From the TUC

Budget 2010: Housing Benefit cuts

22 Jun 2010, by in Society & Welfare

Today’s Budget contains some severe cuts in Housing Benefit. The Budget reveals that from October 2011 Local Housing Allowance (LHA) will be set at 30 per cent of local rents. It is currently set at the median of local rents. This means that in any given area the amount available to pay for housing for eligible claimants will fall significantly.

Shelter in Scotland have said:

This is at a time when nearly half of LHA claimants are already making up a shortfall of almost £100 a month to meet their rent. By ripping out this support from under their feet it will push many households over the edge, triggering a spiral of debt, eviction and homelessness.

Further changes are also proposed. There will be cuts in the rates that will be paid for larger properties, which accommodate families. From next April LHA will be capped at £250 for a one bedroom property, £290 for a two bedroom property, £340 for a three bedroom property and £400 a week for a four bedroom property.

Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants who are in reciept of Housing Benefit will also be penalised – from April 2013 after they have been claiming JSA for a year they will have their Housing Benefit entitlement cut by 10 per cent – presumably meaning that they have to move house, become homeless or pay the extra with their £65 a week JSA.

Details on the impacts of these changes will become apparent over the next few days. But it seems highly likely that they will lead to LHA recipients being marginalised into the worst accommodation in the poorest areas, or to it being impossible for families to be accomodated at all – which will mean that the costs of temporary and bed and breakfast accommodation, as well as social service budgets, will rocket.

160 Responses to Budget 2010: Housing Benefit cuts

  1. Bla bla
    Jun 22nd 2010, 4:12 pm

    Even worse – its these poor areas which are likely to have least access to jobs – poor transport/deprived areas with fewer businesses – condemning these people to poverty rather than incentivising these people into work. This is pandering to people’s prejudices rather than based on any empirical evidence of what reduces unemployment.

  2. RichB
    Jun 22nd 2010, 4:33 pm

    LHA in my area (not in central London) goes up to £30,000 a year, which would pay the mortgage on a £600,000 house. What possible moral argument could be made for using tax payers’ money to house benefits claimants in a £600,000 house when most people can’t afford a £200,000 house?

    The changes to LHA are long overdue and a justified end to system that mainly benefited landlords at the expense of the working poor who have been priced out of the property market.

  3. Freddy Angels
    Jun 22nd 2010, 4:37 pm

    This is a step in the right direction. A person who lives on LHA (which subsidizes housing at median rents), and then pays another £100 on top of it each month is already living in a house that is far larger and better than anything that half of the people who work for a living could afford.

    The coalition has recognized how significant an incentive this is for people to stay out of gainful employment and on benefits.

  4. Brian Day
    Jun 22nd 2010, 4:57 pm

    Families will be the worst hit. It is a bad move by the government. The LibDems are showing their true colours.

  5. james
    Jun 22nd 2010, 5:05 pm

    Incredible…….People will be marginalised, especially those that are currently renting houses. Is it possible to find a four bedroom house anywhere in london for 400 pounds a week. Simply “” NO “”. This will be a massive blow for families with 2 or more children. Displacement from communites will be massive.

  6. RichB
    Jun 22nd 2010, 5:14 pm

    Of course there are no houses renting for £400 a week in London. If the government is guaranteeing landlords £2000 a week by renting to HB claimants, why in the world would a landlord ever rent out anything to tenants significantly below that price, no matter how dire the flat. LHA, as previously set up, did nothing but drive up rents for everyone — and funnel huge amounts of money to landlords.

  7. Letitia Jarvis
    Jun 22nd 2010, 6:15 pm

    I’m confused here. I thought David Cameron wanted to help people living in poverty. Instead he cuts the LHA. Where can anyone in London get decent property to rent at the rates he is suggesting. I hope there is a freeze on any pay rises to the queen and her family. This country is getting very uneasy with the widening gap between the have and have not’s. Sadly Mr Cameron may just have sealed the fate of the Conservative Party being in power.

  8. maria legg
    Jun 22nd 2010, 6:24 pm

    what is the difference between LHA and HOUSING BENIFET.

  9. G
    Jun 22nd 2010, 6:41 pm

    Look behind the curtain and you’ll see the budget has just removed a massive benefits trap. How would a family in a £2,000 a week house be able to earn enough to continue living there?
    If a 2 parent family earned the national average, a combined wage of £50k that is less than 1/2 the rental cost before any tax, unless these people become high earning professionals they cannot afford to live there or be expected to ever get a job that pays less than significantly above average.

  10. Tom
    Jun 22nd 2010, 6:47 pm

    They lied to us to get the vote then they make people homeless to feed the rich. People can’t get mortgage because of the 20% deposit so they rent but can’t afford it on 5.80 an hour lol 600 a month rent earning 750 the 150 council tax I think people need to make a stand against this.

  11. Tom
    Jun 22nd 2010, 6:49 pm

    Most people earn about 9000 a year not 50.000

  12. Lisa Ansell
    Jun 22nd 2010, 7:56 pm

    TO the person above who said that Cameron had removed a poverty trap- look again.

    I am a single parent. While my daughter has been small, I have been self employed- I use LHA towards my rent. It doesn’t cover the entire rent on a my two bedroomed terraced house- but it contributes.

    When I was working full time, I still needed a small contribution from LHA to my rent. I was a social worker. Not because I was living in a mansion. Not because I was sat on my arse. Not even because my landlady was extortionate- she was just a buy to let mortgage holder- renting out her house, with me covering the mortgage.

    I qualified for LHA not because I was a single parent- but because my income, minus my rent- was not sufficient to live on. I worked full time, and lived at benefit rates. But survived. I stopped working full time, because I couldn’t sustain living on that income(it was costing me money to go to work) and started working self employed at home.

    I only make a few hundred a month at home- but without a childcare bill, I am in the same financial position as I was when working full time- and have been able to parent my daughter.

    In September I return to a new job full time(if my position is there- and has not been taken by the cuts). THis is the first time since my daughter was born that work would pay. This means that it won’t.

    Depending on the cost of childcare, I will either be worse off than I was when I was at work full time last time, or the same. THere is no way for me to go to work and earn enough money to live above subsistence.

    This autumn- the spending review is likely to suggest that the state rewarded me for leaving my husband(when I had 80k a year coming in and an extra adult!)- and is likely to cut my tax credits on that basis.

    I sit here, and I don’t entirely know what to do. I can’t suddenly have a successful marriage. I don’t have access to higher education, to retrain unless I have tuition. Social services is about to be slashed by 25 percent- and even if there is a job- I am not sure that being a social worker in those conditions is not the equivalent to asking to have your name above a Sun petition.

    Me and my daughter are not going to dissapear. We are going to be in poverty, and are likely to face homelessness unless I am very smart.

    Please explain how the poverty trap has been removed? I would be very interested to hear it.

  13. Andy
    Jun 22nd 2010, 8:01 pm

    Good. People must realise if they don’t work things can be tough. Yes talking to many is heartbreaking but the present(previous?) system made it better economically to stay on benefits rather than work. That needed tackling. My daughter finished school last year and wanted a summer job. I laughed at her and explained the current economic situation. Well she got a job the next day. Not permanent, not well paid, but a job. If I am unable to work and start a large family then I need sterilising. Otherwise everyone else foots the bill. I have 4 children and have worked all my life apart from 6 months unemployed when my wife and 4 children had to live in 1 bedroom in my parents house. We need to go back a hundred years to when families were much closer and everybody pulled their weight. In those days you couldn’t afford to fall out with your parents and move out because invariably there was nowhere else to go. A previous comment says you can’t get a 4 bedroomed house in London for the new benefits. A FOUR BEDROOMED HOUSE? If you are financially irresponsible don’t expect luxuries. In the workhouse days workhouses were deliberately made undesirable places to go. This was to discourage idleness. They still had it then. I know there are many hard working people who fall on hard times and need to get benefits in one way or another, but part of these problems happen because businesses are no longer competitive due to high wage demands.
    Shoot me down. I’m ready

  14. Andy
    Jun 22nd 2010, 8:05 pm

    To Lisa
    Where is your support network?
    Where are your family?

  15. john rogers
    Jun 22nd 2010, 8:23 pm

    How come the tory trolls are now coming on even the TUC blog, (which is excellent btw)they are already on Guardian CIF. These changes will be disasterous for poorer people, particuarly disabled claimants: unfortunately it was Nl who brought in LHA (and many other draconian welfare reforms) specifically so it could be salami sliced over time.

    Already many claimants pay an excess on their accomodation, how on earth will they able to find somewhere to live? in the masses of newly built social housing(sarcasm) Clearly the coalition are prepared to see new ‘ghettoes’ develop who can then be targeted for the sin of ‘worklessness’ etc.

    all in all these are the most most savage cuts since the 1930’s. lets hope the left, etc can develop a community led opposition to them.

  16. john rogers
    Jun 22nd 2010, 8:27 pm

    ‘We need to go back a hundred years to when families were much closer and everybody pulled their weight.’

    ah, yes, those halcyon days

    of mass child mortality

    slums

    cholera,

    hypocrisy

    empire

    graeat times

  17. Lisa Ansell
    Jun 22nd 2010, 8:30 pm

    My support network is my friends. Many of whom are sitting up today in exactly the same, or variations of the same position. If its any of your business, I grew up in care. My family, is me and my daughter. I don;t need support networks. I did everything right. I trained for a profession, I got married, I always worked.
    Yet here I am, 32, and facing poverty. Which I can’t actually change. I would just like to know- how a benefit trap has been removed for me. Cos right now, I am looking at living on benefit rates till god knows when. How many years can you live hand to mouth, without it having an effect. Cos I have managed 3 so far, with the hope that it would end- if I just kept working.

  18. Lisa Ansell
    Jun 22nd 2010, 8:47 pm

    Quite ironic, that my job will partly be dealing with homelessness. Empathy will do me good I reckon.

  19. Jo B
    Jun 22nd 2010, 8:49 pm

    Lisa. your landlord is a buy to let owner. This is why LHA rates are so high as taxpayers are paying buy to let owners mortgages who jack up rents to meet their expensive mortgages and a bit of profit.

    Why should the taxpayer pay for a landlady to pay a bank to buy a second house for her? This is why the UK is a failure.

    If your ex was bringing in 80k you are fully entitled to maintenance costs. Do not give up trying to claim them.

  20. Lisa Ansell
    Jun 22nd 2010, 8:52 pm

    And to the person above who said this will teach people to work. THese cuts predominantly affect people who DO work, but have the misfortune of living in a country, where an inflated property market(itself resulting in many many problems) mean that two wages, may not meet your basic rent anymore. The people affected by this DO work.

  21. Lisa Ansell
    Jun 22nd 2010, 8:54 pm

    And the other houses I can live in are where? I didn’t choose to rent off a buy to let landlord. I can’t use letting agents anymore- because quite frankly am not credit worthy. I can go through cards in the newsagent, and local classifieds. And there isn’t much about. There is a lot actually. but most of it is people waiing out the contraction in the property market. I have friends who have moved 4 times in as many years. Not because of anything they have done- but because we have a housing ‘market’- and that is what there is now.

    I don’t care who I rent off. I would rent off the council if they had stocks, I would use a letting agent- but they won’t touch me because i need housing benefit.

  22. Clare
    Jun 22nd 2010, 8:55 pm

    I am guessing the man who is giving you a hard time must be an absolute bloody saint and loves his life living on his tiny wage and never having to claim. This stupid government cost me my home and I have 5 kids 2 of which are disabled mentaly and I will now under the new rules have to fight to recieve help u sorry sad litttle man who has no idea how this works. Let ne tell you something now matey it’s only a small minority of people on benefits who enjoy it don’t tar everyone with the same brush you have no idea why the life is like some people realy do have no choice as the socialworker pointed out or shall we see this lady leave her job one that us much needed but kids whobhave problems and worse abused justvtobsuit your pompus stupid small minded attitude.

  23. Lisa Ansell
    Jun 22nd 2010, 8:56 pm

    And as for my ex- placing me in poverty does not force anyone else to pay me. Ohthat it did.

  24. Jo B
    Jun 22nd 2010, 9:06 pm

    If LHA is cut over the UK prices will fall.

    If buy to lets can’t get enough in rent from LHA they will have to sell buy to lets and rents and home prices will fall.

    Nicola Smith should realise LHA cuts will push down rents and cause landlords to sell lowering house prices.

  25. Mike
    Jun 22nd 2010, 9:10 pm

    Clare, if you are going to attack other posters may I suggest you spell things correctly or you’ll be looked at as just another ‘chav’.

    I work full time, have 1 child and am a single parent through no fault of my own. The LHA was reduced by £50 a month recently and will be reduced again. How do they expect people to pay the rents?!? Yes, I understand they can’t keep paying the greedy landlords but let’s face it, that won’t change in the short term, meaning that people will be in a position that they have no ability to rent a house suitable for their needs in a sensible area that they can feel safe. They have to do all the reductions individually if they want it to be fair.

  26. Jo B
    Jun 22nd 2010, 9:12 pm

    The TUC need to lobby the government to build hundreds of thousands of new homes creating large numbers of new jobs.

  27. Clare
    Jun 22nd 2010, 9:20 pm

    What this country needs to do is look people in council houses I live in a street where lots of people under ocupy housing which cost the government millions as private rent I higher than concil rent If they out these people in smaller acomodation and families into the larger ones the families would be able to go to work as the rent would be afordable as fir am I a Chav I have run a sucessful cleaning company for 8 years thankyou I am on a mobile my spelling is fantastic thankyou I had a good standard of education as for attaling you you seem to be doing that all by yourself you are very quick to judge and have no idea of each persons situation who are you to tell someone to go to family. On that note if we had fewer do gooders maybe our kids would be taught family values at school which also seem to have slipped I could go on forever nut cutting benefits from people who work and have a topped up income should still get help and stop the millions of bogus imigrant claimants

  28. Sheila
    Jun 22nd 2010, 9:34 pm

    What a great idea!!!! lets take the poorest people in society and cut their benefits so they are even worse off. Where’s the incentive to go and get a job if you haven’t got a hope in hell of being able to afford your own home. If you are able to get your foot on the property ladder then you have to pay a huge deposit, then there’s no gurantee you’ll be able to get a mortgage anyway. What the government need to do is provide more affordable housing. I’m a single parent with two children who has both been on benefits, and has worked and also studied at university. The average price of a 3 bed home in my area is 250,000, i’d have to be earning around 50k a year to afford that. What single parent can get a job that earns that kind of money? Lisa I totally sympathise!!! Not everybody on benefits are lazy and don’t want to work which is the assumtion some ignorant people on here seem to have. Eveybody’s situation is different.

  29. Vernony
    Jun 22nd 2010, 9:45 pm

    I can’t see how the Queen has crept into this. When a Monarch comes to power he/she signs over the Crown estates to the Government and the Government pays them an allowance out of this. The Crown Estates yield more to the country than is paid back to the Monarchy . In my opinion the Queen works extremely hard and I wonder if the critic in these columns intends to work into their 80s ?

  30. Mike
    Jun 22nd 2010, 9:46 pm

    Clare, I didn’t say any of what you think I said, I believe you are confusing me with another poster. Your spelling on here is terrible and you are missing words as well, that was my point. I agree with your point about topping up working peoples income if they are on a low wage as nobody in this country can afford the rents as they are without a very well paid job.

