Well, yes, they would

Low-income tenants in the private rented sector face a “heat, eat or pay rent” problem

For they’re poor, d’ye see? That’s what it means, having to make choices within a constrained budget.

22 thoughts on “Well, yes, they would”

  1. Special pleading by an interest group.


    The problem is that people want to live in areas with absurdly high rents. For example, the Inner London 4 bed room housing benefit is £429 per week. This is a lot of money in that housing benefit alone comes to £22,300 per annum, which is a fair chunk of the median UK household disposable income in the UK (£27,300)


    Now if we look at rents in central London, if we paid the 30th percentile rent for a four bed house – it would £1,000 per week.


    It’s absurd to think that the taxpayer should pay this much.

  2. As far as I’m aware, London’s unique in this regard. Every other city I know, expensive areas are where people who can afford expensive areas live. The last place in London I lived was off the Bayswater Road, opposite Hyde Park. OK. Penthouse flat with roof terrace, but priced at a cool million & a half. Further down the same road’s a block of council flats seems to be inhabited mostly by diverse enrichment. It can’t even be an easy area to live if you’re not wealthy. There’s no real supermarkets or ordinary shops. Pretty well everything caters to the tourist market. Souvenir shops, restaurants, whatever…
    OK. Legacy build & all that. But I know something of the history of the area. It’s also where I first lived away from the family.Yes, there were parts of Notting Hill, further down Westbourne Grove were the poor areas of the 60s. Before they got taken over by cabinet ministers. But the streets off the Hyde Park end of Bayswater Road were never poor. Dubious maybe, but never cheap. Why was the council building blocks of flats in them? To fulfil what need? Yeah right. I can answer that myself, can’t I? To “build the Tories out of London” was the quote wasn’t it? But why, half a century later, is this still policy?

  3. BiS:“But why, half a century later, is this still policy?”

    Because the Tories are poor at retaliation or closing off avenues to their enemies.

    Either through incompetence. apathy or because under May, they aren’t really ‘Tories’..

  4. JuliaM “Either through incompetence. apathy or because under May, they aren’t really ‘Tories’..”


    Incidentally, the answer to the heat, eat or rent thing is pay the rent first. Then the ‘eat’, then the ‘heat’

    Paying your rent first ought to give you an idea as to whether you ought to be moving or, if you insist on staying, you’ll know what your budget is.

    Do I win a prize?

  5. Tim

    Meanwhile over in Ely those hoping a holiday would see a drop in output from the Great Tuber will be deeply saddened to hear:

    ‘Officially I am on holiday this week. I don’t rate my chances of getting much time off. There is too much I want to do. Life is returning to ‘normal times’ after a long hot summer.

    Except it is not, of course. If it was returning to normal, from the perspective from which I view it, then the policy agenda would be riding high as the party conference season looms. Climate, the economy, education, health, social care, housing, the failing benefits system, the lack of an industrial policy, a tax system that is not progressive, and the failures of the accountancy profession, would all be issues demanding space on agendas.

    And we just have Brexit.

    It’s not just the folly of Brexit in itself that annoys me – and it does that, by the bucket load. It’s the opportunity cost of it that deeply irritates as well.

    Whilst May fiddles and the UK burns there are manifold issues that need to be addressed that are being ignored, by parliament, by the civil service and by society at large. We’ll also pay a price for that.’

    And what rough beast, indeed?

    Additionally, one of the UK’s great academics comes out of his ivory tower to offer some advice to the nations’ new sixth formers:

    ‘At the end of the day I believe very strongly that we live in community, but that what we have to offer is intensely individual. Finding the balance between those two is essential in life, in our communities and in our politics. And that starts with education that has to be focused on the individual’s pursuit of who they are, and not moulding them for a life of work.

    It so happens that if the passion is released in education so will the real work they want to do be discovered. And that’s what far too much so-called education has forgotten.’

    More no doubt to come in the small hours…..

  6. “education that has to be focused on the individual’s pursuit of who they are, and not moulding them for a life of work.”
    They’ll certainly know who they are, then.

