Tenants Feel the Pinch as Housing Benefit Cuts Come into Effect

Tenants Feel the Pinch as Housing Benefit Cuts Come into Effect

10:55 AM, 2nd February 2012, About 10 years ago 16

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Existing tenants will start to feel the pinch this month as their benefits are reduced by an average of £83 per week due to the housing benefit cuts introduced last April.

The UK government hopes the alterations to housing benefit payments will both save money and reduce private rents.

However, many opposed to the new restrictions say that placing caps on benefit payments will force many claimants and their families living in prosperous areas to move out of their homes and into poverty.
Others are raising the question of whether it is right that the state should be paying people to live in areas and houses that most taxpayers simply cannot afford.

London Councils estimate that approximately 82,000 households will be forced to leave the more affluent inner-city areas and move to the outskirts of London due to the cuts. This could easily rise to 133,000 or more when the introduction of universal credit eventually comes to fruition in 2013, as the total benefits a family can claim will also be capped.

This substantial migration from London city centre is bound to have a massive impact on services such as schools, social services and health services. Because of this, despite the fact that the forthcoming housing benefits caps will perhaps hit London the hardest; the overall effect is likely to become an increasing national problem.

Until these changes are well underway, it will be difficult to predict how tenants that need to stay in the areas they are currently living in will cope when faced with being unable to pay their rent. Property overcrowding, making up the shortfall alone and living in poverty seem to be unavoidable situations.
The significant numbers of families that will have to move as a result of the changes to housing benefit payments along with the universal credit plans will also inevitably present many boroughs with a number of high-cost problems.

Areas on the outskirts of London that offer lower rents and more affordable housing will now start to attract an influx of families that are struggling to keep up their tenancy payments. This unavoidable and increased capacity will soon start to put a strain on the local services, particularly schools.

As a result of the overcrowding and high birth-rates many of the outer London communities are currently experiencing, councils are already recognising the need to expand existing primary schools and are starting to convert office buildings into school classrooms and searching for other empty properties to use for teaching. Some schools are even considering ‘split shift schooling’, which means that some children would be taught in the mornings and some in the afternoons because of budget restrictions.

Affinity Sutton Housing Association said of the cuts “We welcome reform of the welfare benefits system but cutting housing benefit and pushing people into poverty is not the answer and instead, advocate incentivising and supporting people to move.”

While things like housing sector benefits do need to be addressed, cutting housing benefit and pushing families and their children into such poverty that it pressurises them to move from their homes and schools is not a long term solution. Instead, incentivising and supporting people to move to more affordable, decent housing in safe communities is surely a more positive and sustainable approach.



Comments

by

13:21 PM, 3rd February 2012, About 10 years ago

Why resort to naming scapegoats? Governments have it down to a fine art supported by the tabloid press. (I have just lit my stove with a pile of tabloids I was given, I find it's the best use for them). To seek to pigeon hole the character of a person by their financial circumstance is as useful as doing so by their parent's shoe size.
A person with a job on basic wage as a classroom assistant in a school in Central London will likely receive some benefits which mean they could pay their bills, just. I doubt they could afford to keep that job if they have to commute from the suburbs and manage a long distance school run for their own children who will no longer be at a school close to where they are working.
Likelihood is that this policy will create homelessness, unemployment and a human resources issue in the void left in the city centre.
As to the sodding riots. For 4 days a tiny minority of people did a lot of damage in some urban areas. In the days following a lot more people came together to clean up. Why are we seeking to define and question our whole society by a criminal minority?
Either yell 'Apocalypse' and run for cover or lets look for solutions that actually treat human beings like they're more than a cheap tabloid stereotype. Surely doing that just plays into the hands of successive Governments totally lacking any long term vision to resolve the housing issues facing us. If debates like this always end up focusing on the minority then that minority will guide policies which are deflective rather than forward thinking.

