Monday, 4 July 2011

That 'painless' benefits cap

Ther Con Dem coalition has justified its plans to cap total benefit claims for households on the grounds that it is fair, as beneficiaries shouldn't receive more than a typical working family. They've argued it is essential to take these tough measures - while also claiming the cap won't cause any real hardship - because it will save money. They lied.

Straight from the horse's horse's secretary's mouth pen ...
Firstly we are concerned that the savings from this measure, currently estimated at £270m savings p.a from 2014-2015 does not take account of the additional costs to local authorities (through homelessness and temporary accommodation). In fact we think it is likely that the policy as it stands will generate a net cost. In addition Local Authorities will have to calculate and administer reduced Housing Benefit to keep within the cap and this will mean both demands on resource and difficult handling locally.

Secondly, we are worried about the impact of this measure on our ability to build social housing for families through the new affordable rent product. To fund new affordable housing development providers need to be able to charge rents of up to 80% of the market levels but the impact of the Overall Benefit Cap will prevent them from doing so in many areas greatly reducing their financial capacity. Initial analysis suggests that of the 56,000 new affordable rent units up to 23,000 could be lost. And reductions would disproportionately affect family homes rather than small flats. For example it would be extremely difficult to fund any 4 bed properties, so desperately needed, anywhere in the country - disproportionately impacting on families and therefore children.

Finally, our modelling indicates that we could see an additional 20,000 homelessness acceptances as a result of the total benefit cap. This on top of the of the 20,000 additional acceptances already anticipated as a result of other changes to Housing Benefit. We are already seeing increased pressures on homelessness services. I understand that there may be a suggestion around requiring families to divert a percentage of their non-housing (benefit) income to cover housing costs. It is important not to underestimate the level of controversy that this would generate (likely to dwarf anything already seen on the HB only caps) and the difficulty of justifying this in policy terms as well as implementation. (1)
Awesome, Con Dem coalition. A way of reducing economic activity and worsening the housing situation (through fewer social homes being built), increasing homelessness that costs more than the status quo? Outstanding work.

And on top of that, a rather hopeful suggestion that exempting Child Benefit from the housing cap might resolve these issues - finally turning the old stereotype of the benefit queen, who has children to get a better house, into actual policy.

This coalition is so crazed Eric Pickles - ERIC PICKLES - sounds sane and reasoned.

Meanwhile - as the coalition plots to make 40,000 people homeless at the taxpayer's expense, and connives to engineer an unjustified pay cut for public servants - the Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg turned his attention to another group of - apparently more deserving - beneficiaries:
As a result of what I have described the Queen is paying a higher rate of tax than anybody else. We should remember that and I hope that the Chancellor will be generous. I would like the 15% provision to be increased because we want to have a glamorous monarchy that befits the status of our nation. We are a great nation, a noble nation and a nation that has had power across the globe in the past. We have one of the finest histories of any country in the world. When I see the coronation coach being pulled through the streets of London, I want to see it being pulled by the finest horses that money can buy and I want to see it gilded with the finest gold that can be bought. I want Her Majesty to have as a jubilee present the finest window that can be funded by Members of Parliament. That is the status of monarchy that we want and I urge the Chancellor to remember that. Even though I know that we are in this time of austerity, that we are all in it together and that the Opposition spent all the money, maxed out the credit card and so on, we should look after Her Majesty. (2)
Yes, as long as the proles can see the monarch trot past in a pretty carriage pulled by some pampered horses, they'll know their place and accept their lot.

These freaks are beyond satire.
1 - "Full text of letter from the office of Eric Pickles," published in The Guardian, 2nd of July, 2011. (
2 - Jacob Rees-Moog, speaking in the house of Commons, 30th of June, 2011. As recorded in Hansard for that date, colum 1172. (

1 comment:

Robert said...

But if you look back at labour they did the same thing only by not allowing benefit rises.

Blair came to power the same year he allowed council taxes to raise in my area by 23% but gave everyone a 75p rise, I can tell you ever since not once has labour benefit increases to cover the council tax increases never mind rent or gas water or electricity.

I can in all honesty say this years benefit rise has been the biggest once for fourteen years, so OK knock the Tories but sadly labour did the same only in a different way

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