The Legacy of Grant Shapps – Soaring Rents, Homelessness and Housing Benefit Costs

Grants Shapps’ claims that Housing Benefit caps would lead to lower rents have been demolished by a report published this week by the National Housing Federation (NHF).

The NHF warn in stark terms that rents are soaring, a trend they believe will continue and lead to millions of people unable to afford to buy, or rent a home in the near future. The Evening Standard also warned last week that rents across London are at an all time high, having risen 6.2% in the last year. In Hammersmith and Fulham, one of the boroughs most impacted by the government’s caps on Housing Benefit, rents have soared by 15%.

Speaking about the housing benefit caps, Grant Shapps, when he was Minister for Housing, claimed that: “Rather than some of the catastrophic predictions that have been made, what’s much more likely is that rents will start to fall.”

The Housing Benefit caps were justified by lurid stories claiming people were living in Chelsea mansions whilst claiming benefits at a cost to the tax payer of thousands every month. The truth was that this represented a literal handful of homeless families who were in emergency temporary accommodation in expensive ares of London.

The housing benefit caps were set at a far lower rate than the cost of a Kensington town house and resulted in much of London becoming unaffordable for those claiming full housing benefit awards. The impact of these changes has barely begun to be felt and already every measure of homelessness in rising.

Whilst central London is socially cleansed an influx of housing benefit tenants into outer London boroughs and the home counties will mean soaring demand for rental properties. The impact of the housing benefit caps will be higher rents for everybody as competition for what few low cost rental properties exist intensifies.

The National Housing Federation also report on the huge rise in the number of people claiming Housing Benefit who are in work. In just three years the number of people claiming the benefit to top up wages has grown by 417,830 people. According to the report this number is increasing by 10,000 people a month.

Whilst rising rents are undoubtedly to blame for some of this increase, it hides a larger truth. Unemployment, we are led to believe is falling. Yet the number of people who need to claim Housing Benefit, a benefit based on income rather than employment status, is rocketing.

This apparent paradox is easily explained. The fall in unemployment has been largely down to people being sent on workfare, part time jobs, and the record number of people registering as self-employed. All of these people still need to claim Housing Benefit, because even if they are ‘officially’ working, they aren’t making any fucking money.

The Government plans even more cuts to Housing Benefits, with the threat to remove the right to a home for those under 25. Already people under 35 are now only permitted to claim for a room in a shared house. A perfect storm is coming which may yet see record numbers of homeless people once again hitting the streets of London and other large cities.

Despite the brutal cuts the Housing Benefit bill is rising. The Government’s policies so far have led to more homelessness, higher rents and more government spending on housing benefits. The only people to benefit have been greedy landlords (like Chris Grayling) who are pulling out all the stops to cash in on this Government’s housing shambles.

19 responses to “The Legacy of Grant Shapps – Soaring Rents, Homelessness and Housing Benefit Costs

  1. Decades ago – I used to lament that the UK had become a country where the only economic activity (aside from casino banking) was people buying and selling each other’s houses (and ‘property porn’ is still big on our TV screens) – and very rich people knowing their ‘investment portfolios’ and pensions were tanking (banks were too busy gambling to act as er…. traditional banks anymore) got into buy-to-lets to give themselves a pension… so that made rents steeply rise as tenants were expected to pay off their landlords mortgage AND a tidy profit on top. Now central London is even further obscenely over-heated as wealthy Europeans – scared that the Euro zone is about to implode are ploughing most of their money into bricks and mortar…
    Amid all that flurry of activity – it’s been forgotten that there are more and more people who just need a roof over their heads – who are the victims of a group of already too-rich but still insanely greedy idiots. We’re in the middle of a massive bubble that is going to pop sooner or later. Leaving millions in abject misery. All thanks to the top 10%