  31. Andrew
    Jun 22nd 2010, 9:50 pm

    I myself am recieving housing benefit because I work part-time – I have an injury but din’t want to sit at home so I work: it’s better for my mental well-being…
    I’m not a Conservative but I am very aware that there are many people in my situation who will not work and prefer to sit at home on benefits. I also find it difficult to have sympathy with many parents on benefits: if you cannot afford to support your offspring, then don’t keep producing children and expecting everyone else to pay for them. Too many people complain about the amount of benefit they recieve when they don’t want to do anything for it. I could be signed off sick but choose to work for my own dignity – housing benefit helps me to do this and I don’t complain that I don’t recieve enough. People need to be RESPONSIBLE.

  32. Lisa Ansell
    Jun 22nd 2010, 9:52 pm

    Which bit of studying to become professionally qualified, working, and raising your child, is irresponsible?

  33. Mike
    Jun 22nd 2010, 9:56 pm

    I doubt he is aiming that at you lisa, there are a lot of irresponsible people out there who think that having a child is an easy way to get a house and income support.

  34. perry
    Jun 22nd 2010, 10:07 pm

    This is GREAT ! WELL DONE ! If you can not afford chidlren do not have any. Too many people expect the state to pay. At this rate house prices will go down. This was a brave move yet one that just had to happen. Say goodbye to life living on benefits. Benefits should be there to support us in times of need ! Not a lifestyle!

  35. Sheila
    Jun 22nd 2010, 10:08 pm

    Andrew. What a pathetic coment. Do you really think as single parents we’ve all thought oh goody i’ll just have a couple of kids for a laugh and deliberately become single to go on benefits. Circumstances happen, parters leave you, they may be violence in the relationship that occures after having the children and you have to leave. How can you call people irresponsible who are trying through no fault of there own, to better themselves and get out of the situation they’ve been put in. Do you actually know someone personally who sits on there arse all day and never wants to work. What a saint you are

  36. Andrew
    Jun 22nd 2010, 10:32 pm

    CLARIFICATION,
    Sheila, I’m not trying to attack all single parents on benefits – I’m just trying to make the point that we all to a degree need to be responsible… Of course ‘circumstances happen’ as you say and yes, I know many people on jobseekers allownace, disability living allowance and income support who have no intention of working. I know one single mother who claims she cannot work because she’s looking after her 12 year old child who gets himself up and goes to school because she’s in bed with a hangover from drinking cheap cider the night before: that’s the type of person I’m talking about, ie the ones who have no intention of working and are happy for everyone else to pay for them… I’m dependent on housing benefit myself and I’m told by my hospital consultant I should stay at home, but I work – only part-time – because I feel I can and should do something. Housing benefit is a ‘hand-up’ for me not a handout and too many people see benefits as a lifestyle option which involves depending on the state rather than being responsible. It’s a bit of a crass example but, I can’t afford a car, so I haven’t got one – if I had one, the Government isn’t going to say poor you and pay for it – so why do some pople (not all) choose to have large families they cannot afford and then complain that there is a shortage of social housing? IT COMES DOWN TO PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY… Women who are coping with violence or partners leaving or bereavement etc are of course NOT who I’m talking about – their situation is completely different – they’re not the ones who are milking and manipulating the benefits system and their not the ones I’m talking about… hope that clears the matter?

  37. Vernony
    Jun 22nd 2010, 10:35 pm

    in social housing, of which there are millions of units in the UK, the Government since 2003, and due to cease in 2012, have forced many landlords to take an extra £2.16 per week, year on year, for what they term Target Rents – the idea of this is to make people pay more if they live in affluent areas and to level up council housing, with housing traditionally supplied by housing associations.

    Regrettably, but naturally, the less well off and the unemployed the retired, and one parent families, and those on long term incapacity benefits, tend to live in social housing. It probably adds up to a million, or so, people in receipt of Housing Benefit. So if ever a Government shot itself in the foot the last one did when they invented Target Rents, because we are now in a situation where landlords are being forced to accept extra money every year for no purpose other than a philosophy.

    So there is a very simple solution to reducing Housing Benefit and it is ‘stop Target Rents’ .

  38. David
    Jun 22nd 2010, 10:37 pm

    Andy not everyone who is on benefits likes being there or is there because they haven’t worked a day in their life.I worked 3 jobs on a campsite one after the other I was working from 6 in the morning untill 2 in the morning 5 days a week just to deal with the emergency tax that I was on for 6 years because it was classed as seasonal work.I was a lifeguard a barman and a security guard depending on what day it was.I am on incap because I HAVE A SPINAL CONDITION which has been diagnosed by the nhs’s top consultant so dont generalise about things you know nothing about it just makes you look like a fool.

  39. jim
    Jun 22nd 2010, 10:38 pm

    The cuts in both LHA and Housing Benefit will have profound implications for many people.
    I am particularly worried as a single person,who rents from a Housing Association.The rent is higher than Local Authority Housing.If,faced with a 10% reduction in Housing Benefit,I would have to top up or move to alternative accommodation.Then,if faced with LHA,the maximum £250 for a 1-bedroom property would ,at present,present a substantial top-up.
    I say that I’m single.At the moment,i care for my mother,who has dementia.I have saved the State a fortune in terms of Care Home costs.I pay for both day care and respite costs.
    I’m beginning to wonder.

  40. jim
    Jun 22nd 2010, 10:45 pm

    I forgot to add that I’m one of those on Incapacity Benefit not entitled to Carer’s Allowance.As,I have underlying entitlement,I get approximately £23 per week.I don’t have my curtains closed as people go to work,as Mr.Osborne stated the other day.
    I work bloody hard caring for my mother!

  41. Andrew
    Jun 22nd 2010, 10:45 pm

    DO PEOPLE ON HERE HAVE TUNNEL VISION? Saying there are some people in society who work the benefits system doesn’t mean I think everyone does – why do some people on here seem to think that everyone who claims benefits is virtuous? Pointing out that some people are working the system is not attacking everyone: DAVID you make yourself look a fool not me, because you won’t accept that not every one is like you and has/will work. I’M SIMPLY TALKING ABOUT THE ONE’S WHO WILL NOT WORK UNLESS THEY ARE FORCED TO. We all know people who have no intention of working – that’s not attacking you, David, just pointing out that some people work the system and people like you who have been responsible suffer because oyher people milk the system AND THAT’S A FACT! We’ve had one million Poles migrate to our country so how come they and YOU – find work and many British people can’t? Stop assuming everyone on benefits is an angel because they’re not…

  42. David
    Jun 22nd 2010, 10:47 pm

    Oh and for the don’t have kids if you cant afford them brigade I could happily afford my 2 children before I was found curled up at the bottom of a staircase in that much pain that I couldnt move or talk.I decided that I would be snipped because if it didnt improve then it wasnt fair to place any more strain on the system.A system I had paid into at the rate of between 100-128 pounds a week over a six year period and at various lesser amounts before and after that.A system I hadnt taken a penny out of untill 3 years ago I have before now worked with concussion,broken ribs,broken toes and a shattered knee so before you get on your high horses STOP AND THINK to assume makes an ass out of you and me.

  43. wasi
    Jun 22nd 2010, 10:48 pm

    This budget will kill the poor, the economy and the public finances will be in a free fall, despite thoughts and greedy ways to decrease the debt, will result in even greater increase in debt.

  44. Sarah
    Jun 22nd 2010, 10:50 pm

    I agree with Jo. I think it’ll force housing prices to go down for all of us.

    It’s not council tenants that cost the tax payer money (as I hear many say in other debates)- most of the housing stock is long paid for and the tenants rent covers maintenance and buying new (not for profit) stock.

    It’s the private landlords who cost the tax payers money because their rents are too high for many tenants to afford without help. Housing benefit doesn’t really benefit the tenant (other than a roof over their head), the money goes straight to the landlord who can then do what he/she pleases with it. I know a mortgage may have to be paid, but it’s more than likely this is a second property for that person so they’re basically getting the tax payers to buy their house for them. The poor tenant just gets a roof for six months until the landlord decides to sell or kick them out (at which point their entire family is uprooted yet again).

    This country needs affordable housing for everyone, private or council. A working family on minimum wage should be able to afford necessary basics, perhaps in the long term this is a step in the right direction, even if it means some families need to put up with smaller housing for a while until prices drop.

  45. Linda Hansard
    Jun 22nd 2010, 10:55 pm

    Ive been reading the reply, and I cannot understand how some of you are so bigoted in your views. The trouble is that you listen to all the propaganda banded about with regards to how people on benefits are just a bunch of loosers, sponging off the state at the rest of uses expence. THIS IS PROPAGANDA, the government want the working classes to squabble and attribute blame. What happened to the notion that children need nurturing by their mothers to enable them to grow into confident, caring adults. Forcing single parents to work is the easy target, open your eyes, the government always target the vulnerable because – THEY CANT FIGHT BACK, they steriotype them all as young girls looking for an easy ride when the majority nowadays are divorcees, escaping from unhappy marriages, usually doing a brilliant job singlehandedly because most of the men dont hang around for too long after a split. 80 percent of our society are ordinary working class people, working hard to make ends meet. Why the hell should the more fortunate rich, dictate how we should live and beat us up when we striggle. We did not choose to be born into povery or struggle no more than they chose to be well off. This country is turning into a police state and the gap between rich and poor is growing wider and wider. Those of you with black and white glasses on need to do some soul searching. Just because the government paint it one colour, doesnt make it so. How easy it is for them to brain wash people to turn in on themselves as a way of distracting from the real story. These cuts will have no effect on the banks because they are giving with one hand and taking with another. Remember this, anything taken from the banks will be passed down to us one way or another in hidden administration charges, bank charges overdraft charges, interest rates etc. Did the banks loose out over the bank charges battle a few years ago NO they lost first but appealed and won. We need to stand up and be counted together. People do become helpless and withdrawn and enter into a state of apathy when they are neglected and struggle day to day just to survive. Its no wonder people turn to crime, they are just taking care of themselves the only way they see how. Dont fight your neighbours, stand up for them, show them that they matter no matter what. And for those of you who so easily put down the vulnerable in our society remember this “There but for the grace of god go I” We need a REVOLUTION TO GAIN BACK OUR POWER BEFORE THEY SWEEP US FROM UNDER THE CARPET INTO THE DUSTBIN!!!!!!

  46. Andrew
    Jun 22nd 2010, 10:59 pm

    Quite right Linda, as you say the 80% who are working hard to make ends meet – why should they pay for otehrs who have no intention of working? The bottom line is that the 80% who are struggling are not going to pay the taxes necesaary to support the ones who won’t work and prefer to produce children they cannot afford and are destined to a life of poverty… Of course we whould stand up for our neighbours, but some of our neighbours are happy to live off our effort and not make any effort themselves…

  47. Alan Green
    Jun 22nd 2010, 11:12 pm

    Social Housing rents in London are way below the proposed limits, so Housing Association and Local authority tenants should not be impacted. Tenants paying private landlords excessive rents and those landlords themselves will be hit but hopefully this will help depress the overinflated housing market which is at the root of the current economic crisis. (Remember why banks failed, bad loans based on inflated property prices, consider also the level of personal debt to banks any building societies based either directly indirectly on property assets)

  48. Linda Hansard
    Jun 22nd 2010, 11:15 pm

    Why should the working classes pay at all. We work as hard as the rich, in fact, 95% of the countrys wealth is held by only 5% of the population, most of which DO NO WORK AT ALL, they dont have to or they choose to work very little. Thats the bigger picture, thats why I say look at the bigger picture, Society should be fairer, if only 5 percent of the population hold 95% of its wealth, how is that fair. Are the government forcing the rich out to work or forcing them to live in sub standard housing and robbing peter to pay paul all the time. do the rich live their lives in stress and worry, How do you think the rich would fayre if they swapped places with the poor in our society. do you really think they would survive any better. If the tables were turned do you really believe they would all end up upright citizens, never fiddling the books, and on fiddling the books, did any of the bankers end up in jail, NO not to my knowlege and they have just conducted the biggest swindle of the century and still paying themselves huge bonuses. Yes they may have reduced their bonuses, but they have raised their basic incomes to redress the balance, and they get away with it. I dont hear you condeming them. It is the banks who have put the country in debt, not the poor and unemployed, dont you see that?

  49. Alex
    Jun 22nd 2010, 11:17 pm

    I am a single person without children and was made redundant a year ago and on JSA. I am in receipt of mortgage interest payments (about which nothing has been said, I believe) but on £65 a week I still find it difficult to makes ends meet. I go to my local shop every day and ask them if I can have the out of date groceries that they’re just going to bin. I know it sounds disgusting, but I do it to be able to live and feed myself.

    I’m a qualified professional with years of experience and paid into the system at £3,200 pm before I was made redundant. I apply for lots of jobs but to no avail and had careers counselling today whilst the budget was ongoing, which was extremely helpful. It was a 10 mile around walking trip, but I did it. It’s the income tax and NI and especially the council tax which would cripple me if I took a low paid job. I thought about taking in a lodger to avoid having to claim the mortgage interest payments, but no, it would be seen as income and my benefits would be cut, together with the council tax benefit if the person was working. Barking mad. At least if the lodger was covering the interest and helping with the bills, it would leave the government better off, me better able to concentrate on my job search and more relaxed too. And no, I don’t sit on my backside. I do voluntary work for two charities whilst still looking.

  50. G
    Jun 22nd 2010, 11:21 pm

    Sheila – Do think there is no one at all not taking advantage … didn’t think so, people need to pick themselves up and learn a bit of responsibility. Some people do get pregnant as teenagers so they get their own home on HB and are happy to live on benefits, we should discourage this.

    Finally calling a man (Andrew )pathetic who goes out to work while injured is pretty low, from what I can see he has given a reasoned argument if a little broad brushed.

    Tom – Don’t be ridiculous with the “make people homeless to feed the rich” crap, houses and rent needs to cheaper that’s the solution. Additionally if someone can’t save 20% maybe they can’t afford a house (at current prices), just like people had to do in days gone by.

    Lisa – I said a benefit trap not a poverty trap (although they can certainly be related), from your first comment It sounds like that is exactly what your in.

    I’ll explain, its the situation where your better off on benefits than working, not only that but if started to work the resultant reduction in benefits you couldn’t afford to continue to live were you do (or even afford to feed yourself), I hope you can see why its called a ‘benefit trap’.

    From your description you sound like you’ve had a tough time and maybe a bit down, but also from your description it doesn’t sound like you’ll be affected by the recent announcements.

    You say your professionally qualified, this gives you a big step up if you decide to rejoin the world of work, but please take heart the state will be there to provide for the most needy, but to afford this we need to get people off benefits that take advantage and remove the benefit traps. We need to make sure working is always the better option (tapering benefits while at work for example is better than the current all or nothing for many vital benefits)

    I will say though, that I don’t see how you can qualify that the Budget will mainly (or at all) impact those that do work, I don’t see that, maybe you can enlighten me.

    john rogers – The only troll I can see here is you, everyone else seems to making reasonable comments.
    Maybe you believe anyone that doesn’t subscribe to your narrow view of the world are ‘Tory Trolls’, maybe free speech on an open ‘forum’ is lost on you (welcome to the internet).