by

17:08 PM, 3rd February 2012, About 10 years ago

Yes I am sure there is a lot of politiking occurring and yes I used the lazy example as it was on the bbc and was all I could remember.
It may not be representative; but obviously does no good for claimants in less well off circumstances as you have mentioned when it is quoted as another example of failure of the benefit system.
The old saying mud sticks I think is so true regarding these highly inflammatory pieces about claimants even if true.

by

11:11 AM, 7th February 2012, About 10 years ago

Ben, you seem to assume that everyone who disagrees with you is a racist or believes the tabloid propaganda. This is not the case. I too welcome people of all creeds and colours who are willing and wanting to work for the good of themselves, their families and to the benefit of the country as a whole.
BUT! I am sick of paying for the bone idle to live as they want and where they want at my expense. You make valid points regarding overcrowding and people putting down roots but you don't address the issues of affordability or personal responsibility. Life is tough enough for the working classes, it should not be easier for those out of work. I work an average of 45 hours per week, commuting on top, my wife works too. We have hols every four years or so, are selling one second of our two ten year old cars and I gave up smoking, as much for financial as health reasons. We also stopped after our second child in order to be able to provide our family with reasonable standards of living. This is about personal responsibility.
We will all benefit once the freeloading carousel grinds to a halt. That's us the current taxpayers and those who will see the benefit of working for their living, even if they have to move home to experience it.

by matchmade

15:52 PM, 7th February 2012, About 10 years ago

I'm sorry Ben - I feel you are sentimentalising with this talk of Highland Clearances and "community". The same argument could be used about all the ordinary working ex-Londoners who have already been "cleared" by high house prices and rents to move out of the city. They accept having to change jobs or commute from places like Watford, Reading or even Peterborough or Coventry as the price for being able to afford a place to live: much lower housing costs in exchange for high transport costs and the interminable hours of travel back and forth, with all the toll that takes on health and family life.
 
The Maida Vale example is of course an extreme one, but I can understand why working people who would like to live in London resent it when the unemployed are funded to stay in the city, occupying houses in, yes, Peckham and Hackney that an ordinary worker would love to be able to buy or rent from the PRS or, even better, a council offering cheap rent, free maintenance and a lifetime tenancy. The working and middle classes are forced to make unpalatable choices every day because of redundancy, a low income or a growing family, including relocation; so why not benefit claimants too? It's a question of fairness and natural justice: people on benefits should be made to work for their living and to improve their employability, just like the rest of us, and they should be subject to the same economic pressures, which includes real, hard choices over housing too.

by Alan bus

10:18 AM, 11th February 2012, About 10 years ago

Question: How many Landlords would rather have someone in their property with the whole rent being paid by the local Council ie no cap on their allowance if they cannot have someone in their property who is working & can afford to pay all rent themselves??

I think it is Landlords that charge huge rents that are unjustfied that are the problem!! I keep my rents below the local average. That way I always have a tenant & no empty periods, in fact I have my own "waiting list" of people who would like to live in my flats. Also I keep my flats decorated to a standard that I myself would be happy to live in. STOP the rogue Landlords who are GREEDY!!

by

18:29 PM, 11th February 2012, About 10 years ago

I rent my flats out at market rent which is about £350.00 more than the LHA rate for a 2 bed property.
My property is not in the lower 30% precentile and so I prefer private tenants where I may increse the rent periodically.
I happen to review annually and much prefer my private tenants form the LHA types.
My rents are more than justified as the price I paid for the property to rent out were insufficient to pay the mortgage costs.
Only low interest rates have given the tenants a home.
So I think you are wrong in your contentions.
To date I have made massive losses renting out to wrongun tenants and won't make any money ever again unless property prices surpass my mortgage debt!
Effectively I am running a housing charity.
Very few LL who bought since 2005 are making money.
I was subsidising the mortgage payments as rents were not sufficient to sustain the lifesyle of a tenant in such a nice property.
Most LL have large mortgages, so you may think the rent is a lot, however it is just paying the mortgages costs which had to be taken due to the cost of the property.
You might have been lucky with your purchases and therefore not have a large mortgage.
You are the exception rather than the rule.
So no we are not greedy nor rogue!


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