  2. The bubble has already popped. We’re in free-fall now.

  3. What I cant understand is that people had the chance to perform mass civil disobedience last Sunday against this fascist Nazi Government, over all these cuts, misery, homelessness, workfare, unemployment etc etc. What an utter dissapointment – no riots, no displays of anger and disobedience. Hardly a mention on the news, the fucking horse racing was more important to the BBC than the protests in London.
    People know what they need to do, obviously this Government aint hurting of them yet – moaning about the govt and how wicked it is on the internet wont get rid of them. Serious organised rioting and carnage in London – right on their fucking doorsteps is needed. Where is the anger? where is the rage? cos It wasnt there on Saturday last was it. Marching about with banners will do nothing – this Government arent listening.
    There was the power and energy in London last weekend to kick this vile Government’s ass, but it came to a miserable anticlimax. What’s the matter with people? IDS is winning his battle over the poor, and the poor are just lying down and letting him savage them. I despair.

    • People are scared to stand out, its like painting a bullseye on your head and saying shoot me..You could be sanctioned for anything.. speaking out could be termed not engaging with the programme. thats why people are scared to speak out.. its why i use a false name on sites because i am scared silly.

      • It’ll be up to the kids and teenagers to do it then, like they did last year. If they did it then, they could do it again, as they are treated just as shit by this govt as the older ones of us. Wait till next year, when all their families are due to get evicted due to benefit caps and sanctions, and these kids have no money to even eat – they’ll riot then, for sure. IDS might have older people like yourself eating out of his hand, to scared to even fart in case you get sanctioned, but the younger members of society wont stand for it, they have a lot less to lose by rioting.

        • Rioting is a serious criminal offence, man… if you get caught doing this shit you go like to the supermax for like years man… why shud I get a seriousness criminal record and fucked up 4 the rest of ma life 4 a load of strangers who dont give a fuck about us kids. Fight ur own battles, man… n stop makin excuses why u cant leave ur armchair…

          • I broke my foot coming out for the student/EMA protests you cheeky fucker

            seriously though, a lot of us do give a shit, we have kids ourselves, or even if we dont we know that young people are one of the groups getting fucked over most by this government

          • Like hell does it get you banged up in the supermax lol – I bet most of the teenagers that rioted last year got a slap on the wrist and community service for trashing parts of London. Made them sit up and listen though didnt it. When you kids get your JSA sanctioned and cant afford the latest fashions because of this vindictive cunt IDS, what are you going to do about it. WHen your parents are being kicked out of their rented house next year because IDS has cut your housing benefit, what are you going to do about that?
            How the hell can I riot in London when I live near Manchester, and cant afford the travelling to get down there. If its kicks off near where I live I would gladly join in, but I cant riot on my own can I – these things need organising by professionals. But I guess we will have to wait till the cuts bite much harder and affect more people before people get off their arses and riot, because Mass Rioting is the only answer now to this fascist Nazi Tory Government.

    • Pensioners with Molotovs

      I totally agree with everything you’ve said here, absolutely, what the fuck is wrong with people in this the country? One of the conclusions I draw is that the British are just hardwired to defer to any authority no matter how corrupt, and a great many are just complacent narcissistic ‘hand held’ mobile phone fucking zombies, who don’t care about anything. Also the right wing press exert an enormous but wholly disproportionate influence on people, to the extent that when questioned in polls many people trot out the same right wing propaganda that they’ve been fed half their lives as if it was their own opinions. Just look at that turd swallower Brendan Barber, he just lives to be potrayed positively in the Telegraph or the Mail. The TUC exist to control working class anger and lead it absolutely nowhere “Oh well, at least we tried, never mind eh…back to the workhouse I guess”. The British are just fucking weak and stupid. Those happy clappy marches as if it was a village fete make me want to puke

      There’s a very good reason that the charge of Riot is the top public order offence and that it carries such a hefty sentence, it’s because it has the power to bring down the government, why do so few people realise this? Can you imagine Milli Bland extolling the virtues of the riot, a history lesson in the power of the riot to deliver something meaningful for the citizenry….. No. Neither can I. Oh well, back to the workhouse

  4. Jonny on the ehrc homepage it has got new age discrimination laws from 1st Oct, new provisions in the equality act come into force,

  5. something survived...