    “Already many claimants pay an excess on their accomodation, how on earth will they able to find somewhere to live?” Move to somewhere that is affordable, just like the many people who work and pay rent? (commuting from Reading to London instead of living in central London for example)

  51. Linda Hansard
    Jun 22nd 2010, 11:31 pm

    The worrying thing is – this is just the beginning and the tip of the iceberg. There are many more cuts to come. Many more people will loose their jobs and be forced into poverty. Its us working classes who will suffer the most, the rich will find ways of fiddling the books to get away relatively unscathed. But will we as a nation just accept the drivel they are feeding us? Look back into the 20s, this is history repeat itself, The working classes marched on the streets in protest and changed history. They did not go down without a fight. Why are we all now so complacent – or are we? Will we stand and be counted once again? I HOPE SO OR WE WILL BECOME LOST SOULS!

  52. perry
    Jun 22nd 2010, 11:31 pm

    Great News, peopel on low income will pay less tax :-) its a start. the changes are about the people who abuse the system. of course a few and sadly a few people will suffer. Yet most of us know that change needed to happen. Labour gave us this problem yet their supporters turned a blinde eye. Con /Lib Con may make this work, yet we have a long way to go. This is nothing , wait and see.

  53. Melanie
    Jun 22nd 2010, 11:45 pm

    I would like to address all the abuse the ‘dole dossers’ get. I was made redundant from my full time job and also abandoned by my partner of 10 years 5 years ago, whilst pregnant with our 5th child. I probably get the highest possible rates of benefits as they are 6 of us and i also get DLA and carers allowance for my youngest who has Autism, ADHD, DCD and Learning Difficulties. We don’t have a life of luxury, in fact we have £5 left this week till Saturday when the CTC hits my a/c. So how people surviving ( and yes it is just surviving) on lower incomes get on, I don’t know. Now thanks to the tories, my son has to go through reassesment (obviosly he will pass) but he will have to suffer the disruption, there is a possibility of the housing benefit being cut, carers allowance lost and increased pressure to look for work – because i am idle???? I also was born with 2 curvatures to my spine, and at a grand old age of 34 have developed spongelitis, I have xrays, reports and all to prove this. I don’t claim DLA for myself as i feel sure they would not pay 2 lots of DLA to 1 household. The purpose of my post is to let people see that benefits are no luxury and single parents are doing a very hard job, most of us carers are single parents too. We need not be ridiculed by the ‘better half of society’. As for being evicted because the gov wont pay £10 towards my rent, then they’d probably be paying upto £3000 in foster care for my ‘scummy offspring’ as children are now allowed to be homeless in this country, social services take over. I am a terrible speller as i am Dyslexic (not a chav). As for the person who commented about the workhouse, let me ask, if your child was in there 20’s, having been a respectable worker for a couple of years and only paid in a couple of thosand of taxes. Say they were seriously ill and needed treatment to save their life costing £40,000, should they be denyed it because they would be scrounging over £30,000 of tax payers money? No … I bet you would soon change your tune !!! I say all of you tory voters who are stinging after the tory budget, it serves you bloody right you should have voted labour. To all you single parents and carers you are the most hard working people in our country so don’t let anyone tell you you are lazy, you are raising the next generation… alone and or in very difficult circumstance so well done, keep up the good work. All you single parent haters think on about all the mony wasted on serial killers being kept in a fine way in prisons, the 40,000 spent by bloody prince charles to hire a bloody train for him and his wife, the many thosands that are being wasted in iraq (as this war is set to go on for another 20 years), child benefit – abolish it and add the 20 or 11 quid onto the tax credits so it can be means tested my list could go on but i must go as my son has decided to get up and go for a wonder.

  54. john rogers
    Jun 23rd 2010, 12:01 am

    I do wonder how all the ‘lady bountifuls’, the sort of people who used to do talks to the poor, etc, during the great depression on ‘how to bake a cake and make it go further’ ended up on the TUC blog, genuinley interested.

    and for the spelling pedants, who cares…

    an no i don’t apoligise for my anger, it was such a spirit that created the welfare state, a fine system which you dare to come on her to defame.

  55. Alex
    Jun 23rd 2010, 12:13 am

    I feel a lot of empathy for you, Melanie. There are people out there who abuse the system and it’s very easy to see. When I have to go to the Job Centre to sign on, I can often smell weed and see people hanging around outside with cans of special brew. And this is at 11 am, which disgusts me. These are the people who should be targetted. I people watch a lot and listen to what people say to each other whilst waiting around at that place (and it’s the most humiliating experience I’ve ever had – I’d rather have a rectal examination in front of 200 people!).

    The civil list should be abolished. They have their own private estates and if everyone else has to suffer, why shouldn’t they too? After all, Prince Charles has self quoted himself as a “prince of our times”.

    As I say, I feel ashamed to ask for the out of date food, but I have a good relationship with my local shop and they always have a bag for me to avoid me embarrassment. What goes around comes around.

    I hope that they don’t put your youngest through the mixer. Going for an examination is stressful enough for someone who doesn’t have those disorders, never mind a child. A friend of mine suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome and is an absolute state about.

    There are some things that I agree with in the budget, but as a strong LibDem for years, I think Clegg has sold us out. VAT increases will affect the most vulnerable in society, especially those with children.

    Best of luck to you Melanie and you sound like you’re doing a great job with your children.

  56. lucie
    Jun 23rd 2010, 1:23 am

    I have read a few of the posts and whilst I do empathise with people who work hard and feel unfairly discriminated against, I still fail to understand why the government should be expected to pay such extortionate housing benefits.

    I live in zone two central london and rent a large victorian house. Ok, it may not be Chelsea, but for £400 a week, we have a beautifully furnished property in a safe part of town that would easily house a family with 4 kids.

    Arguably London is the most expensive county to live in in the UK. Therefore, given my experience, I find it incredible to believe that rents around the country could be higher than this for a decent family home.

    So why should the government be expected to pay in excess of £20k a year in housing benefits for one family. Did you read about the £104k a year benefits that have been paid to some families?

    I appreciate that this is not applicable to everyone, and although this is an emotive subject, I am glad that this government is actually making positive steps to reduce the huge unsustainable debt built up by a reckless labour government.

    I think people do not truly comprehend the implications of this huge debt on the country. If the Labour govnt was still in power and the UK were to go down the same route as Greece, do you think the benefit levels labour introduced would be sustainable in this situation?

    Everyone in this country is free to choose their own lifestyle and everyone from time to time will fall upon hard times. But inequality is not just reserved for the poorest in society. Could you please for once empathise with those people that choose to not have a large family, work hard all of their lives, and contribute hundreds of thousands in taxes to be “rewarded” for saving? What do these people receive? higher income tax and capital gains tax bills which are ultimately used to finance the economic debt and the benefits paid!

    I am proud to be a tax payer and contribute to society i.e. the NHS and schools and think it is important to support those genuinely in need. However, I just wish that the minority who expect to receive benefits just because they have a large family could recognise how lucky they are that they live in a country that provides such generous benefits to them!!

  57. nick
    Jun 23rd 2010, 2:13 am

    Linda, I have just read your post where you state that “THIS IS PROPAGANDA, the government want the working classes to squabble and attribute blame.” and how you “cannot understand how some of you are so bigoted in your views. The trouble is that you listen to all the propaganda banded about….”

    But in your next post you express such bigoted views assuming that the rich live a stress and worry free life and that they dont work hard or at all?

    I may be well off, but I work on average 12 hours a day and am still studying now for professional exams in my spare time even though I left university 7 years ago! I can assure you I have a very stressful life and work extremely hard, as do many of my peers, friends and colleagues.

    I have not had the easiest personal background, but I do not use this as an excuse to attack other people in society.

    You then use the propaganda banded about by the government concerning bankers. Do you really believe that all bankers were to blame for the credit crisis we are now living in. Have you any idea what proportion of bankers sold the structured credit products that contributed to the crisis? It is nothing like the 100% you assume.

    Similar to the 5% of the rich that run this country, at most there would be only 5% of bankers within one bank that would have the authority to authorise those trades.

    As for the other 95%, they are merely doing the job they have been instructed to do. It is a myth that all bankers get paid huge bonuses. (of my friends that work in banks, I do not know one that works in the front office let alone gets paid the exuberant sums you are alluding to!)

    Do you not think that irresponsible people borrowing more than they could afford were not ultimately to blame? Before you make such sweeping generalisations, please consider the facts, not just the lies in the media. The credit crisis was fuelled by reckless lending but ultimately the responsibility should fall to those that chose to purchase property that they could not afford.

    As I said before, I consider myself to be well off. However, when I was offered 8 x my salary in a mortgage, I realised that I could not afford this. Instead of choosing to purchase a property, I have continued to rent. If other people (esp. btl investors) had been more prudent, the country would not be in the mess it is in now.

    As stated by some people above, it is the unsustainable house prices that have caused this crisis, driven by irresponsible individuals taking on too much debt, not the bankers.

    I agree that they have had a hand in this, but who hasnt? the government, sales staff on commission and poor regulation were also to blame.

    If you want to discuss equality and fairness, you have to have the big picture view of all of society i.e. not just the poor, you have to also consider the rich!!

  58. Peter Dow
    Jun 23rd 2010, 3:18 am

    Please join my new Facebook group –

    “Tories slash housing benefit making people homeless. Britons fight back!”
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=136874016328069

    Maximum of £280 per week housing benefit for a one bedroom property!
    Maximum of £400 per week housing benefit for a 4 or more bedrooms properties!
    Re-setting and restricting local housing allowances!

    Tory chancellor George Osborne, working for UK Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and his Deputy Tory Boy and Deputy Prime Minister Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, announced dramatic cuts to housing benefit in his emergency budget on 22nd June 2010.

    This heartless measure targets the poor and threatens mass homelessness as many tenants can now no longer afford their rent so are threatened with eviction from modest houses unless they get emergency funds.

    The poor are not to blame for economic failure! It does not help the country’s finances to make people homeless!

    Making people homelessness is not the poor “paying their share” – it is a disproportionate cruel treatment against poor people who need housing benefit to pay their rent. This is not fair to those poor who need housing benefit to pay their rent!

    This is the cruel Tory government in action we were all warned about which the Liberal Democrats are disgracefully supporting in coalition government and now the poor need help from Councils to make good the short-fall in their rent.

    Councils must pay the difference between what people were getting in housing benefit before and the new maximum the UK government is paying now.

    Osborne’s token £40 million extra for hardship cases is not going to be enough for Councils to make up the shortfall in all the cases of hardship there are going to be.

    The Tories are cutting housing benefit by a massive £1.8 billion a year. £40 million is only 2.2% of that total and maybe something like one person in 45 will get hardship payments to pay their rent in full. So it is a ridiculous lie for Osborne to pretend that £40 million will deal with the majority of hardship cases. No it won’t.

    Councils may well need to raise local taxes, the Council tax and introduce other charges upon from the wealthy and upon those who own more than one property to find the money.

    Councils may have to consider compulsory purchasing properties which have been rented out from previous landlords to take them over and charge lower rents that people can afford with the new low maximums of housing benefit.

    There is much Councils can do to defend people who are now short of the money they need to pay their rent.

    Councils must not be allowed to do nothing and allow people to be made homeless.

    Evictions must be banned meantime until the poor can get their rent paid for.
    Sheriff officers and police must be told never to help landlords evict tenants.
    The poor must organise themselves to resist evictions and to find places to squat if people are evicted anyway and nowhere can be found at housing benefit maximums.

    In Scotland the Scottish Parliament must take responsibility to help Scottish councils to pay the short-fall in housing benefit and the Welsh Assembly should take responsibility to help Welsh councils as well.

  59. Tokyo Gaijin
    Jun 23rd 2010, 4:29 am

    The culture and language of dependency and entitlement in the original blog and some of these posts is breathtaking.
    Take a look at the comment from Shelter in Scotland – “This is at a time when nearly half of LHA claimants are already making up a shortfall of almost £100 a month to meet their rent.” What completely back-to-front thinking !! It’s the responsibility of the individual to take care of themselves and their family. Housing allowance is making up any shortfall (whatever that actually means).
    It’s absolutely right that housing allowance should be set at a lower level than the median local rents. Benefits such as this one should only be safety nets, they should not act as a disincentive to work or remove individual responsibility.
    “Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants who are in reciept of Housing Benefit will also be penalised – from April 2013 after they have been claiming JSA for a year they will have their Housing Benefit entitlement cut by 10 per cent” Good !!! I know jobs are thin on the ground but the benefit system should not be encouraging benefit dependency.

  60. Tokyo Gaijin
    Jun 23rd 2010, 4:51 am

    @ Peter Dow
    £280 per week is over £14500 per year !!! and you don’t think this is enough !!! I’ve just looked at my local area on the LHA website, the current housing allowance for a one bedroom flat for a single person is very generous.
    “Councils may well need to raise local taxes, the Council tax and introduce other charges…Councils may have to consider compulsory purchasing properties…” or maybe people could get off their backsides, stand up and take responsibility for themselves instead of bleating and whining about how unfair it is.

  61. Tokyo Gaijin
    Jun 23rd 2010, 4:59 am

    @ James
    When people choose to have families they should also be aware of the responsibilities that come with that choice. It’s ridiculous to expect other people to pay for those choices. If people can’t provide for the needs of children then they shouldn’t have them.

  62. Mike
    Jun 23rd 2010, 6:44 am

    When you make the decision to have children you make an informed decision based on your circumstances at the time. When you have been made redundant 3 times in 4 years from when the child is 3 to when they’re 6, and lost almost 70% of the yearly income you had when making the decision to start a family, it becomes very hard. Rents have almost doubled in this same time too. 6 or 7 years is a long time and circumstances changed massively, what do you expect people to do? decide they can’t support their children any longer take them outside and shoot them like an unwanted cat?!?

  63. Alex
    Jun 23rd 2010, 7:16 am

    There are a few differentials here. Those, as Mike said who decide to have children based on the circumstances at the time and then outside their control, lose the income that they had. And there are those who are completely and utterly irresponsible and have a child or children to be accomodated. Mistakes can happen, but contraception is pretty reliable these days,

    On topic though, there is also the issue that this cap takes no account of of the rent price differential between certain areas of the country. True, a lot of landlords have milked the system and they should be targetted too. Those who are willing to rent to people on benefits are usually the most unscrupulous out there. People on benefits can’t afford the extortionate rates that agencies charge and most private landlords state “No DSS”. So people are usually left with the lowest of the low. If anyone saw Tower Block of Commons on Channel 4, it truly shows how out of touch our politicians are.

    I won’t be affected by the changes, apart from the VAT aspect and probably being whipped into working in a burger bar when I have an MBA and 14 years of business and financial experience. But I know people who will be and they are the sick and the most vulnerable. What use is someone to society if they lose their home, slip greater into poverty and then find themselves becoming ill through the inability to feed themselves properly or get a job. It’s a vicious circle. A friend of mine can’t even afford to buy tampons or toilet roll. She grabs them from public toilets. That is a basic human necessily.

    As I said before, if people like me, who are in receipt of mortgage interest payments were allowed to rent a room to someone equivalent to what the MIP would be, it would save billions, together with the fact that if working, the person would have to pay the council tax.

    Make any sense?

