The Home Counties could soon be swamped by tens of thousands of families fleeing London due to this months benefit changes. With almost every London borough set to become unaffordable for families on benefits, many people will be sensibly looking to the surrounding areas to escape imminent homelessness.
The cap begins this months in Croydon, Bromley, Enfield and Haringey, meaning Surrey and Kent in the south and Hertfordshire and Essex in the north of London could be first to take the hit. Luckily the leafy home counties still have some reasonably priced accommodation for those on benefits who wish to remain within commuting distance of friends and family in London.
Take a look at this delightful 2 bedroom house in Mertsham, the perfect starter home for a young single mum looking to start a large family. Two single claimants wishing to escape London’s housing benefit caps could try this cottage – unsuitable for children due to ongoing renovations nearby – but ideal for a group of young unemployed friends who like the country air.
In reality Surrey residents should not be overly concerned about the upcoming influx. Far from the lurid tabloid portrayals, the vast majority of claimants are thoroughly decent people. Statistics show that those on sickness benefits are no more likely to commit crime than any other sector of the population.
Whilst claimants are no more likely to commit crime than anyone else, they are often high users of public services and so can be expensive. Despite this Government’s lies, many people on sickness and disability benefits are subject to the Benefit Cap and will need to leave the capital. GPs and hospitals across the South East are likely to see a surge in demand as a result. Some large families leaving London may not speak English as a first language, but Surrey’s excellent schools system should soon help clear that up.
The first mass influx will begin over the next few months as an estimated 40,000 families affected by the Benefit Cap will be forced to seek housing outside the capital. This is only likely to be the beginning however as soaring rents and shrinking benefits could mean soon almost all private sector tenants on benefits will be priced out of the capital. Hundreds of thousands of claimants could soon be making a move to Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Berkshire and Kent over the next few years.
Boris has been only too aware of the impact of the radical changes to Housing Benefits. Back in July 2010 he wrote to Iain Duncan Smith (tif file, spotted by @AnitaBellows12) about the likely impact of the unprecedented cuts. According to the Mayor, quarter of a million Londoners could be affected by the changes with many moving to ‘fringe’ areas of the capital. Since he wrote that letter the situation has become far worse, with the emergence of the Benefit Uprating Bill which will cap annual Housing Benefit rises at 1%. London rents rose by 7.9% over the last year.
Boris has spotted it will not just be poor inner Londoners affected but those in the leafy commuter belt, where some people actually voted for the clown.
And Tory voters in the Home Counties will only have themselves to blame as public services are overwhelmed and unemployment is exported out of the capital straight into their backyards. So desperate have they been to punish London’s poor with the badly thought out Benefit Cap, they have cut off their noses to spite their already chinless faces.
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