The Benefit Cap Doesn’t Fit

So, let me get this right IDS. Benefit caps mean that a huge proportion of Housing Benefit claimants, in London and the SE in particular,  will no longer be able to afford the extortionate rents that private landlords are charging.?

So, they have 2 choices

1) Get a job. I need a whole other blog to discuss the lack of REAL employment opportunities, and the undeniable fact that MOST people on benefits would give their right arm to be in work. For MOST people, being out of work isn’t about dossing and sticking 2 fingers up at the system. It is a cause of frustration, guilt, shame, distress, depression and worse. (Incidentally, ATOS probably wouldn’t count giving your right arm as being deserving of disability benefit)

2) Move to an area where the rents are more affordable. Easy to say IDS, but what about…

a) – The cost of relocation, removals etc.  How would a family on very low income physically be able to get themselves to these new areas?

b) How would somebody go about applying for HB in a borough they are not currently located in? How long would it take to re-apply for HB and receive it with the new council?  In the meantime, how can somebody pay a deposit and rent wile waiting for HB decisions?

c) DON’T GET ME STARTED ON LETTING AGENT FEES – they are scumbags. It is unlikely that someone, on moving to a new “affordable” area will be instantly offered council or social housing, so will have to use private landlords.

d) Children will be removed from schools  where they are settled and new places will need to be found in alternative schools. Altenative schools in previously less populated areas. Probably meaning, there are not so many school places.

e)  If there is a mass exodus of people from London/SE to previously less populated and cheaper areas, won’t that have its own problems for those areas? Local services may not be able to cope.

f)  If the goal is to encourage more people into work, how is forcing them into areas with cheaper rents going to help, when it is often a signifier of an area with a significantly low amount of available employment – eg rural areas, previous industrial towns etc?

Brilliant.

How about this IDS? A cap on rents from private landlords. And/or, a sliding scale of benefit allowances according to the average rent in the district in which benefits are being claimed? A Local Housing Allowance that actually reflects the reality of private rent in the area. A cap on private rents means a realistic cap can be put on HB spending. But one that is fair to everyone, regardless of where they happen to live.

Why force families from their communities, extended family, support networks, familiar surroundings, HOMES?  Is there some NIMBYism here?  Flush all of the poor people out of the capital and the surrounding areas? Make it a paradise for hedge fund managers and bankers?

Ah yes, the hedge fund managers. Enjoying their tax breaks worth £145million a year. How do these people sleep at night?

In the Haringey pilot, some 740 families were affected by the cap. Only 34 members of those families found paid employment.

It doesn’t work, does it IDS?

Oh, and I’m interested to find out what the definition of “paid employment” is as far as the Coalition are concerned. I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if they were counting seasonal, casual and temp work to make their figures look better.

When will we stop demonising all poor people because of the  MINORITY that abuse the system? All systems are abused – look at the scale of corporate tax evasion. Don’t tar everybody with the same brush.

I’m disgusted.

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