Tag Archives: Housing Benefit Reforms

Iain Duncan Smith – Lying and Stupid

We like to give people the benefit of the doubt so we recently posed the question of whether Iain Duncan Smith was lying about Housing Benefit or just a bit thick.  The answer turns out to be both.

It was yesterday revealed that baldyman had lied about the source of his claim that the rental market was falling except for those rents paid by Local Housing Allowance (LHA).  He claimed the statistics he used came from the Office of National Statistics.  They actually came from one property agent, owned by the Daily Mail.  Which coincidentally is where most of his policies come from.

Even most Daily Mail readers don’t really believe a lot of the crap they run on the front page (my nan just likes the crossword), but poor old baldyman appears to have swallowed it hook, line and sinker.  All those years locked up in his think tank, allegedly planning radical reform of the benefit system and it seems he was actually just sitting around reading the paper and watching Jeremy Kyle.  The lazy fucking scrounger.

The rental market it actually buoyant.  Local Housing Allowance rates seem to have little impact.  He is pursuing a policy that will cause mass homelessness and still cost a fortune.  And his plans for a Universal Credit are an even bigger joke.  But more of that later.

Meanwhile anger is growing.  IDS and his lib dem lapdog were met by protesters outside a homeless hostel in Camden this week.

Iain Duncan Smith – Lying or Stupid?

It’s becoming increasingly hard to tell.   Iain Duncan Smith has supposedly been working on benefit reform for ages, yet he still seems blissfully unaware of how Housing Benefit works.

He talks with great angst of poor families on 20k a year who couldn’t afford to live in city centres, whilst the poor cavort in our Mayfair mansions.  Does he not know that Housing Benefit is an in-work benefit?  Has he not realised that a family with two kids on 20k a year could claim over £200 a week in Local Housing Allowance in some areas?  Has he even bothered to actually look at the Housing Benefit rules?  Is he just really fucking thick?

Or is he just a lying piece of Tory scum?

Won’t pay, Won’t leave – The Real Cost of Those Housing Benefit Reforms

With anti-cuts protests starting to take hold across the country it seems as good a time as any to have a closer look at what the new Housing Benefit reforms are likely to mean in practice.

Firstly some home truths. The Sunday Mirror has revealed that of the one million people these cuts will affect, approximately 250,000 people are working and a further 50,000 are pensioners. The rest comprise of single parents, people with disabilities, those who are sick and the unemployed. With the recently announced job losses, it could well be safe to add another million to that figure.

So already that’s 4% of the country who may face losing their home. Toadying Lib Dem minions and their Tory overlords claim that this is scare-mongering. Proving to be both witless and chinless, Tory parasite Grant Shapps has said: “Some people will face a shortfall in their rental payments but in many cases they will be able to make up the difference themselves.”

Perhaps the thick, offensive fucker doesn’t realise that most benefit claimants and low wage earners don’t have any of their own money. We don’t have trust funds, rich parents, Tax Exempt Savings Account and Health Insurance. We don’t have fuck all. That’s kind of the point. Someone living on $65 quid a week who could be facing losing over a third of that isn’t scare mongering when they say they won’t be able to pay their rent. They are not being sensitive little flowers, or even rabid class warriors, they are simply poiting out a basic economic fact. Has anyone in this government of the rich seen the price of a fucking loaf of bread or looked at a gas bill recently? Perhaps they should ask the help.

The Tories and their dispicable lapdogs are set to pursue a series of ill thought out policies which won’t just result in misery, mass homelessness and destitution for the most vulnerable, they will also cost a fortune.

Let’s start with everyone’s favourite scapegoat, the single long term unemployed.

Those on Job Seekers Allowance for over one year face a ten percent cut in their Local Housing Allowance (LHA), the form of Housing Benefit most (but not all, more later) are claiming.

This means even those on modest rents are likely to find themselves a tenner a week short. Those in London or other inner-city areas who’ve managed to find properties below the caps could be facing a £25 a week cut from their weekly budget of £65. And it doesn’t stop there. The DWP has claimed that the decision to set Housing Benefit rates at the 30% rather than midpoint in the local market will cost the average claimant £9 a week. In many parts of the UK the figure could be much higher. So that’s some people’s incomes cut in half overnight. And there’s possibly still more to come with currently confusing talk about scrapping or curtailing Council Tax Benefit for claimants. This would allow a Tory Council, such as Westminster for example, to remove up to 10% of claimants Council Tax Benefit. Again this could cost a single JSA Claimant £25 a week. This would leave an impressive £1 a day for claimants to live on. Welcome to the third world.