  64. RichB
    Jun 23rd 2010, 7:34 am

    Linda “Why-should-the-working-classes-pay-at-all” Hansard, can I ask you a question? With the £20 billion a year in spending, how many new houses has Local Housing Allowance ever built? I can understand that people need to be housed, but LHA is simply a bad programme. It does nothing to increase the amount of housing, it just pays a huge subsidy to landlords to let the exact same flats to the exact same people who previously rented at a lower rent.

    Why are you not screaming from the rooftops that LHA should be abolished and all of the money invested in building council flats, which would expand the housing stock, house those in need, and bring down housing costs for everyone?

  65. JFJF
    Jun 23rd 2010, 7:36 am

    Ghettoisation of the long-term working and non-working poor is only part of the issue.

    I suspect the broader aim of this is to push working people (the sort of people who can’t afford to buy a house, i.e. most people on average incomes) towards unemployment insurance, since if you’re working and renting in a place at above the 30% local rent level you’re going to be screwed if your job goes down the toilet and you still have a long rental contract in front of you. The state won’t give you enough help, so you’ll need some protection, which the private sector (possibly in conjunction with commercial landlords and property management companies who may make it a condition of tenancy) will be all to happy to provide (for a chunk of commission), taking account of various risk factors which favour the educated and wealthy.

    The long-term strategy behind this (as with a lot of Tory policy) is to critically undermine the welfare system, to create a critical mass of ‘average’ working people with expensive insurance, and an underclass to be picked up by ‘voluntary and faith groups’.

  66. Mike
    Jun 23rd 2010, 7:54 am

    Has anyone seen how this ‘30% local rent level’ has been worked out? The rent for my area isn’t much different from a 2 bed flat, £550pcm to a 4 bed house, £700pcm. It’s crazy.

  67. Lisa Ansell
    Jun 23rd 2010, 8:09 am

    G- read what I said. Being professionally qualified doesn’t give me a big step up. Being professionally qualified means I get to go to work, and still need housing benefit- except with these cuts- it isn’t there any more.

    In addition to it not being there any more- neither is my profession.

    Being professionally qualified- does not DO anythingg. I AM in poverty- not because I don’t work. I DO work. I have always worked. I am in poverty for years now- regardless of whether I work or not.

    I love the fact that my income- means that people get to patronise me-by telling me the magic things that are going to help.

    I have the same ‘support networks’ as everyone else. I have friends- I live in a great town. I am intelligent. I trained for a VERY skilled career, I have NEVER been unemployed.

    I am not in poverty because I am stupid. Or lazy. Let me explain that to you.

  68. george
    Jun 23rd 2010, 8:11 am

    to state that there are no 4 bedroom houses to rent in London for 400 pounds a week is ridiculous. what james means to say is taht he cannot find one in posh areas for this. There are plenty to find in south east london and east london but then we get the prejudice coming through

  69. Richard
    Jun 23rd 2010, 9:25 am

    I think the point that is being missed here is that this measure effectively criminalises the unemployed. If you have been on JSA for a year your Housing Benefit will arbitrarily cut by 10%, no matter if you have applied for 10,000 jobs or 10 jobs. There is no trial, there is no right to put your case, there is no right of appeal and the sentence is again arbitrary, just plucked from the air, this is an affront to British justice of which I am rightly proud.

    If anything gives the lie to the coalitions case that they believe in social justice, it’s this nasty unjust proposal.

  70. Vernony
    Jun 23rd 2010, 9:56 am

    My speciality is sheltered housing. Undoubtedly this new capping is going to increase the demand for social housing. When sheltered housing was rapidly expanded in the 60/70s. Amongst other things it was felt that there were elderly people who were living in isolation in houses larger than their need, and ability in some cases to look after. The solution sheltered housing as this not only addressed loneliness in old age, but it had tailored activities for the age group. Thus, if one could supply these facilities then the elderly would be persuaded to vacate family sized units and move into sheltered housing. In all they gave up family sized homes sufficient to house a city the size of Birmingham.

    It’s now come full circle and present government policies conspire to remove Wardens from sheltered housing. Result the elderly will not move into them and a national asset is being run down. So we now have a situation where new policies will increase the demand for social housing, but also the elderly will not be able to release their larger than needs family homes back into the national stock because they have no place else to go !

    V.yarker
    Chairman
    The sheltered housing UK Association
    Www. Shelteredhousinguk.com

  71. Daily Cuts Briefing – Wednesday 23rd June « A Thousand Cuts
    Jun 23rd 2010, 10:11 am

    […] comments on the housing benefit cut (there’s comprehensive Budget analysis on the Touchstone […]

  72. shazia
    Jun 23rd 2010, 11:48 am

    Andy I totally agree with you. If you can’t afford it don’t hace children. also we should be able to compramise on things. I was born in India. Things like benefit etc are words unknown to people there. I used to live in a one bedroom flat (4 of us). we got good education, good jobs and gradually have got a better life now. I think the benefit culture here just encourages people to demand more and not to compramise to certain things like living with family.

  73. john rogers
    Jun 23rd 2010, 12:29 pm

    @Sahazia

    yes, and there are beggars on the streets, mass illiteracy, great child mortality, you need a history lesson, millions of people fought in the Uk and in other countries for a welfare state, it wasn’t given to them.

    i am also getting sick and tired of people contrasting ‘hard working immigrants’ with lazy ‘indegenous dolies’ etc. Even china is realising some form of welfare system is needed for social peace and ‘harmony’

  74. ellie
    Jun 23rd 2010, 12:34 pm

    isnt HB a clever pump up of the rich? making rich richer.
    the public/taxpayers’ money goes to the landlords paying their mortgages, they buy yet more houses to let…in the end, the poor do not have this public money, but the rich. it is all cleverly organised, the prices are high artificially, the poor trapped. 1st of all no country in EU has such inflated housing prices. weren’t they created to trap the poor?just think, why government pay £30,000 in HB pa when new housing could be built on this money- in 5 years it is £150,000, but it is all in the rich pockets, all our public money and no investment into social housing. newly built houses would stay and serve people, but actual system only enriches the rich, public money staying in their pockets

  75. Lisa Ansell
    Jun 23rd 2010, 12:42 pm

    To all those who have responded with the ‘why do people have kids they can’t afford, and other nonsense’.

    I am like you. The difference between a single parent, and a married parent, is a partner. A romantic relationship. And romantic relationships end. Quite a lot of them do. Parenthood itself can assist in that.

    You look at me, and you see someone who should have done better. Should have done differently. Well I am like you. Only my marriage failed, and society decided that my profession was worthless.

    This is not choice, it may make you feel better to think that it is. It may make you feel that somehow it can’t happen to you. Well it can.

  76. ellie
    Jun 23rd 2010, 12:51 pm

    The poor are duped.My friend was placed in a temporary accommodation which cost £200w which went to private landlord, but “she” got £440w of HB! why? £240 went to Octavia, socila housing “charity” which is an enterprise.So Octavia took tiny 1bed flat and claimed it as 2bed to HB, saying that kitchen includes living room.HB dpt automatically believe them as they are “charity”! For £240 w Octavia was supposed to manage, which never happens. “octavia”s are the private businesses created by the public school friends of camerons and osbornes who created whole welfare system to their own advantage.I was shocked to watch the audacity of public money laundering by such social housing landlords while people are kept in horrible disrepair and dirt. the private landlord turned a 3 bed house into 14 flats with cardboard walls to give it to Octavia for further profit on top. people in social housing are kept in horrible inhumane degrading conditions for decades only to enrich the rich. public services/social housing has to be run by the public, not the private businesses. that is the main problem in UK: that’s why no human public transport, or anything compared to EU

  77. ellie
    Jun 23rd 2010, 1:11 pm

    PS poor people are used by the rich to make money out of their poverty…they have no say

  78. Trevo
    Jun 23rd 2010, 1:56 pm

    Well I know many Of you on benefits won’t agree but if you’ve fallen on hard times then you should live like you’ve fallen on hard times, if that means you have to move to get cheaper rent then move and stop moaning, I work and if I couldn’t afford my rent I’d move. I have a mortgauge and I would not expect my neighbour who had fallen on hard times to still be able to live in his house on benefits,if he can then what sort of message does that give me. If you’ve fallen on hard times and can still live like me then something is wrong.

  79. paul
    Jun 23rd 2010, 1:58 pm

    Ellie has got it right; Housing benefit doesn’t go to the claimants it goes to subsidise the landlords. There is a whole sector of gangster cowboy buy to let criminals who are being subsidised by the state. And Housing Benefit keeps rents high, so it is more difficult to find cheap rented accomodation. The housing stock should be forcibly taken off them.

  80. ellie
    Jun 23rd 2010, 2:30 pm

    Paul put it right! They are gangsters! now the poor are corned, poor gettos will be created
    the private school club boys have been duping the public since the dawn of welfare state: on surface it all looks like the poor are cared, but in fact they are duped and pushed into worse/nowhere. WHY ON EARTH PAY PUBLIC MONEY TO THE PRIVATE LANDLORDS OR GANGS OF SOCIAL HOUSING ENTERPRISES? THIS PUBLIC MONEY SHOULD STAY PUBLIC!!!SOCIAL HOUSING SHOULD BE BUILT ON IT. A REVOLUTION NEEDED: MORE PUBLIC SERVICES, BUSES, TRAINS, ETC, SCHOOL MEALS,SOCIAL HOUSING SHOULD BE PUBLIC AND SERVE PUBLIC

  81. hofton
    Jun 23rd 2010, 2:39 pm

    Fantastic news! The only downside is the cuts aren’t lower.
    This means people on benefits will not be better off than married couples who both work. And for all of those who think i’m being too harsh on the so called poor of our society, try living next door to someone on housing benefits milking the system for all its worth.

  82. Tokyo Gaijin
    Jun 23rd 2010, 2:54 pm

    @ ellie
    As this “public” money comes from those of us who pay tax those who spend it have a responsibility to get the best value for every pound of it. There is little evidence that governments are good managers of housing, buses, trains etc.
    Private landlords, social housing organisations etc who provide housing to people on housing benefit should have to meet minimum standards of quality and shhould not be allowed to make excessive profits. My guess is that, just like every group in society, there are some who abuse the system, but that doesn’t make the whole system wrong.

  83. ellie
    Jun 23rd 2010, 3:53 pm

    Hofton, you look the wrong direction. why we have to pay for Cameron’s upkeeping at 10, downing if he lets his kensington house for £75,000, both have multimillion businesses, etc and so his “club”‘s boys…do you agree, they could only get their businesses because of their privileged connections and not hard work. others are kept out of game.
    BUT WHY YOU HAVE TO GET A MORTGAGE IF YOU BECOME A SLAVE TO IT AND LIVE ALL THE LIFE IN FEAR TO LOSE HOME?
    WHO PUT IN PEOPLE’S HEAD HERE THAT THEY MUST DO SO ENRICHING THE BANKERS? AND IF HOMELESS, AGAIN, ENRICHING THE RICH?
    they play upon this division they created: M.Thatcher pushed people to buy, buy, buy – when they did, they got enslaved to the banks, then – jealous to those on HB…etc etc DIVIDE AND RULE – is the most manipulative ideology the rulers succeed by
    instead, embrace each other, love each other for the true human qualities – what this rotten society promotes since thatcher: show off, be selfish, own at any price
    why both parents have to work if the kids are abandoned? the governement should create such a scheme that one spouse can support ( with HB or not) and kids not abandoned in expensive nurseries 0 WHY PEOPLE ARE SO EASILY DUPED?
    INSTEAD OF HELPING THE WICKED TO DUPE YOU EVEN MORE – LOOK INTO THE ROOT, AS THEY JUST LAUGH BEHIND OUR BACKS

  84. ellie
    Jun 23rd 2010, 4:04 pm

    Tokyo, the whole system’s created such a way that the rich become richer! the very idea of private companies to look after the public interest when they are only concerned with their profit. how many altruists are there?
    the nice faithful trusting people like you are in fact responsible for allowing the crooks to operate in such audacious way! Octavia call themselves a charity robbing the public funds/taxpayers monies! £240 for “managing” doing nothing at all! who do you think could get such a contract? and they are given rent free charity shop spaces by the same council! and everyone believes in word “charity”- are they, if just making money? do they build social housing? No! just “managing”…have you heard of a blind charity paying the directors £200,000 for 2 hour meeting expenses ( probably tea and cakes made at Mars…)
    People are distracted, cleverly, by media, TV too much to have time to SIMPLY THINK about the situation
    all evil on earth is committed because of the indifference
    HAVE YOUR SAY

  85. Kat Fyfe
    Jun 23rd 2010, 4:07 pm

    The ‘Daily Mail’ level of ignorance on this site is an utter disgrace:

    If you think that people have children in order to live in a state of poverty than you’re deluded. People end up in poverty for various reasons, job cuts, family breakdown, illness all play there part.

    Should working class people expect the rich to bail them out? Yes. The rich are rich because working people produce products and services which they sell back to the working class for a profit. It’s not a bail out…its justice.

    There are a lot of people who lazy, idle and should be making a contribution to society…most of them are shareholders who take dividends for living off people who work. Why doesn’t anyone jump up and down about that idle lot??? And don’t think you don’t pay for the rich like you do the poor thought taxes…you do. You pay every month when you don’t get the full worth of what you work for…the invisible tax of theft.

    Wake up…time for a bit of class war

  86. ellie
    Jun 23rd 2010, 4:13 pm

    the society should come to the equal distribution of wealth mentality
    why still allow the privileged to take all lot living the rest enslaved? SEE NOAM CHOMSKY AND JOHN PILGER ON U-TUBE
    the whole society is constantly serving the rich: even HB goes to them even more concentrating the wealth in hands of few! there are landlords who own 20-50 homes around me, and all public money goes to him, they buy even more properties and social housing never grows!
    how on earth could labour let this happen?
    but no tories will care about it either
    where is a proper socialist party as anywhere in EU?
    whole EU is socialist: the rich and poor go to the same school and live in the same street, no apartheid.
    media tell us that socialism is what russia had – russia only had totalitarianism, never socialism
    SOCIALISM IS ABOUT FAIR SOCIETY,

  87. Nicola Smith

    Nicola Smith
    Jun 23rd 2010, 6:30 pm

    There are many comments here from people who are concerned about the impact that Housing Benefit changes will have for them. Shelter are offering advice, and you can find out about it here:
    http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/paying_for_a_home/housing_benefit_and_local_housing_allowance

  88. towsu
    Jun 23rd 2010, 7:02 pm

    I am a landlord and cannot understand why landlords are charging so much money for properties. my highest rents are 450 per month for a 4 bedroomed property. I am really fed up of people calling me greedy I make no money and get loads of hassle. Tenants leaving owing hundreds of pounds in rent trashing the houses and abusing me. It is not easy to be a landlord and it most certainly isnt easy money if I am lucky I might make enough to get by by the time I am 70. nobody is buying me a house as most buy to let are interest only and the most you are lilkely to make is on any house prices increases then you have to pay a massive chunk on cgt. I have had years of tenants expecting me to clean up after they smash windows have doors kicked in and abuse properties.

