… a great wave of homelessness of a different kind is about to break. The Government has introduced changes which could force thousands out of their homes in central London over the next 12 months.Really? The government has assumed the status of a Victorian landlord, throwing the poor and destitute out on the street?
Families on low incomes or benefits who currently get their rent paid in full will find that housing benefit cut. If they can't make up the shortfall they will have to move house.Ah. Not exactly, then...
Of course, it’s much better that everyone keeps paying for the benefits that enable them to live in areas that the hard-working majority can only dream of, isn’t it?
The idea, according to the Prime Minister, is that people "out of work, or on a low wage, and living in an expensive home in the centre of a city" will be prompted by the benefit cap to make "the decision to go back to work, or take a better paid job [or] move to a cheaper home, in a different part of the city, in order to escape benefit dependency".How utterly unreasonable!!
How will Arabella find a cheap nanny, or Crispin a decent cut-price valet for the Merc, if all the low-paid move out? How awful!
Westminster Council has some 5,117 households currently receiving housing benefit above capped levels.
Tory ideology suggests that landlords will bring rents down to meet the reduced benefits. Fat chance, says Cathy Corcoran. Research conducted by the National Landlords Association suggests 84 per cent of landlords will not consider cutting rents. Instead they will replace existing tenants with people who are not on benefits.Well, indeed. They'd be stupid to do otherwise, since this is a business just as much as any other.
Alastair Murray, at Housing Justice, wants all this scrapped. He'd prefer the Government to introduce rent regulation to stop landlords overcharging./facepalm
"It works in Europe," he says. But few homelessness charities think that politically realistic.Not just politically realistic, surely? Isn't there a greater reason, that it wouldn't be economically realistic?
What is happening instead is that inner London councils have begun booking rooms in outer London boroughs like Lewisham, Greenwich, Croydon, Bromley and Bexley, and also in towns such as Luton, Watford, Slough, Reading and even Eastbourne and Hastings. Rents are much lower there.That, folks, is economic reality in action!