On housing benefit changes

Karen Buck, MP for Westminster North, said the changes would result in a mass \”exodus\” of families from districts such as Westminster, Chelsea, Fulham and Islington.

Err, yes, that\’s rather the point.

We rightly, and righteously, subsidise the purchase of food for those who do not have enough money to pay for food.

We do not, however, subsidise the purchase of caviar.

Living in the most expensive boroughs in the country is the housing equivalent of caviar. No, we really shouldn\’t be taxing households making £20,000 a year to provide £20,000 a year in rent subsidies to just one household.

One little number for you: housing benefit costs £700 per taxpayer per year.

9 thoughts on “On housing benefit changes”

  1. It always struck me as interesting that Labour do so badly around London, but so well inside London. Karen Buck is of course, a Labour MP, and is probably afraid that all of her voters are going to have to leave…

  2. Wasn’t it Peter Mandelson’s grandfather who planned to force the Tories out of London with their council house projects?

    Revenge is a dish best served cold…….

  3. The article mentions the upward spiral of rents in these areas since 2000, but doesn’t try to analyse why that is. However, there is a tendency for some landlords to demand excessive rents, knowing that the taxpayer will be forced to pay. This is how a family of asylum seekers demanded, and got, a £2M villa to live in, despite being already housed elsewhere, purely on the grounds that they wanted to move to a nicer area.

  4. Agreed, except for the last bit – two thirds of HB is paid to local councils or HA’s is a meaningless figure as it’s money shuffled between government departments. The only relevant figure is net cash cost of social housing minus rents collected from non-HB claimants, and this is figure is next to nothing.

    I think we are all agreed that rent subsidies push up rents. I also think it’s fairly uncontentious to say that a tax is the opposite of a subsidy.

    So it’s strange that most people think that a tax on land values would push up rents. If a subsidy pushes them up, then surely a tax would depress them, if anything?

  5. “Agreed, except for the last bit – two thirds of HB is paid to local councils or HA’s is a meaningless figure as it’s money shuffled between government departments.”
    Not really as presumably if we didn’t pay HB for some to live in a council flat – we could rent it to someone who would pay rent. Unless of course councils can not find paying tenants which I doubt.

  6. surely the real issue being ignored is is that the house was previously on the market for £1000pw, but when the relative of the associate of our asylum seeker worked out who could pay the rent it suddenly became £2000? Like the £2m house in Ealing in a previous example, the rental yield paid by local authorities (ie us) seems to come under no scrutiny whatsoever. Can’t help feeling though that this case has been “discovered” to garner popular support for the rental cap just announced…

  7. Even if people have no money to eat, making others who do hand over money so that they may eat is still theft.

  8. Many areas of Central London are unnaturally skewed due to the distortions of the HB and “social housing” concept.

    Yes, Monty and MarT, I am in Ealing and that story was a choker.

    It was a massive bill. She had an enormous family that could just fit into a large-ish 3/4 bedroom house and then she got a 6/7 room mansion. For what? producing babies? Apart from the sheer size and quality of her accommodation, the landlord was making use of the Simple Shopper that is the State.

    The landlord is not to blame.
    The claimant is in many ways not to blame.

    Both are rational actors.

    The State is an irrational and incompetent actor.

    Just cutting the amounts will move the problem outwards, the issue of living space needs to be addressed, or should I say removed as an entitlement. The idea of overcrowding should not be a major factor if that person has intentionally overcrowded their home through the acquisition or procreation of relatives and dependants.

  9. A lot of housing benefit dependent buy-to-let businesses who have interest-only-mortgages will got bust very quickly once the cap on payout and the 30 percentile rule become law.


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