Of course this is a worse case scenario. However the number of people on long term JSA is almost one million people and the number is rising fast. The number is set to rise even faster after single parents of chldren over 7 were moved over to JSA last week. The number will be greater still if Iain Duncan Smith manages to shift a million people off the sick and onto JSA – which is another story and one we will be examining in time.

So whilst a worst case scenario, it’s one that many people may find themselves facing soon. And we haven’t even mentioned the caps yet. Or the people between 25 and 34 currently living in their own flat who face having their benefits stripped and imminent homelessness. The outcome is likely to be unprecedented street homelessness, a return to the cardboard cities of the past and a rise in traveller sites and other itinerant lifestyles. And the subsequent costs of attempting to quash those lifestyles. More cops, more prisons, more expense.

‘Why should unemployed people be paid to live in £250 a week flats*, I wish I could afford a Central London flat’ read the letters in the right wing press (oblivious to the fact that Housing Benefit is available to those in work as well). Well people have to live somewhere, whether this is in a benefit subsidised flat, your doorway or the nice fields your back garden overlooks the poor will not just curl up and die just because some people want them to. Neither are they likely to find work, long term unemployment and homelessness, not being the greatest transferable skills that a job seeker may boast of as unemployment soars. The black economy will beckon, along with begging, squatting and crime. More cops, more prisons and more expense will duly follow.

* Quick reminder for the hard of thinking, when you hear claims of outrageous Housing Benefit claims, it’s the landlord that gets the fucking money, not the claimant. What the claimant usually gets is a shitty low cost flat from a flaky landlord who knows DSS tenants can’t afford to be too choosy.

But people should just move to cheaper areas cry the chinless ones. The problem is people can’t just move. A cursory scan of properties available for rent reveals two things. The first is the uniquitous phrase No DSS, present on almost Letting Agent windows, the second is the soaring demands for deposits, agency fees and rent in advance. This means to secure a new property many benefit claimants could be looking at finding two months rent (worst case scenario, two grand for a single person, renting at the levels of the caps in Westminster). That’s before basic removal expenses.

So they can’t just move. But what about the extra emergency funding bleat the Toffs. Yes folks, a whopping 10 million has just been set aside to address this problem in London. £10 million that will require a mountain of beaurocracy to access and if the London Councils figures are to be believed (and we believe them to be a massive under-estimation when all the new changes are taken into account), this works out at £40 per person affected by the cuts. Not that they will see it, with much of it already being swept up by London homeless charities who have long cared far more about following Westminster Council dictats and preserving their own salaries.

People can of course take direct action themsleves in the form of refusing to pay the shortfall in their rent, spend up to a year waiting for eviction hearings and bailiffs and then declare themselves as homeless with the local authority. This option, whilst only available to those with priority need i.e. kids, pensioners and those who are sick or diabled, will mean that the local authority has a statutory duty to house them in temporary accommodation immediately. This is why London Councils are currently block booking B&Bs on the south coast. But here’s some pure comedy. People housed in temporary accommodation by the Council are not paid Local Housing Allowance (LHA) but good old fashioned Housing Benefit, which is not subject to the caps.

This could mean, for example, that a family of four who’ve spent a year facing eviction from a grand a week Islington house, meaning personal trauma for the tenant and a big fuck off bill for the landlord (every cloud), could, as the system stands presently, simply be rehoused in the same house, at a cost of a grand a week. Or more depending on how charitable the landlord is feeling by this time. Most three year olds can join the dots better than this Government. So can Westminster Council who have started to lobby for amendments to the Housing Act in yet another attempt to punt homeless people in Westminster into their less well of neighbouring areas.

What does all this mean. For the hard nosed Tory scum out there, this means more bearocracy, bigger government, more forms, more checks, more appeals, more council snoopers, plus a whopping bill for landlords. Will these costs outweight the savings? Who knows, nobody’s even done the sums. What it does reveal is a government more concerned with smashing the welfare state than any cost cutting excercises.