  7. “They’ll certainly know who they are, then.

    If they are clever enough, or enterprising enough, and have a modicum of luck, they can find themselves, God, the FSM, or whatever, and still end up in lucrative employment. The trouble is when they aren’t clever or enterprising, and lack a daddy who can wangle them a job at the Beeb or the Guardian.

  8. Let’s solve the heat, eat or pay rent conundrum for them by racking up the carbon tax and building some more unreliable renewable bird-frying solar and bat-chopping wind turbines, so that after you’ve paid the electricity bill there’s nothing left over for such trivial pursuits as eating.

  9. Captain Potato had better be careful or his pursuit of individualism and self-actualisation will find him reinventing Ayn Rand and saying things such as “there is no such thing as society”.

    NB we all know that he will claim that he invented Randian ideas

  10. Murphy at his finest, talks about the choices his child faces over choosing A levels.

    “As a parent I have to stand back: this has to be his choice.

    But I can’t resist some advice.”

  11. Why is it only people with private rent that have this problem?

    Does social housing rent not have the same problem? Pensioners in council properties who choose between rent, heat and eat?
    How about people with mortgages? They choose between mortgage, eat and heat?

  12. Diogenes

    I think the learned but delusional Professor Potato Head thinks that society would collapse if “Murphy Shrugged”, hence his bounden duty is to keep up the constant stream of asinine blogging.

  13. Exactly, Martin. The mantra is “the poor struggle.”

    Most don’t. They live within their means. Just as the middle class and rich do. Lefties want you to believe there is a problem, requiring THEM to fix.

  14. @ Martin
    Simples – because it is an article in the Grauniad.
    The alternative of not paying a smartphone and relying on a BT landline with “low user” tariff cannot be imagined by a Grauniad journalist. Nor buying second-hand clothes in a Charity shop instead of designer ware/wear. As for wearing warm clothes in winter!?!
    Of course the Grauniad misquotes the original article which, as ken points out, is special pleading by lobbyists. There are some areas in London where *less than 30%* of houses/flats can be afforded by those dependant on housing credit – and just how many of those living in Chelsea or Westmister or Hampstead are dependant on housing credit?
    “The biggest “rent gaps” – the difference between rent and housing support levels in the cheapest third of rented properties in a local housing market area –” is a straightforward lie. The gap is between the rent at the *top* of that third – not the middle, let alone the whole of that third – and the cap on the housing allowance. There are very few low-paid people living in those areas so the 30th percentile point (the Grauniad could not even get that right) is not the relevant criterion. When I rented a flat in The City, *my* rent must have been close to that 30th percentile.

  15. Mr in Spain, a small point of pendantry:the purpose may well have been to build the Tories out of London, but Herbert Morrison’s biographer used to offer a fiver to anyone who could provide evidence that he actually said that. Last I heard, admittedly about 15 years ago, the fiver remained unclaimed.

  16. Martin,

    Social housing rents are considerably cheaper than private-sector rents, so the rent/heat/eat quandary doesn’t arise nearly as often.

    That’s the same reason why there’s a lengthy waiting list for social housing, and no waiting list at all for open-market rentals.

  17. @Edward Lud…

    the purpose may well have been to build the Tories out of London, but Herbert Morrison’s biographer used to offer a fiver to anyone who could provide evidence that he actually said that. Last I heard, admittedly about 15 years ago, the fiver remained unclaimed.

    “Actions speak louder than words”.

  18. Of course Martin is correct – but only in reality, not in the alternative universe inhabited by the Guardian.
    Did any of you know that losses incurred by residential landlords cannot be offset against other income for tax purposes? That HMRC introduced this rule, generations before spivs started promoting “buy to let” as a way to fund one’s retirement out of capital gains, gives a clue about the profitability of renting out property unless you strike lucky.

  19. @ Edward Lud
    How many people carried voice recorders in those days? I first encountered a tape recorder in the 1960s. So lack of proof is not the same as proof of his not having said it.

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