    >>All of these people still need to claim Housing Benefit, because even if >>they are ‘officially’ working, they aren’t making any fucking money.
    This is so true, I wanted it repeated.

    The government tells you to ask your landlord to reduce your rent. This is a surefire way of getting yourself evicted. Then of course you get housing benefit or emergency help/housing refused because of ‘deliberately making yourself homeless’. If someone leaves due to domestic violence, or being assaulted/abused by the landlord or another tenant, that is also ‘deliberately making yourself homeless’. So is not being able to pay the rent because your Housing Benefit didn’t turn up on time or because it isn’t enough. The people I know who are in a battle not to be evicted, because they are gay and their landlord – who is against gays – is trying to get rid of them? The council has warned them if they are evicted they will not be helped, as it sees it as their own fault for being gay! (None is in a relationship with another tenant) It’s not unimaginable that an existing tenant in private sector rented accommodation could be illegally evicted if they started a (heterosexual) relationship with a person of another ethnic group or another religion.

    Much of the time your benefits come late and go straight out on paying SOME of your rent, without covering bills (incurring bank charges), and with no money then left for food or travel. The government reckon £142 for a fortnight (JSA in oldest age group) is like a big wad of cash. Sure it looks like one if you have not eaten for days. But often you know it will cover half your rent only, and you cannot even spend any of it on food because then you will owe the landlord and the bank even more.

    That lot (Boris Johnson and so on) probably can spend £142 in the blink of an eye on another Big Dinner, or a taxi ride or a night in a hotel. They have absolutely no clue what it is like having a variable amount per calendar month to live on (rent and bills don’t vary though!), from £330 in the leanest months to around £500-odd in a ‘good’ month. If your rent was £300 for example, in the worst months you would be left £30 per month for bills and all your food! So do you go without paying bills, or go without eating? (I won’t ask Boris Johnson, he can barely count his feet.)

    He doesn’t even have the excuse of ‘not being in London’. Ever tried to buy a crappy sandwich there lately? I tried the other day. Many places wanted £6.20. The cheapest I found, were a little cheaper than the ones sold in my ‘backwater’ (the ‘cheapest place to live in the UK’???), but their quality was terrible and I didn’t buy them. Later ‘Virgin’ (cut price slag) charged me a massive amount for a tiny yogurt that was 90% water, 10% dairy, with a couple of fruit seeds and no fruit. Big dinners for Branson! I saw the rents in London can be, for a condemned shack with damp and rats, more than a month’s benefits per week. Travel costing what it does, I can only get to London once a year now. The closest proper restaurant to where I was staying, wanted £12 per starter (salad) and £20 per main course (in my case also more salad). I couldn’t even afford this year to eat at the budget cafes, and ended up eating pasta salad from Tesco on one night, went hungry 2 nights, one yogurt per night the other 2 nights. The pasta salad was the closest I got to an actual meal, but my pack was nearly my own weight and I had to walk and run. The underground ticket was twice as expensive as the journey to and from London!

    Has Boris ever had to put back some Reduced (19p) vegetables and a box of rice because he can’t afford it? Put back a packet of economy pasta? Wondered whether to risk eviction by paying the TV licence before the rent, or not pay the licence in time (in order to owe less rent), and be in trouble for that AND get a £45 bank charge?

    I should be grateful I suppose. Today I did in fact eat. Yes, I saw in the road a small biscuit in an unopened packet. It had been run over and reduced to crumbs. On Monday night I ate too: a few grapes I found in the road. (true) If anyone in the government thinks we have it easy they are welcome to swap.

    • TV Licence Free

      Don’t fucking waste your money on a fucking TV licence – just ignore the tv licensing “enforcers”, they have no more rights than a doorstep salesperson. NO CONTACT!!