And as to the social cost. Well apart from low income families being forced into poverty and homelessness, this will mean many of the working poor forced to move away from their work. With public transport fares set to rise may of them will no doubt realise it’s not worth the effort and look for jobs locally. The exporting of thousands of people, both the low waged and the unemployed, from areas of high employment into areas of low employment rates will bring devastating costs to some of the most deprived areas in the UK. And we haven’t even mentioned the public sector job losses.

But there is another factor still which will affect far more people than just benefit claimants. Many people seem to be under the apprhension that the Caps apply equally everywhere. This isn’t the case, the Caps only apply in areas where rents in the 30th percentile of the market are above the suggested caps. This means that you won’t be able to claim £250 a week for a one bed flat in downtown Bradford. Not yet anyway.

Whilst areas like Central London and other city centres are experiencing a bouyant rental market, the outlook in outlying areas is not so bright. With the recent recession and more lob losses to come, more landlords are likely to come round to the idea of renting to DSS Tenants. And, what luck, they can expect to see a flock of them after the poor are socially cleansed from the inner cities.

So as demand soars rents everywhere are likely to climb towards the levels of the caps. It ain’t rocket science after all. If you tell a group of children they can have three sweets each they will each take three sweets and landlords are likely to behave much the same way. How much this will push up rents in outlying areas (where most people live) is anybodys guess. No-one’s done the sums, again. What it is likely to mean is higher rents for benefit claimants and non claimants alike. And a much bigger Housing Benefit bill for everyone.

Our initial instinct back after the budget appears to be holding true. This shower of chinless wonders, cossetted as they have been by rich parents and public school, are simply not very clever. The Bullingdon boys and their fags may have a weird ideology based somewhere between Thatcher, the Daily Mail and Camberwick Green, but they aren’t even smart enough to pursue that properly. Not the sharpest tools in the box you might say (although they are tools). Imagine Tim ‘nice but dim’, except not very nice either. Not someone you’d want running a public bog, let alone a country.

Benefit Claimants Fight Back!

The Hidden Victims of Those Housing Benefit Reforms

Several months ago we published this piece outlining plans to scrap the £15 quid a week in cash that some people were getting on top of their Local Housing Allowance.

New Labourites, in their endless quest to teach the proles about freemarkets, decided that if you could find a property cheaper than the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate then you could pocket up to £15 of the difference. Then they decided that you wouldn’t be able to any more. It was estimated at the time that around 300,000 people were set to lose out.

So, after a bit of an outcry and with an election on the cards they decided that you still could. Then they lost the election.

So what happens now?

Well with LHA rates now being slashed to the 30th percentile it seems very likely that anyone who isn’t renting out a skip to live in will lose the cash. Whether the skip-dwellers get to hang onto any remaining payments is anyone’s guess. Osborne didn’t mention it and nowhere is it mentioned in the budget document. We assume that’s because the ignorant tory fuckwit doesn’t know about it. Gideon hasn’t done his homework. Again.

So it seems likely that up to 300,000 people on the lowest incomes could lose up to £15 a week. For those on Job Seekers allowance that is a cut of almost 20% in the cash they have to spend each week. The other groups that will be affected by this are pensioners, single parents and the disabled, which all sounds very familiar.

Whilst not as devastating as the other Housing Benefit cuts it’s worthy of mention particularly because all the fancy graphs being trailed in the press showing how much we’ll all be worse off have, like Osborne, almost certainly neglected to take this cut into account.

The only plus side to this whole shambles is that it is a shambles. Osborne and his chinless chums may have been wanking off over destroying the Welfare State since prep school, but this shower of shits ain’t no Thatcher and Tebbitt*. If Thatcher was the iron lady then Osborne is a soggy biscuit.

First one to make Cameron cry like a baby gets a free molotov.

We won’t pay for their crisis, but we will make them pay for ours.

* Disclaimer: Thatcher is a whithered old hag whose death cannot come soon enough and will be greeted by much rejoicing across the land. As for Tebbit, well he’s just a surplus cunt whose far from tragic demise will barely be noticed even amongst his own family.

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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