  89. Mel
    Jun 23rd 2010, 7:19 pm

    The bombshell here is not the cuts to the maximum benefit in pound notes per week (headline making examples of a handful of families receiving £100k pa), but the limiting of ‘eligible’ rent when calculating benefit to 30% of local average rent. Two bedroom properties in outlying areas in the city I live in (many of which are ex-council properties) start at £600pm – and they are not luxurious. Tenants who receive Local Housing Allowance (LHA – the new name for Housing Benefit for private tenants) have a lease directly with their landlord or agency. If the rate is cut from £600 to £180 pm then there are going to be a lot of tenants unable to pay their rent. Which means a lot of landlords unable to pay their mortgage. A lot of work for solicitors and courts too processing evictions. Yes, market rents perhaps need some readjustment but we are talking here about people who have legally binding contracts at existing levels. It’s hard enough for so-called ‘DSS’ tenants to actually rent a property anyway, with many needing guarantors, family members who can be pursued for the debt. This will simply increase the stigma surrounding housing benefit, which LHA was introduced to reduce. As councils have a statutory duty to house homeless people we are also going to see a big increase in the state bill for expensive emergency accomodation. Bear in mind that many LHA claimants DO work, but because of low incomes (for many reasons, disability, single parents, carers – let’s assume that the majority are deserving), they recieve LHA. This will only be a percentage of the ‘eligible’ rent if there is income from employment (of which I believe only the first £10 is disregarded).
    Why can’t benefit claimants live in social housing where rents are cheaper? Because much of the stock was sold off under a policy introduced by a previous Conservative Government, and the waiting list in many areas is years long (most LHA claimants will be on the waiting list). Not all buy to let landlords are chancers and scoundrels, many are simply middle income families who were encouraged to invest in property – ‘a nation of homeowners’ – and unfortunate homeowners who have been unable to sell their property recently. If we thought the housing market crash of the last year or two was bad just wait and see what happens now… Repossesions and homelessness will rocket.

  90. Mel
    Jun 23rd 2010, 7:31 pm

    Towsu – under new rules, if your tenants are entitled to housing benefit, they would only get £135 in benefit to pay you even though the rent is £450 – unlikely they can make up the rest themselves – this is where decent landlords are going to be affected.
    Incidentally, differing reports as to what the percentage of rent paid will be – respected organisations and broadsheets reporting anything between 30 and 60% – Actual budget report doesn’t give a figure. Some broadsheets reporting this will come into effect immediately, meaning many tenants unable to pay their rent at the end of this month, I don’t think this is true, looks like April 2011.

  91. poorest
    Jun 23rd 2010, 11:55 pm

    I am interested to hear ppls views on poverty. To me it means insufficient funds for the necessities in life i.e. access to food, safe drinking water and a roof. However, it appears that alot of ppl pleading poverty still have access to luxuries i.e. the internet, mobile phones etc… should the tax payer really be expected to pay for these additional luxuries for ppl that cant support their own lifestyles?

    I would also like to add that I hate my job, but out of necessity to provide for my family, I work really hard. I am fortunate enough to be rich with a well paid job , but I have worked incredibly hard to get where I am now. I have not relied on a partner or the state to support me and my family and am fed up of listening to ppl saying that I should be redistributing my wealth to finance poor ppls luxuries.

    Where is the fairness in the “rich” giving all of their hard earned cash to the “poor” just because we have the initiative to work hard. I have been made redundant in the past, but have just adapted, learnt a new trade, fought hard to find work.

    What do you think would happen to this country if all the rich ppl left? There would be no jobs as these so called “greedy b****st**ds” would not be there to create wealth. Do you really think society could function without the rich? Who would pay for the welfare system without them?

    Hate them or not, the rich play a vital part in the economy. They pay taxes, which are fed into the system, etc. Its not just greedy bankers or the aristocracy that earn good money. What about all of the top surgeons, dentists etc? Do they not play a critical role in society?

  92. Angela
    Jun 25th 2010, 1:51 pm

    ITS A CATCH 22. Most private landlords WILL NOT ACCEPT HOUSING BENEFIT even if you are working. Then the ones that do are GREEDY because they have been allowed to get the maximum LHA for their properties i.e. my three bed flat is £450 per week. My landlord is very good fortunate for me but some Landlords are horrible they are renting out damp-ridden shit-holes and not doing anything for the tennants. They have been allowed to get away with milking the system through vunerable people and now the government needs to clamp down. They should never have allowed it in the first place. But what about the poor people that need somewhere to live they will be homeless if the landlord wont accept the cuts like everyone else has too!!!

  93. Budget claims on child poverty do not stack up | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC
    Jun 25th 2010, 4:06 pm

    […] that are missed out (the full set of data sources included are here) include: Housing Benefit cuts, cuts in DLA (where around 12 per cent of claimants are children), cuts to grants for mothers […]

  94. Tokyo Gaijin
    Jun 26th 2010, 1:10 pm

    @ Angela
    Almost certainly the landlords that accept housing benefit tenants will have little choice other than to reduce their rents to match the new housing benefit levels, who else are they going to be able to rent to at the inflated rates you say they are getting ?

  95. jessica
    Jun 26th 2010, 8:26 pm

    I think it is ridiculous that people whinge on about drop in housing benefit, I am on benefits and live in a fairly decent housing association 3 bed property for less than 400 a month never mind 400 pound a week. some of the rents that have even been allowed in the first place are truly shocking. If I got a job even part time with top ups I would struggle to pay even the rent for my property as it is. Only very wealthy people would pay up to 400 pound a week for rent. You could easily half the cap on rent and there are still very good properties out there for that.

  96. Marcus Ward
    Jun 27th 2010, 1:32 pm

    Can please someone tell me if i have this wrong.
    It states that the housing benefit cuts is going to be cut in Oct 2011 to 30% of local rents.
    If this is the case then the tenant with Children will have to fund an extra £70 per week on a £100 per week place. In the best will in the world this is not going to happen if they cannot find work.
    On the back of that Landlords who have many places that have Loans to pay are going to find that he/she cannot pay the banks, which will mean they will be made to sell them ASAP.
    So your going to have alot of houses up the Sale all at once & also alot of tenants homeless, & of course they will not be able to rent elsewhere because they cannot afford to pay the extra.
    Again unless i have got the figures wrong then there is going to be a big problem next year, which could create another deep in the banks overall.
    I for one will be in this boat.

  97. Marcus Ward
    Jun 27th 2010, 1:34 pm

    Can please someone tell me if i have this wrong.
    It states that the housing benefit cuts is going to be cut in Oct 2011 to 30% of local rents.
    If this is the case then the tenant with Children will have to fund an extra £70 per week on a £100 per week place. In the best will in the world this is not going to happen if they cannot find work.
    On the back of that Landlords who have many places that have Loans to pay are going to find that he/she cannot pay the banks, which will mean they will be made to sell them ASAP
    So your going to have alot of houses up the Sale all at once & also alot of tenants homeless, & of course they will not be able to rent elsewhere because they cannot afford to pay the extra.
    Again unless i have got the figures wrong then there is going to be a big problem next year, which could create another deep in the banks overall.
    I for one will be in this boat.

  98. Nicola Smith

    Nicola Smith
    Jun 27th 2010, 10:59 pm

    Hi Marcus, my understanding is that at the moment Housing Benefit paid to private sector landlords is worked out using the local housing allowance (LHA) – which is calcualted monthly and is based on the median of local rents. From 2011, LHA will be based on the 30th percentile of local rents. So, if the median of local rents is currently £100, in 2011 the amount payable will move to the 3rd percentile, around £60. In addition, from 2012 the Government are proposing that LHA is not linked to rents, but to inflation (CPI) – this will mean that it rises far more slowly than rents and loses its real terms value.

    Shelter are providing advice on these changes. They have information on their site about how LHA works (at present) and their helpline number is also available there:
    http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/paying_for_a_home/housing_benefit_and_local_housing_allowance/what_is_local_housing_allowance

  99. Marcus Ward
    Jun 28th 2010, 12:09 am

    Nicola,
    Thanks for your input, i will be speak to the head of the Benefits over the next few days, not that they will know much yet.
    If your figures are correct then that is not as bad, i could carry one for a while, but the rent payable by Benefits is the same when i first stared in 1998.
    I can see Landlords will turn around & not want DSS at all soon.
    Thanks again.

  100. Tokyo Gaijin
    Jun 28th 2010, 7:08 am

    @ Nicola
    How have you calculated the effect of the change from median to the 30th percentile to equal a reduction of 40% ? Based on a quick analysis of properties available for rent in my area the reduction would be around 10%. Far from the claims that the changes will result in people being made homeless the new level will still be adequate for people to get reasonable place to live.

  101. Tokyo Gaijin
    Jun 28th 2010, 7:20 am

    @ Marcus Ward
    Your basic assumption is wrong.
    The LHA is calculated based on local rents. As an illustration lets say there are 11 similar properties in the rental market this month at asking rents of 450, 450, 475, 480, 495, 500, 505, 510, 520, 525, 530 per month. The current LHA is calculated on the median ie the one in the middle, in this example that would be 500 pounds per month (5 values are lower 5 are higher). The change will move the calculation to the 30th percentile ie 30% from the bottom, in this case that would be 480 pounds per month (11*0.3=3.3 rounded up to 4). So the reduction in housing benefit would be 20 pounds per month or 4%

  102. Nicola Smith

    Nicola
    Jun 28th 2010, 9:21 am

    Tokyo Gaijin, you are right, I have wrongly assumed that the spread of rents in the example goes from 0 – 200, with 100 being the median and 60 being the 3rd percentile. As you say the exact reduction claimants face will depend on the spread of local rents in an area – the bottom percentile will inevitably not be 0.
    Marcus – as Tokyo says the reduction will depend on rental prices in your area.

    But I think that it’s important not to underestimate the situation – the extent of the spread of rents will depend on local housing markets, in parts of London I would imagine that the spread of rents is far larger than those that Tokyo has outlined. Also, LHA willbe linked to CPI from 2012-13, so the amount of housing benefit payable will fall in real terms value relative to rents – if rental prices increase faster than CPI inflation it could be that the amount payable falls below the third percentile over time.

    Nicola

  103. Tokyo Gaijin
    Jun 28th 2010, 11:56 am

    @ Nicola
    The level of HB has a direct impact on market rents and property prices. Landlords know how much the LHA is for their property and set the rent accordingly. This feeds into non HB rental prices (why would a landlord take less from a private renter ?) and, based on the rental yield, purchase prices.
    A landlord renting to a HB tenant is unlikely to evict that tenant knowing any other HB tenants are going to get the same HB amount. Therefore in many cases the people most likely to “pay” the biggest share of a reduced LHA are landlords.

  104. Neil
    Jun 28th 2010, 12:48 pm

    Why the hell is it the poorer sector of the population being made to suffer more than they are, Yes there are benefit cheats, yes there are people popping out children in a way to get onto the council housing list and people love to get every thing just handed to them, it cost millions every year for this.

    For those that have not been on benefits, commenting on housing cuts, need to pipe down, basically whats happening everyone is being tarred with the same brush in the governments eyes and your eyes.
    Housing cuts will affect everyone on benefits not just those that are playing the system.
    They need to sort out the benefits cheats. People dont decide what the cost of the rent is going to be. the landord does, it be private or council , housing associations,
    So the government say yes u can live there we pay ur rent, now the cuts mean u have to down size, so they are available to pay for that one at a cheaper rate.
    council go by a point system now and if u not got the points u loose out and have to pay more of ur legit benefit to stay there when they aggreed to pay that sum in the first place. if it was lower people would have got a lower rent property.

    Its easy to say get of your butts and get a job, but its not as easy as people like to think it is.
    Some people live in far smaller properties than they need and still they are penelized in other ways. and have to pay a contribution to their rent already
    i can understand if u got a property and ur paying 400 a WEEK then move u taking the ****, theres plenty of private housing under 1000 a month if u want to stay private.
    yes me and the wife are on benefits and we up sized to look after a family member for 2 yrs, now hes gone and we havent been able to down size yet, Ive been out of work for just over 6 months and now i see we gunna be penelized for this, aint the country wondeful.
    maybe the government need to look at what they waste, ie 2 homes, helicopters that dont work, unneeded wars, two many politicians in the first place, their wages as the tax payer pays them etc etc etc. maybe the national insurance we pay, actually go towards what its ment., this country takes takes takes and when u need help they want to help at the minimal cost. its a joke

  105. Tokyo Gaijin
    Jun 28th 2010, 2:11 pm

    @ Neil
    “Housing cuts will affect everyone on benefits” this is wrong. The people it’s likely to affect the most are landlords. If they rent to somebody on HB today when the HB level goes down they’ll likely reduce the rent accordingly, who else are they going to rent to ?
    “People dont decide what the cost of the rent is going to be. the landord does”. The market decides the level of rent and the market is distorted by HB payments. If a landlord knows the LHA for his property (which he will just by looking at the website) he’ll set the rent to that level, if the LHA goes down so will the rent.
    “now the cuts mean u have to down size” probably not, see point above.
    “u loose out and have to pay more of ur legit benefit to stay there” probably not, see two points above, but even if it’s right that’s just life. When interest rates go up people have bigger mortgage payments which means they have to reduce other spending. When people in jobs take a pay cut or freeze because the company they work for is having tough times they have less to spend. Why should people on welfare be protected from having to make changes ?
    I agree that most benefit claimants are legitimate and that there are many areas where savings can and should be made, but at the moment the welfare state is doing a lot more than providing a basic safety net. It often works against those people it’s meant to help.

  106. Alex
    Jun 28th 2010, 2:17 pm

    Here here, Neil. I am single, no children, on JSA following being made redundant and am in receipt of mortgage interest payments, which to all intents and purposes keeps a roof over my head in the same way as housing benefit does (and wont, in my view for much longer) and are significantly lower than monthly rentals for the most squalid 1 bedroom bedsit in the area in which I live.

    I called the DWP with what I thought would be a sensible proposition. That I rented out a room for the market rate which would cover the interest. If the person is working, they would pay council tax and the DWP would no longer need to pay me MIPs. Seems sense? Ah but no. It would be seen as income to me and my benefits would be cut. So here’s me trying to save the state money whilst I live on £65 or so per week (and had to be taken into hospital with pneumonia over christmas as I couldn’t afford to heat the house) and to get a full time job (and more so than a lot of people) and I can’t do something reasonable and helpful.

    Some friend of humanity on another forum said that I should take any job and sell my house. That makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? I’m professionally qualified with 12 years of business experience. How the heck could I afford to sell my house? If I was still on benefit, I couldn’t afford the fees and very few people are willing to accept people on benefits for rented accomodation. Plus the stress and cost of moving – how does that help me get back into the workplace?

    Having read this thread, there ar people being minoriotised by society – the poor will get poorer and so will the what are termed “middle classes”. But how can you put a definition on “class”? My heart goes out to single parents who do try to work and live on the breadline in order to do so, without the provision of affordable childcare. I am looking into ways in setting up my own business to make childcare affordable for both single mothers and fathers who want to work. There’s also a whole scope of training that could be provided within these systems and after all, education is supposed to be a headline with this government.

    The other point is that not all people have families or somewhere to bolt if the worst came to the worst. So they have no choice but to look after number one.

    And yes, there are people who take the proverbial out of the system. I have a 12 mile around trip by cycle to get to the Job Centre. What do I see outside JCP? People smoking weed and drinking cans of special brew. Not only that but then you go in and you’re treated like something on the bottom of the advisor’s shoe.