  6. To tv licence free – tell this to my son who had his car clamped because the tv licence authority took my son to court over a tv licence his ex wife took the money out of the bank to purchase but never did, all of the debts he found she had not paid when he was married to her came back to him when he left as all were in his name and she had hid court letters or bailiffs letters from him.
    I have fed and clothed him for two years while he paid off most of these debts some of which he still owes, but he was only working part-time and had bailiffs charge extra hundreds of pounds to unclamp his car if he missed a payment due to his employer paying his wages in to the bank late, not to mention bank charges this incurred also. All of these bailiffs are being given a licence to rob by the courts who pass these unknown debts to debt collectors.

  7. For those with long memories, it was them there Tories ( natch) who ran a coach & horses through pre-existing socially responsible housing law in the 1980s and 90s; destroying tenants’ rights, loading the eviction dice heavily in favour of their own breed ( landlards). Introducing new law onto the statute book that makes it easy to get shut of tenants at 2 months notice. Abolishing the Protected Tenancy whereby provided tenant keeps his nose clean he can stay in his home more or less as long as he likes ( The European model to this day).
    Abolishing rights & creating insecurity always has been the Tories’ fascist agenda trademark, whether those of tenants, workers or consumers. Stack the odds heavy in favour of their own – the exploitation class – and wield the big state stick willy-nilly at anyone breaking the law protesting.
    Nail the workers to the floor with Draconian pay, conditions & sacking law, then force the unemployed out shit-shovelling for nowt.
    Works for the rich!

  8. United StereoTypes of Unemployment (U.S.T.U)

    Is the Houses of (Parli/Lords) owned by anybody or is it leased/ rented?

  9. Pingback: 2012: A Year of Lies and Blunders at the DWP Part 2 | the void

  10. I_am_Spartacus


    PERFECT STORM INDEED…the winds are gathering, the depression is LOW ! “Arbeit macht frei!” they cry. Fuck them fuck them all.
    They’re hunting in packs at JCP, at the DWP, in the Council offices and in the Town Halls, at the Bailiff Offices in the Pawn Brokers and the Loan sharks/pay-day shops (now that’s a luagh). All I have to do lately is walk through the door at the JCP (I am not the problem) and the jackals target me, wihout shame, openly and with prejudice…why becamnsue they can (or so they think). All because I have a bakcbone and won;t allow myself to be bullied. Be the last breath in my body before I donl’t. Jobs worth mini-hitlers, overpaid, arrogant and cruel. Found out recently most have never or only ever rarely been out of work, lots have been allowed to continue in their drain from the poublic purse for decade afater decade, some even draw more than the queens shilling, they’re given the scrappy d00 ‘megal’ FUCK ! Few actually know what a hard days work is…they’ve never ahd to do it so why shoudl they start now. They don;t work for their money. They think we have it easy. How wrong they are. They’re not expected to use people skills or make sound reasoned judgments. They say they’re only following the system, the orders of their puppet masters for whom they glady trade brutalities. Their persecutions of those they see as weak and open to their abuse (they call them sanctions) go unchecked. Nonone to my knowlege has ever been held accountable for incompetence or hostilties of the custoemrs (YES WE ARE) rife, especially amongst the managers. The service is rotten and our politicans corrupt, lazy and uncaring. Bring them to their kneeds by sacking them all, repalce them with competent humantiarians (Jedi if you must) and see the nation riise.
    I struggle to remain positive, frustration makes us angry. Anger is always dangerous. God save us ….. Good save us all, for the hardship that we are subjected to, for it cuts into our very existence and that of the ones we love, Why you ask have I become so disillusioned, all of the above but most of all because I am deemd only worth £3 a day for all my needs such as food, clothing, fuel, water, electricity etc. I live in a UK which openly prommotes bigotry, isoaltion, poverty, deprivation, hunger, despair and all the things I;ve worked hard ALL MY LIFE to overcome and yet I have no voice. Tigers are more dangerous when they’re old. They’re unware (‘cos good people turn a blind eye thinking least it’s not themselves) of the tide or human resentment, and blind to the misery they are orchestrating. How negligent of them. How pompous and how nonchlent they are. They think because there’s only a few million of us they can ship us all under the pretext “Arbeit Macht Frei”

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