Polly Toynbee jailed for housing overconsumption

Yes! Victory!

What else could this story be about?

A day in court showed me the misery of Britain’s housing policy
Polly Toynbee

Inhabiting, as she does, a vast South London Georgian, what with the country estate in Umbria, it is only right that now the children are grown and out of the family home that she should be jugged for her gross overconsumption of that limited resource, housing.

So, well done to the law there then.

Hmm, what? Yes, OK, joyous thought that would be, the reality is rather funnier:

Failing to claim, along with benefit delays and errors, lay at the heart of almost every case that day. That’s usual, says the solicitor. These are not scroungers, not the ones TV’s Benefits Street seeks out, but those who fall into debt through not claiming, out of ignorance or pride.

So, the actual problem is not that the State is not generous enough, that the poor have no welfare state to fall back upon. It’s that some do not fall back upon what is available, and the State is incompetent to boot.

Not exactly an argument for more State, is it?

18 thoughts on “Polly Toynbee jailed for housing overconsumption”

  1. If they weren’t claiming benefit before how have they got into debt when the benefit they weren’t claiming has reduced?

  2. “Last, a woman comes in walking crookedly and sits rocking violently, trying to explain her mental problems: she has a small son and has only just applied for housing benefit, but if it’s not backdated she’ll lose their home. Looking at her obvious illness, how could a jobcentre have refused her disability pay?”

    Errr, because they aren’t medically qualified, and the person who refused them is..?

  3. jgh, this here might just be a clue:

    “Universal credit, slowly rolling out now, was supposed to make benefits rise and fall automatically with fluctuating incomes, but it has made tenants less secure: so far 89% of those on universal credit have fallen into arrears, their rent no longer paid direct to landlords.”

    Translation: feckless benefit monkeys given money for rent spent it on Stella, Sky & smartphones instead.

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    JuliaM – ““Last, a woman comes in walking crookedly and sits rocking violently, trying to explain her mental problems: she has a small son and has only just applied for housing benefit”

    Is it just me or is Polly writing about the wrong victim? Somehow I feel that small son has a real story to tell.

    I shall now watch Doctor Zhivago again and imagine a Workers’ Committee set up to manage her homes.

  5. Of course she goes to Clerkenwell and Shoreditch “county” court, in the centre of London, where housing demand is highest. She might see a very different picture if she attended court in e.g. Northampton. Or she might not; point is, she never bothers to look at the rest of Britain outside zone 2.

  6. Bloke in North Dorset

    “He hasn’t worked for five years, since an accident at work, and now suffers mental problems. “Bereavement,” he says. “I’ve never claimed anything, until now,” he adds, as if that were a defence. So how has he survived? “Friends helped out, selling stuff, odds and ends.” Finally, he was prodded by others to claim his £73.10 jobseeker’s allowance, and he may get disability pay. “I think I’m waiting for a letter from the mental health team,” he says. What tipped him over the edge financially was the bedroom tax, another 14% on his rent for the spare room after the family deaths. Now he has a notice to quit.”

    And that’s bollocks. It my well have brought forward the day of reckoning but it didn’t push him over the edge.

  7. Actually, it’s quite encouraging if some people who could claim, don’t.

    It shows that there are still some with self-respect and a degree of independent thinking, who would rather not be sucking at the State’s teat.

    I can entirely see how Polly would find this a problem – it means her viewpoint is not yet universal.

  8. Wow yer actual Class War !People on here, who no doubt benefit from deliberate house price inflation by all political parties to buy votes, vilify poor tenants who don’t get or even claim State benefits.

  9. Ian Duncan Twat has made a bigger mess out of a system that was already a mess. Some who are on their uppers via bad luck rather than feckless idleness will doubtless suffer because of the chrome-domed soldier-boy’s bungling and stupidity.

    ” Everyone here is in danger of losing their home.

    The duty solicitor from Shelter gets just a few minutes to collect each person’s details before presenting their case to the judge to stop an eviction for rent arrears. That’s not long to extract difficult life stories from nervous people. He checks with the usher and smiles with relief: today it’s the nice judge. Every 90 seconds last year a renter faced legal proceedings and 99,000 ended up evicted, mainly due to rising rents and housing benefit cuts. Enfield tops the list, but Peterborough and Rochdale are high too.

    First up is a 63-year-old man who creeps into the consulting room to perch anxiously on a chair. He brings such an air of despair he seems enveloped in a grey fog of depression. He has £2,737 of rent arrears for his two-bed flat. How did that happen? He sighs. His mother and sister died in the flat last year.”

    Alright–unless they were both junkies OD’d on the same bad stuff–that is a quite unlikely circumstance. And I can understand that the bloke’s mind might suffer a bit

    “He hasn’t worked for five years, since an accident at work, ”

    ok –lets accept that–there seem to be a lot of such accidents going around but lets accept it.

    “and now suffers mental problems. “Bereavement,” he says.”

    Ok–could certainly be true.

    “I’ve never claimed anything, until now,” he adds, as if that were a defence”

    It is also obviously not true because how would the Bedroom Tax affect him if it were. Pol–the liar–says that it was “the last straw”–see below.

    . “So how has he survived? “Friends helped out, selling stuff, odds and ends.” Finally, he was prodded by others to claim his £73.10 jobseeker’s allowance, and he may get disability pay. “I think I’m waiting for a letter from the mental health team,” he says. What tipped him over the edge financially was the bedroom tax, another 14% on his rent for the spare room after the family deaths. Now he has a notice to quit.”