    How savvy the government is about picking out the genuine people and the non genuine is debatable. I suspect they”ll take the easy option and give everyone the kybosh. They better had start investing more in the NHS, because there will be people taken in because they are malnourished, become iller and iller, suffer from depression and the suffering that there already is will become much worse.

    So who pays? Those working in the public sector, especially the police, paramedics, hospital staff (apart from the “red tape”) and those who are genuinely ill and should be protected. And I’m talking from the point of view of someone who used to pay over £4000 pm tax and NI and I’d have gladly paid a higher rate of tax to protect the deserving in society. I don’t see the “rich” suffering too much.

    I used to be a LibDem but I’ve now resigned my membership.

    Ill thought out plans, badly conceived and ones which will come back and bite the government very sharply.

  107. Jo
    Jun 28th 2010, 4:55 pm

    There’s a simple answer for all those who’ve been hit by these current benefit cuts: Get into high level drug trafficking, prostitution and burglary. These businesses are easy to get into and offer fantastic financial compensation for those with absolutely nothing left to lose.

    Welfare may not solve society’s ills but it helps. It also stops those ills spilling over and ruining the lives of those hardworking professionals who want to be able to take a walk without being mugged, and don’t want to see their families targeted by kidnappers and drug dealers. I’m sure some will suggest bringing back national service to offer an opportunity to those with nothing but these measures would have to apply to the children of the rich as much to the children of the poor and professional people who have moved areas to make sure their kids go to the best schools are not going to be happy at the idea of their children then mingling with the cross section of society they’d meet doing national service.

    I understand the reasons for this drastic budget and have a lot of sympathy with trying to prevent absurd overspending. But cutting housing benefit and forcing people on the street will achieve nothing but greater social unrest and a rise in crime that there is no money left to police.

    Nobody chooses poverty for themselves or their family. Not many people choose to be out of work either. People who think unemployment is a holiday should be invited to live on a council estate for sixty five quid a week and consider whether they could take more than a few weeks of it without succumbing to deep depression.

    Nobody wants to be poor. Everyone wants a chance to follow their dreams and make something of themselves. Everyone wants to see their kids have the best possible opportunities. The gap between rich and poor widened to absurd levels under New Labour and up until last week the new coalition stood a good chance of keeping Labour out of power for a generation. This budget has probably ensured that the con-lab pact will fall apart and that the days of the tories are numbered. As bad as New Labour were the second the cardboard boxes start appearing on the streets again and that middle class property is no longer safe even a few Daily Mail readers may start to wonder if voting tory was a good idea. I believed that the conservatives made moderate by the liberal democrats might actually make a better government than Labour. That dream hasn’t lasted long. Severe measures needed to be taken but targeting the poorest members of society is always idiotic. And if it’s a matter of wanting to drive private rents down why not just put a cap on private rents. That would make a lot more sense than making people homeless.

  108. Yan Seminole
    Jun 28th 2010, 7:47 pm

    like your site will visit again

  109. Marcus Ward
    Jun 28th 2010, 9:53 pm

    Looking at that what i have said about the HB amounts that will be paid, at the end of the day tenants who are being pushed into findind a job it all depends on if there are jobs in the area they live, & the jobs are going to pay not to be on HB.
    We won’t see what amounts are going to be paid until into next year i feel, so i advice is to look for work now if you are on Benefits, not saying that this will be easy, but better getting a job now than when next year hits & everyone is panicing.
    Good luck to all.

  110. Perry
    Jun 28th 2010, 11:45 pm

    Marcus!! your adv look for a job now!!!! that’s what everyone on HB should have been doing anyhow. You really make it clear howe great these changes will be. Those sitting at home or playing victim will now have to get off thier you know what, and start to give instead of take but working and paying taxes too.

  111. Tokyo Gaijin
    Jun 29th 2010, 12:56 am

    @ Marcus Ward
    Why haven’t you already been looking for a job !?!?!?
    In one of your earlier posts you said “but the rent payable by Benefits is the same when i first stared in 1998.” does that mean you’ve been claiming benefits for eleven or twelve years ?????

  112. Alex
    Jun 29th 2010, 10:12 am

    As one of the “great unwashed” as a lot of unemployed/sick people seem to be seen as and all grouped into the same pen like a herd of cattle, I for one have applied for 57 jobs over the past two weeks and do two voluntary jobs as well. If the jobs aren’t there, they’re just not there. Little wonder people become demoralised and then get smacked in the face with all these proposed (and still woolly) cuts. I would advise anyone who is trying and can’t get a job to do voluntary work. It keeps you in touch, socialises you and gives you a routine. I’m used to sifting through CVs and being the interviewer, not the interviewee!

    Yes, there are people who flagrantly abuse the system and it is those people who should be targetted. I worked through chronic fatigue syndrome instead of being signed off sick and if anyone has ever had it, or has it, they know how dibilitating it can be.

    Don’t tar us all with the same brush. Look at the bankers and politicians who have had their hands in the till. Don’t see them looking at homelessness. Think before judging and take each case on its own merits.

  113. Tokyo Gaijin
    Jun 29th 2010, 10:53 am

    Alex
    Fair points (in common with the other posts of yours that I’ve read).
    Although HB is being seen as an attack on the poor there is evidence to suggest the main losers will be landlords who set rental demands based on the LHA numbers for their property. When the LHA goes down so too will the rental demands leaving the HB recipient in an unchanged position.
    Good luck with the jobs you’ve applied for.

  114. Alex
    Jun 29th 2010, 12:16 pm

    I agree and disagree with you Tokyo. Most of the landlords who would take HB tenants leave their properties in a terrible state and flagrantly disregards the health and safety regulations. So, for example, take a landlord who rents a 3 bed house to a mother or father of two children who is in receipt of HB. The rate of HB is decreased. If I was a heartless landlord, I would keep the rent the same and move into the market of multiple occupancy, students and those just starting on the latter. Charge each a seperate rent and end up taking more money. When I was looking at renting a room out and having done my research, I could have received more per month than my MIPs.

    The landlord will not lose out. They will just go into a different market and rents will not go down. And B tenants will find it harder and harder to find accomodation.

    Thanks for your good wishes about the jobs! Fingers crossed!

  115. mike
    Jun 29th 2010, 1:51 pm

    when i was 16 my parents couldnt afford to keep me any longer and as a result i was made homeless, the council helped me out by placing me into a bedsit/flatshare with violent heroin addicts of whome i shared my bathroom and kitchen with, depsite my circumstances i managed to travel 40 miles a day to get to college using my ema money, then with a month of my course to go the goverment then made keyskills mandatory to aquire my b-tech diploma unfortunatly i was unable to cope with the 12 months worth of keyskills work to be done in a month ontop of my alrdy packed course an didnt recieve any qualifications for my efforts. i then found my self a minimum wadge job an despite working for the next 4 years was unable to afford better accomidation and continued to live in my bedsit i soon found myself becoming very depressed that even as a working member of society i couldnt afford more of a life for myself than a common junkie milking the system. i recently turned 25 an as such became entitled to accomidation above bedsit status, i now live in a small 1 bedroom flat with its own facilities its not the best place in the world but i love it, for the first time in my adult life my living conditions are reasnable, the only problem is housing benefit pay my rent at the moment and if i go back to work i wont be able to afford it anymore. i guess its a selfish notion but im not prepared to go back to work if it means going back to bedsit land with the junkies, is it shamefull to want more for myself than that? but after these benfit cuts i fear i will have too either way. if i could go back to college an finish my qualifications i could have a chance at higher wadge jobs but the job centre says im not allowed to go to college an recieve benefits at the same time. i could be a productive member of society if given a chance but there isnt much opertunity for anyone in cornwall unless your a pikey claiming all the benefits you can milk while selling stollen lead and scrap to make more money than even the highest paid cornish citozen, ive actually met people that make in excess of 1000 pounds a week on top there benfits from lead sales alone, these are the people that are draining the system yet the goverment continues to give them free land in acordance to there supossed gypsy heritage. these people wont suffer from benefit cuts, when they dont need the benefits to begin with, only the sick and the poor will suffer, through trying to punish benefit fraudsters they will doom us all, all except the people at the real heart of the problem the ones the goverment are trying to root out to begin with.

  116. Neil
    Jun 30th 2010, 1:06 pm

    @ tokyo
    he’ll set the rent to that level, if the LHA goes down so will the rent.

    Are u living in the real world m8, when has rent been decrease. As u stated why should people on benefits be protected. when u get no more than £55 to live on a week. then u have to pay contribution to ur rent, and in some cases have to pay services charge which u have to pay and doesnt decrease in amount. things get bloody hard, and u say thats my life.
    You really think the majority of people like myself like to live this way.
    So people work all their lives, pay the poxy tax, and when things get hard, tough. grrrrrrr.

    Also housing associtions when they build their properties have to accomadate a certain number for the local authorites. They is no law saying they cant evict these tenants if failure to pay the rent. Then they can sell these properties after the fact, which means then u r homeless or the local authories end up rehousing you out of the tax payers pockets.

    If you are on benefits (not in reciept of any form of credits) u will be affected, or sorry did i mention that tax credits will be affected too and those who went out to work for minimal amount will probably wont be able to afford to work now, plus NI is going up too,they could end up back claiming full benefits which includes rent. This is really sounding good now for the people that are really trying to get back to an easier way of living

    The government have screwed up again. yes something needs to be done, but hitting the worse off is ball. Most benefit claminates dont wont to be in this situation. and as the news has just stated up to 1.3 million public and private sector job cuts are on the cards, so how many of them they going to be on benefits over the next 5 yrs. We so good in this country, cuts housing costs but stick another few thousand on benefits to make claims.

  117. Neil
    Jun 30th 2010, 1:48 pm

    Im not picking on tokyo but ur working by the sounds of it, good for u, but now matter what happens u still going to pay tax and NI from ur wages, same as i was. You think they will drop ur tax and ni contributions when things get back on track with the countries finances. Will never happen, and when the cuts are made i very doubt that the benefits will go back up in time too. Depending which authority gets elected next time and what poo they convince us of. i hope u dont end up claiming and have the stress and conditions of trying to make ends meet.

    Does anyone remember how they came up with amount on how much it would cost someone to live on benefits, i believe it was in the late 70’s early 80’s when they did it, and it has increase roughly £1 per yr since then. (not rent, to live). they have had tv programmes trying people living on the streets, living in flats on the amount benefits claimants gets and they struggle just to survive for a few weeks.
    People moan about the housing benefit changes cost we know it will afect us in a bad way, even if it is only for a few yrs (hopefully be at work by then).

    The cuts the government are making are needed, but they making them in the wrong field. they get the local authories to make cuts too in what they think they can save on, im my area they now going to cut the cost to highway agency ie speed cams 100k yeah lets play with peoples saftey from the idiot drivers, 120k in nhs child pregnancy funding. lets not teach the young how not to get pregnant and raise a healthy child with no abuse. Tell them how to play the system ,will be easier and cheaper. there are more cost but i didnt want to hear the rest of the C**P they were talking about.
    Just call me victor meldrew, the wife does lol

  118. Tokyo Gaijin
    Jun 30th 2010, 2:58 pm

    @ Neil Victor Meldrew
    To be clear I’d like everybody who wants a job to have one and for those in genuine need to have some support while they get back on their feet.
    I stand by what I say on rent. If a landlord is renting to a tenant on HB and the LHA goes down he has 2 choices, either reduce the rent and keep his tenant or look for another tenant, but the LHA is reduced for all tenants so where is he going to find somebody to pay more ? plus he also has the risk of the property being empty for a period of time.
    With the s**t the finances are in it will be a long time before any taxes or national insurance gets reduced. This year the interest payment we have to make is 44 billion pounds, that’s more than transport or defence or housing & environment or public order & saftey and is equal to about 750 quid per person and every year it’s going to increase because of the crap Gordon Brown left. The debt we have is 900 billion, fifteen grand per person !!!!! Unless we start spending less than we earn and get some of this paid off we’ll never get out of this mess.

  119. Alex
    Jun 30th 2010, 4:17 pm

    Tokyo,

    I agree with what you say about the deficit having to be brought down, but not about landlords, but again it depends where the property is and the marketabiliy of the property in the private sector.

    Following the proposed changes – and they will happen, in the position of a savvy landlord, I would look to terminating the AST and looking for a private tenant, employed, who could pay the required rent. That’s the harsh reality of business. Obviously there are places where people do not really want to live and that has to be taken into consideration, but they will look to the private sector if circumstances fail. After all, there are many first time buyers who are employed but can’t get their feet on the property ladder but could still afford a decent privately rented home.

  120. Marcus Ward
    Jun 30th 2010, 10:38 pm

    Tokyo Gaijin,

    Further to your last message to me, i am a Landlord not a tenants on HB, so when i said that the rent rates where at 1998 rates, that’s when i started renting.
    Funny you should say that have i been on HB since 1998, i know of people who have been on benefits for a long time, the problem is that the jobcentre doesn’t direct or help them to get work.
    Don’t get me wrong there are people who just don’t see the point in getting a job because of the income they get on Benefits. The minimum wage doesn’t help the matter, & of course if there isn’t enought jobs to go around.
    My brother has just proven this to me, he has never been out of work in his life, he has always been able to do some type of work, he has really found it hard to get work this last few months, he is living in his car at the moment.
    I offered one of my places to him & he said he would rather live in his car.

  121. Melanie
    Jun 30th 2010, 11:47 pm

    I don’t know where people get off thinking that people on benefits are so well off?? i know from experience that as a full time single parent worker earning £12500 and supporting a family i was much better off than i am now as a single parent carer to a disabled child on benefits. The housing benefit cuts wont affect me as i don’t claim jsa and my rent is just 94 per week but there are many that it will, and they are from all walks of life, people on the dole, people that work, people that are landlords. These are not just drops in income and a matter of cutting out luxuries, it means home or no home. Now people with families seem to get so much abuse, they still struggle they can still become homeless, the difference being that this would mean families being split up when the kids go in care.

    As for the ones that rant on about people being able to provide for the kids before they have kids, well circumstances change and no child asks to be born, should they realy be made to suffer?

    The government, well i apperciate that the have to make cuts. if i were in charge and i know i am not, i would increase the availiability/eligability for housing benefits when people are at work, as well as free dinners and set up some government childcare facilities to encourage people who are able and availiable back to work, thus increasing the economy and bung a little more on VAT, then as a population we get the choice of how much of this tax we can afford personaly and choose whether or not to indulge in luxuries, perhaps society will become less wasteful? Single jsa claimants well they should be given the opportunity of doing some volunteer community service work and given the incentive of topping up the benefits to say £100 fro £65, this would give the claimant, extra cash, a purpose and something to put on the CV as filling the time until a suitable job comes along, it also saves the government money in getting the environment kept in better condition. I may be nieve (can’t spell) but these simple ideas make more sence to me than mass homelessness and property values dropping and people all going bankrupt??

  122. Tokyo Gaijin
    Jul 1st 2010, 1:12 am

    @ Alex
    As you say landlords are in the business of making money. Following that logic it has to be assumed that for some properties renting to HB tenants is more profitable than renting in the private sector. My guess is that this is because the LHA is set at the median market price but that many, maybe most, HB properties if rented in the open market would command rents lower than this. Therefore unless the LHA is reduced to the real market level of rent it will still pay the landlord to keep their HB tenants at lower LHAs.

