their 60-year mortgages on houses they’d build out of the public eye, then forcing the right to buy on them. The funds raised from the right to buy, then did not actually go to the local authorities to allow them to replace the social housing stock.

    What you see now is the tail-end of a 30-year-long scheme to rob the public purse, take power to Whitehall – far, far away from the local authorities who might be more responsive when the public can walk to their offices and raise hell. And, this is barely the start of the end-game.

    Anyone who hasn’t, should read The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists – http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3608 – For over a century the policy has been to socialize the losses (search for the scam on Mugsborough Electric, and contrast it with the Gas Company). And, naturally, privatise the profits.

    • The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists

      It should be a MANDATORY requirement to read the The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists because this is where we are heading back to – all our hard won reforms since this book was written are being steadily eroded bit-by-bit. Evil policies of a ruling class being implemented by traitorous lackeys in return for their 30 pieces and some shiny baubles.

  14. i dont know wot the answer is but its a bloody nightmare trying to find accomadation on a budget esp claimeing houseing benefits i know have a good and fair landlord in londo who specialises in hb he,s not my pal he,s a bussiness men ..but he,s doing wot the councils now cant do he,s getting people of the streets the flats are clean and nice he,s fair a good guy,but ive had 5 years of accomadation hell with scum private landlords and even worse letting agencys who have treated me like a piece of shit holding there hands out for my money [palm up of course] the lieying to me,cheating me and evicting me and ive allways been a good clean quiet tennant..im so thankfull and lucky now ive found a fair landlord..but my sympathys go out to the people still trapped in that cycle ..good luck

  15. Pingback: 2012: A Year of Lies and Blunders at the DWP Part 1 | the void

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  18. Pingback: ‘We won’t reduce the rent … We’ll kick them out’: Research Reveals Landlord’s Response to Housing Benefit Reform | the void

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