    There is more here than is being let on. The bloke may need some help but that is obscured by Pol’s attempt at tear-jerking.

    “The judge notes this man’s mental state, agrees there is a small technical mistake in the landlord’s application and grants a 28-day adjournment to give Shelter time to try to sort out his affairs. If not, he will be out.”

    Not at all unreasonable.

    “Next comes a grandmother, who cares full time for her 10-year-old grandson”

    Is this the result of a tragedy?–or because the actual
    parent(s) don’t give a shit?

    “and has fallen £3,948 into arrears. She works in Tower Hamlets council’s kitchen – but it’s zero hours with unpredictable income, so sometimes she hasn’t paid the rent.”

    This woman–if the report can be accepted at face value–is trying to work. But is being given little help by TH council–TH being a zone where socialism and islam rule.

    “Next, the mother of a two-year-old has arrears after she lost all her housing benefit because the department of work and pensions thinks she’s a student, but she isn’t: she works in customer services. If she loses her home the council will have to put them up in a bed and breakfast, costing far more.”

    Single with a child. Unless the result of another tragedy or misfortune she has saddled herself–and the taxpayer–with difficult circs. Had she avoided pregnancy she could be a student–hopefully of something useful–and be on her way to a better life. Also bureaucratic bungling seems to have helped put this case on the docket.

    “Failure to claim benefits, along with delays and errors, lay at the heart of almost every case that day

    Not so far Pol–you are such a liar.

    “A self-employed man in arrears has been paying for his breakdown truck to get business going on his own, but his income is unpredictable: he has never thought to claim housing benefit.”

    All hail the bloke for trying to work. Piss on ZaNu and BluLab for creating poor trading conditions such that the bloke cannot earn enough from his trade. Of course he may be a poor worker. But in a free market society, unless one is a complete failure/imbecile, it is nearly always possible to be of some level of use and earn some level of income. That is nullified by the ever higher costs imposed by the scum-state. People with marginal skill-sets are forced into the ordure-soaked embrace of benefits–possibly by design.

    “A mother has debts after her daughter moved out”

    What’s the connection between those events–if any? Pol is a piss-poor journo.

    ” and she has to pay the bedroom tax: rent takes up 60% of her income.”

    Again doesn’t tell us if she could have avoided the court or not. Where is she living/what is her income/ what else does she spend on. Only such info would enable a decision as to her situation. Beyond Pol’s worthless assertions of victimhood.

    ” Only one case looks simple – a young single man who refuses to pay rent after a long-running dispute with his landlord over a wet carpet. Last, a woman comes in walking crookedly and sits rocking violently, trying to explain her mental problems: she has a small son and has only just applied for housing benefit, but if it’s not backdated she’ll lose their home. Looking at her obvious illness, how could a jobcentre have refused her disability pay?”

    If she is in so poor a state how will she look after the child she has come by? Is diagnosis doneby sight nowadays? Or can she cope fine so long as someone else pays?.

  10. Seems like a lot of cases where circumstances changed (bereavement, people moving out) and people didn’t change their lifestyle/accommodation and ended up in trouble. Now I appreciate if you’ve lived somewhere for 20 odd years and then the family moves out and/or dies you might want to stay there and maybe people should be allowed to for some level of transition time, but that’s another issue. Plenty of people who don’t rent downsize or make changes as their life changes so why should social housing be different.

  11. Anecdata: I was a tax credits call centre worker back in 2009 roughly when a lot of new claims were coming in from people who had either lost a job, or taken pay cuts to keep their existing jobs several months before.
    I was a little surprised how many had been eligible for some benefit already and were missing out due to backdating rules.

    Even under Brown there was a reticence to benefit dependency from a lot of people of Great Britain. Still one of the best dozen or so countries there has ever been.

  12. Congratulations to many of the cuntributors above who have dispensed with that mealy mouthed British hypocrisy and come right out with their hatred of anybody without any money especially when they attempt to get something for nothing from the state. Getting guaranteed unearned untaxed capital gains in the value of their houses worth more per year than the average income is of course TOTALLY DIFFERENT which only public-school riff raff have the class of education to understand. Or the special kind of brain.

  13. Ok, serious question DBCR, and one I’ve asked for ever (and would love to have asked it of Brown).

    I own my own house, and have children.

    Talk me through the benefits of house price inflation?

  14. Another spittle flecked rant by one of societies less mentally capable members DBCR.
    People are getting fed up of the usual fact free, student activist style article from someone who is nominally a journo.
    Whats the Grauniads motto again?
    Ah yes, “Comment is free, but facts are sacred”
    So what actual facts are presented by la Toynbee? Well they are rather scarce on the ground.
    How is one to judge if these people are genuinely victims of a poor dysfunctional system, or merely feckless dolts expecting other people to pay for their life of idleness?
    I certainly couldn’t from the information presented in this article.

    The thing is, lots of people are now getting seriously peeved by this type of article, which is simply a rather thinly disguised attack on the Conservatives and those of conservative attitudes. Can’t have the proles being made to take responsibility for their own lives and actions, can we?

  15. Funny how the landlords are ignored as they are assumed to be there to provide something for free.

    I mean, they are obviously privileged/neoliberal/rogue/etc…

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