  123. Letter to Britain – Pakistan Defence Forum
    Jul 1st 2010, 10:31 am

    […] push many households over the edge, triggering a spiral of debt, eviction and homelessness. Source: Budget 2010: Housing Benefit cuts | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC […]

  124. Inside Knowledge!
    Jul 1st 2010, 9:43 pm

    Since the rent level changed to LHA from the previous method of calculation for each individual situation and property it has greatly simplified things for many people. It is now much easier to choose a house to rent privately as you know exactly how much HB will cover (unless it’s a top up to earnings then it requires a bit of calculation!) which is brilliant… however… I totally agree as my friends now look for properties at the max of £460 a month rather than cheaper ones, obviously because they’re better! I also agree that it is driving the prices up for private tenants making it harder to afford the same property if you’re working… however… HB does top up your money to the equivalent of LHA so no real harm done. A final point is that mortgages are recently often higher than the LHA due to the boom and bust, unfortunately landlords either have to accept their gamble didn’t pay off and cover the extra or put the rent up higher, this is how economics work and many have fallen into the trap they made for themselves expecting some easy money!

    Following on, another gripe of mine is parents. I have 1 child, I get a 2 bed house which is brilliant, I could probably get by in a 1 bed and I’ll sleep in the lounge. 2 kids you get a 2 bed too until they’re opposite sex and over a certain age then you need a 3 bed. So, let’s say you CHOSE to have 10 kids, you then need a 6 bed house according to the council so they just give you enough money for one. In gods name, WHY??? Why do they say, the more kids you have the more money you get. It’s ridiculous and a grat way to cause kids to be neglected as they’re simple cash cows. As well as that you’d get about £400 JSA, about £1868 in CTC and £729 CHB a month as you again get extra per child TOTAL £2979pm. Apparently now if you’re earning £40k between you you no longer get CTC… bugger! Which means you get £2600 to live on per month + £729 CHB plus no HB and you pay NHS and council tax. Explain why you would work?? I agree with lowering the limits and that max a 4 bed house should be paid for, if they find a 5 bed the same price good for them (actually I think it should be 3 bed but there we go!). However I also think they should cap CTC at 4 kids and CHB should stop at 10 years old but be paid for them all so it covers nappies etc. (maybe…). I also believe parents should go to part-time work (i.e. switch to JSA) once they’re chlid hits 5 years old as they’re at school, what the hell quality time do you spend with them for 7 hours while they’re not there?!

    Quick summary: I’m a single parent to a 4 yr old, 29 yrs old, earn £1,262 after tax. The government then gives me £1470 tax credits (on top of that I spend £660 extra WTC which covers my full childcare), £128 HB for help with rent and £81.20 CHB. This gives me a total of £1,618pcm income… now, my rent is £650, council tax £104 I then spend £200 food, £80 petrol getting to and from work. This leaves me £584pcm spending money!!!! I then CHOOSE to spend that money on my mobile, internet, tv, phone, eating out, going out and throwing it down the drain if I so wish. Knowing that, I have NO GROUNDS TO MOAN when I’m short of money! Seriously, people EXPECT to have things they don’t NEED. I am the same in that I would never go without my tv licence, internet, mobile phone and a night out once a month but I know not to complain when I’m short, I just deal with it.

    Let’s face it, those on JSA or IS (bear in mind ESA + DLA + everything else is extra) get £256 to live on. There are plenty of properties in middling areas at or below the LHA and they pay no council tax they get free NHS (medication, dentist), bus travel to interviews and interview clothing. Add to that they are also entitled to interest free loans for cookers, fridges, bedding, tents etc if required which are often not paid back in full OR free grants which cover the same things + clothing like gloves, coats etc. This means they need to cover £60 gas + electric, water £30, £120 food, £30 travel to sign on… nothing else leaving them £26 for whatever they’d like. I mean at worst, £12 for a TV license and the rest on your mobile top up!

    Expand that to include those with 1 child you get an extra £320 a month CTC + CHB (you also get extra for 1 year for a new born in HB and CTC plus milk vouchers so that’s nappies and milk covered! School meals are free if you sort it out and don’t decide they NEED burgers and chips and childcare is covered if you work but not if you don’t, you don’t REALLY need it) and HB covers a 2 bed house/flat instead of 1 bed. SO say the gas + electric goes up to £120, water £30, food £200, unexpected child costs £100, £10 to travel to the Jobcentre once in a blue moon if they ask you to do something and oh go on, lets throw in the tv licence as you need it to stay sane and distract the kids so that’s £12… what do you have left: £104pcm to go crazy with!!!

    My overall point is if you’re getting benefits don’t moan about not being able to live off them. I’ve lived off them completely and still use them to top up my earnings to a decent level, which, incidentally allows me to also pay back a £160pm loan, £25 credit card and £50 overdraft so it’s bollocks that if you work you can’t live off your money.

    People need to live within their means or at least accept they’re not doing and not moan the government’s not bailing them out. If your rent is £1000pcm and a less desirable area you “wouldn’t be seen dead living in” is £600 for god sake move or shut up! I chose somewhere costing £650 when a place in the next area 10 minutes away would cost £450, I now do NOT have the RIGHT to moan if I can’t afford it. I should just move.

  125. Melanie
    Jul 1st 2010, 11:09 pm

    isn’t it funny that a parent of a 4 year old thinks CHB should be cut at 10, you obviously have not experienced the rate teenagers grow, my 13 yearold is 6ft tall and as big as any man. He costs more to feed, dress than any infant who can be provided for for next to nothing!!! Compulsary secondary school kit costing upto £500 and a possible £35 educational grant etc…as for housing a family with 10 children who live in a 6 bed house are sleeping at a ratio of 2:1 in each room, now it seems you and your child sleep at a ratio of 1:1, yes you could share a 1 bed flat but you don’t. The reason some families need bigger than 3 bed properties is that 3rd bedrooms are too small to accomodate more than 1 person. People are all to quick to point the finger at larger families, why 5 dolies is the same as one family of 5, 5 families claiming childcare element of tax credit costs the governmnet even more. what the government should do is stop selling off the council houses, if you can afford to buy a house then go private, leave the council house stock for the less wealthy so as they can afford to pay their rents, rents set by the government, money saved from ridiculous housing benefit payments can go back into new council housing. Then if people do so wish to live in a nice detached property, in a posh area they should be prepared to pay the price of higher rents. It is all too easy to point the finger at certain groups in society, but there are individual circumstances for every one. It is society as a whole that needs looking at. I think on close inspection, all governments could save alot of money , thats waisted such as paying more for a confrence dinner than many people live on per year.

  126. Alex
    Jul 2nd 2010, 6:30 am

    Inside Information,

    I’m afraid to say that you’re talking a load of clap-trap.

    First of all, benefit rates for those on DLA, ISA, ESA and JSA (contribution based and non contribution based) vary considerably. Some of that is based on age.

    Take me. I am on IBJSA and receive £65.45 pw which is £261.80 pcm. I receive mortgage interest payments which are cheaper than the grottiest one bedroom flats in the whole of the city where I live and CTB. Have you been able to find an NHS dentist recently who is taking on new patients? The only thing that I have had recently were vitamin supplements prescribed by my doctors, because my health was suffering. I don’t smoke or drink, unless a friend brings around a bottle of wine or we go to the local quiz and they’ll all whip around for me. Embarrassing yes, but what goes around comes around.

    My bills come first. Gas, electricity, water, telephones, internet. Why? The phones are vital for my job search, as is the internet. All of my job applications are made online and the amount that I would spend in paper and stamps would far outweigh the cost of the internet. Buildings and contents insurance. Television licence is a last priority. Way too busy for TV. I sold my car as it was a non essential. It’s a pain, but I live with it. Travel to the JCP fortnightly which is £5.00 return because some friend of humanity stole my well secured bicycle outside there and I can’t afford a new one. So out of that princely sum, I’m left with between £5-10 per week for food, toiletries, house cleaning stuff.

    Luckily, I grow my own vegetables, so that saves a few pennies. I’m involved in a community project to encourage unemployed people to start growing their own – not only does it give a bit of socialisation, but it keeps them busy as well as reaping the rewards. A lot of unemployed people lose faith and at the moment, the mood I detect is rock bottom.

    I go to the local pub on Tuesdays for quiz nights. I know the owners as I was a private consultant for their business and turned it around for them. I always know that I’ll get a free meal on those nights because they respect me for what I did for their business. Same with a couple of other businesses too, a couple of whom sent me hampers at christmas.

    If I didn’t have those lifelines, I’d be up the proverbial without a paddle. So where you can say that there’d be a surplus in benefit, you’re living in cloud cuckoo land. Clothing grants for interview are discretionary, not mandatory. Loans for white goods, etc are interest free, but loans nontheless, although if someone later gets a job, the infastructure in being able to claw back those loans are nigh on useless as the resources available to pursue them are just not there.

    And no, I have no loans, overdraft or credit cards. I live within my means and it’s bloody tough, but I’m trying to educate people how to budget.

    I spent a lot of time canvassing for the last election and actually spent time talking to people who were on benefits. I listened as opposed to talk at them – all sorts of people. At first it was difficult, because you get someone with a posh voice on their doorstep and they wonder what they have in common with you. Appearances can be deceptive and when I said that I was in the same boat as them, they warmed to me. As a result, I’ve got over 50 people now involved in community grow, the kids get to meet each other and help out and it brings smiles to people’s faces.

    From what you’ve said, it seems to me that people like you and not I should have their benefits examined. Get a 1 bed flat then. I challenge you. After all, we’re all in the same boat. Stop being a hypocrite and tarring everyone with the same brush!

  127. Andrew
    Jul 2nd 2010, 9:38 am

    Melanie, the reason why some people point their finger at larger families on benefits is that they don’t understand why some people who are supported by the state – and NOT the ones who are single because of abuse, bereavement or hard luck – but the one’s who keep on having children they don’t support are considered irresponsible… People who keep having children and then expect the council to keep finding ad funding larger and larger properties every time they have another child… IF THEY WANT TO KEEP PRODUCING CHILDREN, GO OUT AND GET A JOB AND PAY FOR THEM! And that doesn’t apply to people who have just fallen on hard times and are trying hard to survive… Responsible families end up being penalised because of irresponsible parents who have no intention of supporting the large families they produce!

  128. Alex
    Jul 2nd 2010, 11:33 am

    Agree with you, Andrew. I wouldn’t dream about having children at the moment. And besides, you can get free contraception, which is less expensive than the finished article.

  129. Melanie
    Jul 2nd 2010, 12:50 pm

    Yes i agree that some people are irrisponsible, but my point is that there is a problem throughout. Alot of abuse is targeted at families especialy single parent families (who can’t be doing too much of the reproducing) but not at families where mom and dad is there at the school twice a day, or the fit 18-25 year olds that are claiming and out of work, (the ones that don’t try to get trained or employed). There are alot of people who don’t pass on the money to the children and i do think that monies paid to provide for children should be put onto an photo id’d debit card that is only accepted in certain shops. for example the milk & veg tokens can’t be spent in asda to buy bleach and hairspray – you have to buy the product. If the government could come up with a scheme that couldn’t be abused that is. Although i am not saying all monies just a portion of the tax credits as it is also necessary to have cash to live to. This would deter the people who may be having exrta kids for extra cash. I would say that most parents who are claiming some sort of benefit, what ever it maybe don’t actualy go and have a baby for a possible extra 40-50 per week, there is alot of work that goes into parenthood and it is an 18 year commitment minimum. Now is not a good time to have a baby and I hope all the children who are born into this era are able to be looked after well with a good standard of living conditions. I do stand by what I say about rent, my 4 bed house costs 94 per week so it is not the house rents that is the problem, it is the area that is being lived in and i don’t have any idea how we are going to get to a system where there is affordable rents in all areas without extra social housing being built. I fear that alot of people are going to suffer because of LHA/HB cuts and loose there homes, then become undesirable tennants for other landlords and end up stuck in a catch 22 situation, ‘cant afford to pay rent, can’t get a job or benefits – no address’ etc… Not everyone wants to uproot to another part of the country, (luckily – or not, I live in a deprived area so the housing costs are not too bad). My niece pays £600 a month for a studio bedsit, just 10 miles away she is not eligable for benefits and it is crippling her financialy, but it is her choice as there are 1 bed flats within 10 miles for around £350. At the end of the day we all make choices that we live with, sometimes life is hard but lashing out at other vunerable groups will not make ones own situation any better. I have often thought that it might be a good idea for people to have the option of oping out the taxes that go towards paying benefits as long as they are never eligable to claim ctc, is, jsa, dla, ca, ib, cctc, wftc and cb, (pre welfare state) this would reduce the money comming in for benefits but also reduce the amount going out as well as ctc and wftc and cctc costs would be slashed dramaticaly and people who moan would stop moaning. Although this would not work as there would come a time when people who opted out would become destitue. I like to try and think of possible solutions to make improvements and be constructive, sounding out abuse does nothing but cause offence and unrest in people and it does not help anyone. For anyone who has not read my other posts, I am not at work myself currently as I am a carer, this is why I can be online in the middle of the day. I am also training, over the next 5-6 years to become a social worker, not because I think i will be getting extra money (or even a job because of both my son’s needs and the current job cuts in social services), but because it is what I am passionate to do. I care about society and I was blessed with the ability to achieve academicaly (I already have an Engineering Degree). Some people are not this lucky and their way of life has been inbred into them, they don’t see past their estate, without aspirations the majority repeat their parents mistakes so focusing on the facilities and opportunities availiable to less well off children is money well spent in my book, as they are the future of this country and will be running it when we are all heading into our old age. Any way I have digressed a little away from the original topic of HB cuts. Does anyone have any good ideas that would be a better solution than the government has come up with?

  130. Andrew
    Jul 2nd 2010, 1:02 pm

    You are quite right, Melanie! The kind of system you propose would target the money on the children and also, as you say, a lack of affordable social housing has caused a lot of this problem and now that the new coalition government have cut the social house building budget it will only mean more pressure on housing = yet higher rents! I think there’s no easy answer; I do get annoyed when I see people abusing the system and unfortunately it’s the few who give everyone else a bad name and allow the government to tar everyone with the same brush!
    But what to do – in trying to target a minority of serial abuses the overwhelming majority of genuine and needy claimants suffer…

  131. Melanie
    Jul 2nd 2010, 1:06 pm

    I agree, perhaps each case should be investigated but i bet this would cost millions to set up as well.

  132. Andrew
    Jul 2nd 2010, 2:21 pm

    Whatever happens to LHA – we can all rest assured that whatever money the Governments saves in Benefit cuts will simply be wasted elsewhere, ie, they’ll probably find another unneccesary war to fight! They’ve already blown £21 Billion in Afghanistan so it won’t be too difficult for them to find another black hole to waste the LHA savings in… Perhaps the money they save could be ploughed into a national social house building scheme to provide employment and apprenticships for younger workers… Or maybe that’s a too dum – much is to pay people to be unemployed and then chastise them for being out of work!

