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Throw the poor out of the South!

Large swaths of southern England will become off limits to housing benefit recipients in a little more than a decade because of the government\’s proposed plans to cut welfare bills – triggering a huge migration of the poor to the north – according to a study by housing experts.

The work, by the Chartered Institute of Housing, shows that before 2025 rents on most two-bedroom properties in the south will become unaffordable to those claiming local housing allowance.

Within 15 years, much of London\’s commuter belt will become too expensive for the state to pay for the poor to live in. Towns such as Chelmsford, Newbury, Bath and Maidstone would be no-go areas for those on benefits and all of Hertfordshire would be out of bounds. The capital would be unaffordable within a decade.

Gosh, that\’s wonderful! The poor will all live Oop North, with their barms and cobs and flat capped whippets while we middle class types can enjoy the South. And of course this will lower the streesses and strains of society: comparisons are always made against those you live cheek by jowl with. Being away from the Jones\’ means you don\’t try to keep up with them, reducing that appalling status anxiety that The Spirit Level identifies as the major problem our society faces.

However, there is a fly in the ointment, a block on this path to an ever more perfect world.

Because rents rise at an average of 5% a year,

That\’s the assumption that they have made. And it\’s a wrong \’un. It may well be true that rents have risen at that rate: wouldn\’t be all that surprising that as capital values of housing have risen then the returns available from renting them out have risen. Also wouldn\’t be all that surprising the other way around: that rising rents have led to rising capital values.

But there\’s nothing in the economists\’ secret decoder ring that says that rents will always continue to rise at 5%.

For example, no one predicted the 80% growth in housing benefit over the last decade

Well quite: we would expect a rise in subsidies to rent to lead to an increase in rents. We\’d also expect to see the reverse: a fall in such subsidies leading to a fall in said rents.

Which means that the basic calculation they\’ve done is false. Which then, sadly, means that we will still have the poor, dropped aitches n\’all, around us in the south of our green and pleasant land.

Didn\’t they nail some bloke to a tree years ago for saying you\’ll always have the poor with you?

9 thoughts on “Throw the poor out of the South!”

  1. I sometimes wonder where these people study economics. Can they really believe that cause and effect is so simple. Yep, all the poor are going to shuffle away and the residences are going to fill up with new rich people who come from WHERE?
    Maybe their commission drops if the rent drops. Can’t have that. better talk up the problems. Self-servers all.

  2. Bath, Newbury, Chelmsford and Maidstone? When was the last time that Bath was affordable for the poor? Certainly not in the 20 years that I’ve lived near it.

  3. But Polly Toynbee told us this was the Final Solution, so all the poor people will be turned into soap and felt and therefore won’t need to rent anywhere.

  4. Housing benefit is not only a public subsidy to the landlords, but also to underpaying employers. If, for example, the banks in London find it hard to get office cleaners once these changes come in, they can either pay the cleaners more, clean their own offices or move out of London.

  5. Since the cost of living is much less ‘oop North’ they’ll be better off anyway. For example, Tesco were advertising their own-brand butter substitute in the national press yesterday for 70p a tub. If you go into our branch of Tesco (in leafy Berkshire) it’s actually 98p. But then (as the advertisement states in tiny print) “prices may vary”. Guess where it’s 70p; yes, in Bury according to my whippet-owning contact.

  6. Ed,

    I agree. In Polly Twaddle’s ‘final solution’ piece she suggested it was perfectly right and proper for taxpayers to be subsidising that there London’s cleaners. She should bloody well pay her cleaner a proper wage!

  7. I think the great freeze of 1962-3 started on Boxing Day and finished in March. The primitive toilets at my primary school kept freezing.

  8. Surely, Tim, we will have the poor, but less off in certain areas and sometimes of a different sort.

    The real scandal of inner London being the preserve of Millionaires and benefit recipients is totally lost on those who talk of “social cleansing”, forgetting that their taxation and the monopolistic housing agenda it funds has driven working lower- and, middle-middle classes out due to the inability to afford a home.

    The perversity! The dissonance!* Astonishing that those on the Left can complain about this. What if one group lived off the toil of others, forcing them to commute miles in crowded conditions unfit for pigs for slaughter after getting up in darkness most of the year so the sweat off their brow can be taken by force to enable pet voters to live moments away from jobs they cannot be bothered to perform nor train for? Where are the Left in support of THEM? Oh, is it they suspect they won’t vote for their policies? Not a downtrodden dependent they can condescend to?

    Protecting the mass from the minority and the minority from the mass are equally important and you do this by protecting the individual.

    What you don’t do is set things up so ham-fisted, the funder so disconnected from the receiver, using dysfunctional systems and processes, that the honest and genuinely in need end up stigmatised. Isn’t their life bad enough already?

    For sure, had the Tories put forward this HB reform in their manifesto, we might well not be seeing a Coalition but a Tory govt.

    * but one must remember to be a Leftie, one must be hardened to a constant cacophony.

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