  133. Housing Benefit cuts will make people homeless and drive them away from jobs | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC
    Jul 2nd 2010, 4:36 pm

    […] Nicola has reported, the Budget introduced a number of severe cuts in HB and each of these will increase […]

  134. paul
    Jul 3rd 2010, 12:33 am

    Lest we forget, who drove British industry abroad – the Government, who’s fault is it there is so little employment – the government- who is now penalising and driving ‘the poor’ into severe poverty – the government. Who sends billions of pounds abroad and spends billions keeping illegal immigrants – the government…..what next concentration camps for benefit claimers?? Provide the jobs and people will work, make mp’s buy their own homes or pay rent and not claim it back.
    Be like ww1 all over again, I know lets start ration books too and make benefit claimants wear striped uniforms with a big D on the back so the richer folk know they are a dolite…Thanks David ‘fourth Reich’ Cameron you blind fool – you try to live on £65 per week you swine, probably spend that on lunch for one day…come the revolution…!!!

  135. survivor
    Jul 5th 2010, 12:41 am

    If your husband almost smashes your skull has affairs while you are pregnant and rapes u do u have to stay with them or leave them and you and your children starve because u are too depressed to get a job

  136. Michelle
    Jul 5th 2010, 3:43 pm

    Unfortunately i found myself a single mum when my ex partner kicked me out of his house with my baby. I had no rights to the house and in my area the council waiting list is a joke so i had no choice but to private rent and claim housing benefit. I work and receive decent maintenance from my ex but i am so worried about the proposed cuts. I live in kent in a fairly cheap area in a 2 bed terraced house, so hardly extravegent. If i cant pay my rent where are the council going to house me and my daughter? What needs to be addressed is the government allowed so much of their housing stock to be sold and now there is not enough council property. Obviously as i am in a private rent house now i’d be bottom of list if i go on council list.

  137. Alexander gardner
    Jul 6th 2010, 2:34 am

    There is no difference from someone on benefits sitting on their backside all day and a so called footballer or executive earning £100.000 plus a week, no one says anything about that.
    I work hard for the measly amount of money i get a month, then i see these so called stars and big bosses earning all this easy money, i wonder if the conservatives will bother cutting their expenses, not a chance, cos the upper class fools are the ones who voted them back in, how can so many people be so stupid !.if you want a reason for this mess just look at the banks and these idiots over spending on their credit cards, and just a few too many outsiders in the country sending their money back home, not to mention the fact that these so called people are allowed to claim benefits when they go back abroad.
    Why not stop that instead of kicking the poor when they are down, i don’t condone scroungers on benefits, but it is the overpaid so called stars that do the damage.
    Think about that !.
    I have a school friend who earns just shy of £200 per week, and when he has paid things off for the month has roughly £34 left of his sallary, so he is working just to exist, and then you see all these fat cats and over paid never beens, funny how these sort of people never get penalised !, yes we have become lethargic and stupid.
    We could also start by sending 100.000 people back home to their own country.
    And here is the choker for everyone !, my school friend has a polish boss, and this chap has only been with the company for 8 months, and my friend has been there 22 years, talk about the soul being ripped out of this country and its workers, we do need to toughen up, but in the right area’s, there are too many do gooders saying we need them, it is a load of cobblers, my gran and grandad said that we would be over run one day, and they were bloody right !.
    Most of us are too scared to say what we really think, well i am not, these immigrants have to go, There is a part of our solution !,it is our money they keep sending abroad, have a look in to that one people, they are shafting us slowly but surely, and no government has got the bottle to do anything about it.
    And as for the fools who voted this pathetic government in, think about this, in your own words, can you think of one thing they have done to cut the richest in this countries expenses ?.
    There is a simple plan for the overpaid, never got their hands dirty in their lives blobs, tax them 80p in the pound if they bring in more than £100.000 per annum, see how they like that, our debt will go down quicker than a porn star on a date !.
    We can but dream, these a******s get away with it when the conservatives are in, and tell me something can anyone justify £150.000 per week for kicking a bag of wind around on a football pitch ?.
    Is that fair on all the people who do real work in the real world ?, no it isn’t !.
    As long as i live to 60 i don’t care, that will be enough for me, cos after that age the way things are going you will be better off in a 6 sided box, at least there they cant harm you any more.
    When will we ever learn the conservatives like blaming people on benefits cos they are a easy target, what about all the money wasted on the development of nuclear warheads, something which i hope we never need, and probably will not !.
    That takes the biggest amount of tax out of the average wage packet, what a complete waste, and they say us humans are at the top of the food chain for being the most intelligent, i would put most forms of life above us, myself included !.
    Do animals pour millions of barrels of crude oil in to the gulf of mexico each day ?, no, just dumb greedy idiots.
    It all comes down to the greed of the few who get endless streams of money for doing nothing, and anyone who thinks that they deserve it, is either one themselves, or has the intelligence of a single celled creature, just !.
    No english citizen should have to work just to keep their heads above water, whilst there are people spending £1000 a night in restaurants and clothes that would feed a family for a month, it is not on, i have never claimed benefits, but like i said, i can understand why people do, who wants to work just to exist, and not even be able to afford a holiday in this country, i know several people in this boat, and it makes me sick 60 hours a week and all you got to show for it is debt.
    My wage is decent, we would all want more, but there should be a minimum of £350 after stoppages per a week for 40 hours in this country, and that is only fair, and a lot of people get paid a lot less than that for 40 hours, it is a disgrace !.
    tax the rich like i said, 80 p in the pound, that will wipe the smile of their faces.
    Wouldn’t everyone agree ?.
    Thank you !.

  138. Tokyo Gaijin
    Jul 6th 2010, 12:24 pm

    @ Alexander Gardner
    Of course there is a difference between someone on benefits sitting around on their backside and footballers, executives etc. The pay of footballers and every person that works in the private sector are set by the people who own and / or manage those businesses. If people don’t like it they can stop paying to watch whichever football team they happen to follow or stop buying products from whichever company they think is overpaying their managers etc. Of course the government can’t and won’t do anything about footballers pay, an nor should it. On the other hand taxpayers don’t have a choice on paying their taxes to allow people to live off benefits so the government has the prime responsibility to address that.
    As for your friend it seems that whatever skills he has are worth what he’s being paid, maybe he should get some newer more valuable skills.
    I’m guessing you think it’s wrong that your friends boss has only been with the company 8 months ? or is the problem his nationality ? Anyway length of service has nothing to do with whether you should be promoted, the only consideration should be ability.
    If the UK starts to become protectionist and start sending people back to their home countries what do you think other countries will do to the British people who live and work there ? What about the positive effects the “polish plumbers” have had for people who use those services ?
    High rates of tax have been tried before, they didn’t work then, they have even less chance of working now when people and businesses are far more mobile. The important measue of tax is how many pouns you get in not what the % rate is. Lower taxes = more money collected, higher taxes = less.
    Minimum wages will just cost more jobs. just look at companies like Dyson who had to move manufacturing overseas to stay competitive, also notice they do thheir design in the UK. Also remember the French idea of having a maximum hours of working each week so that unemployment would be reduce, what they forgot was that this made the products manufactured too expensive, so they didn’t sell, so companies and their workers suffered. In the end they dropped that law.
    People who spend money in restaurants, shops etc are creating jobs and paying vat, what’s wrong with that ?
    Maybe it isn’t fair that some people are paid so much but life isn’t always fair, never has been, never will be.
    Communism and socialism have both been tried and both failed. capitalism isn’t perfect but it’s better than the other choices.

  139. Consicence
    Jul 7th 2010, 2:57 pm

    I am afraid families often need to claim housing benefit despite working full time as the average London wage does not cover the cost of renting in the private sector especially in London.

    Private rents are priced high due to high demand not because they are particularly lavish.

    Housing shortage in is due to the 1980’s Conservative policy of right to buy policies on council housing and other social housing.

    Council housing which was put in place post world war 2 to deal with homelessness and over crowding following the blitz.

    So now society is suffering because social housing building programmes have been inadequate in recent years under Labour and there still remains a massive property shortage in the south east where there is most employment.

    When something is in demand it costs more so unless we as a state, provide decent, affordable housing then we will have a high benefits bill as people who cannot afford to get on the housing ladder turn to the private sector.

    The cost will be higher if families are evicted and housed in over priced hostels or B& B.

    There is no solution to the problem by cutting benefits or punishing low earners, the entire regulation of private rents and affordable housing requires urgent consideration to prevent misery and trauma to families.

  140. Nicola Smith

    Nicola Smith
    Jul 7th 2010, 3:05 pm

    People commenting here may be interested in this analysis that has been published by the rents service (now the VOA). It shows how LHA is likely to change as a result of the Budget:
    http://www.voa.gov.uk/LHADirect/LHA-emergency-budget-news-2010.htm

  141. Felicity
    Jul 8th 2010, 11:47 pm

    Thank you all for your comments. I no longer feel like I am alone in a sinking boat. But I am still at a loss at what to do and how to get out of this situation I find myself in.

  142. Tony Brasic Skint
    Jul 11th 2010, 12:15 am

    Cant believe some of the comments im reading on here, What is it with you stupid middle & upper class fools?…You all seem to forget a very important detail…WE DIDNT CAUSE THIS! therefore why the hell should we be the ones who are penalised and subjected to all the cuts? Bankers are still getting their bonuses even though they are the ones that caused this collapse, with the help of Brown failing to regulate the banks…yet it is us the people who have to pay for their greed and stupidity. Heres an idea…why dont we pull all our troops out of both of these illegal wars ..that way we save the lives of our soliders and save around 10-15 billion.
    People..if we dont put a stop to this consolidation of the wealth now…we will never have the chance again…stop being a fool and learn to think for yourselves…and ask yourself….IS IT FAIR?
    and to those idiots who agree with the government…see you on the battlefield when we decide to riot..im taking your house and your car..see how you like it.

  143. Andrew
    Jul 11th 2010, 12:28 am

    To Tony Brasic Skint… You seem to be forgetting that the middle and upper classes along with ordinary working people are paying the taxes which pay the benefits and bailed out the banks! When the banks were making huge profits and being taxed by Gordon Brown to spend on benefits etc I suppose you weren’t complaining then? The banks aren’t making money now so the Government hasn’t got it to keep paying out benefits – it’s just the reality of life: the truth is there’s no such thing as a free lunch and if one person is living on benefits (for whatever reason) then someone else is paying for it. I don’t agree with many of the budget cuts but I know many people who could work but choose not too: this pushes up the total benefits bill and as we now all know, the genuine claimants are going to suffer in order to both deal with the deficit and target those who simply won’t pull their weight and work. I think it would be better for the Government to target the workshy and not tar everyone with the same brush. But we all need to understand money doesn’t grow on trees and my housing benefit is tax that someone else has paid…

  144. clare fernyhough
    Jul 11th 2010, 11:47 pm

    It’s easy to kick the dog when you’re having a bad day….

    To turn the tables, imagine a housing bill that would enforce under occupancy and pricing for both public and private ownership individuals! I believe this was the case after the Russian revolution; suddenly people who had lived very comfortably found that according to government regulation, even one of their bedrooms was deemed too big for them to occupy: how that outraged the civilized world!

    No, as a previous commentator explained, communism doesn’t work, and especially when you realise that in Russia ‘some were more equal than others’ in relation to certain officials’ lifestyles. Nonetheless, capitalism, as we have observed over our lifetimes, deems that some are more equal than others andthat doesnt work either, but at least a form of socialism in this country has endeavored to protect the most vulnerable in society, not altruistically however, but as referred to in many peer reviewed journals, the welfare state came about because the establishment feared the consequences, namely the social unrest observed in other European countries. The ‘benefits’ therefore were deemed as finance streams accumulated by this country from those who could afford to pay and from the national earned wealth, that then redistributed to those least able to improve their social and financial situation in life.

    In 1979 a new housing act provided ‘secure tenancies’ in this country. It was recognised that every person not able to purchase their own property was entitled to the security of a permenant family home, even to the extent that a particular family home could be bequethed to another family member, that the individual had a right to improve their rented property, to take in lodgers and have the ‘right to buy’. It was a decent move by created by a civilized society, but outraged the upper, middle and working classes then as now. Nonetheless, some councils deliberately refused to inform their tennants of their rights, and refused all sorts of requests in order to maintain the properties to an appropriate standard.

    I have lived in my home now for 23 years; most of my adult life. The council housing stock in the early 80’s was in poor repair; in my property, there was no central heating, no kitchen, of poor repair and decoration and the garden was little more than a building and dumping site. Over the years, my neighbours and myself have saved to repair and maintain such properties spending many thousands of pounds: I put a kitchen in, changed the electrics, I put central heating in, I cleared and maintained the garden, I paid and continue to pay for repairs that are refused as they are based on 1950’s living standards. I have always been sad that I could not go further and buy my property, but I didn’t mind spending my money on the property to make it comfortable and pleasant to live in as I had the security that as a ‘secure tennant’ I could live here for the rest of my life whether the property was under occupied or not.

    Over the years I have received varying levels of housing benefit according to my income; I am very ill with a deteriorating condition and sometimes I need extended time off work due to this. I and many people I know are devastated by the implications of the budget especially in connection with the ‘under occupancy and LH rule’. The thought of being forcibly evicted from the homes we have worked hard to maintain and having to start again, possibly in a property of a delapidated state, fills us with dread. It has personally taken all of the 23 years I have lived here to afford to improve it to an acceptable standard on what little disposable income I have had from time to time. Is it our fault that not one penny of the money raised from the sale of social housing went toward new social housing? Is it our fault that we are poor? Have we been duped into improving our homes only to hand the keys over to those that are better off?

    Researching the government booklets and guidelines concerning the new cuts and rules on the .gov websites makes for interesting reading. It seems that ‘secure tenancies’ will be abolished where presently, tenants have to be offered a property with equal security of tenure. Whereas local authorities and housing associations had an obligation to find equal appropriate secure housing, they are apparently being told that if a tennant is affected by an under occupancy rule, they have no obligation to help them to obtain suitable alternative accommodation, they only need to prove that this accommodation exists in the wider area and it is up to the tenant to explore this and make necessary arrangements. As the ‘thin end of the wedge’, perhaps they will expand this concept to those that occupy private homes that they pay interest on a mortgage. Also consider that once a tennant or homeowner is forced to leave, if for example they cannot make up the shortfall in rent or mortgage interest, they automatically lose security of tenure, and they then fall under the LH allowance rules which, as have been discussed above, are not adequate. A complete and utterly brilliant trap!!

    I live in a ‘two bedroom and a box room house’. I was conned into low paid work with ‘top ups’ when my husband left me, but knew that when the kids grew up, I would lose all these top ups so I decided to educate myself in hopes of a professional career. I was also at the beginnings of an undiagnosed neurological condition and so could not continue in menial or even call center or office based work, but I managed financially through my degree by taking in ironing and doing it in bits according to how much pain or exhaustion I was suffering. It is obvious now that I was also conned into getting a degree; even though I have a good degree, there just isn’t the work out there since the recession (I worked freelance and taught a few students from home until the work dried up), and despite all of the disability legislation, companies cannot accommodate severely disabled workers. The only hope I have is that if the economy improves, I may be able to teach again at home: the thing is, my teaching studio, filled to the brim with musical equipment, is in the second bedroom and if I am forced to move, I will have no place to work; there must be so many people like myself, who call this place ‘home’ and feel quite desperate at the thought of starting all over in middle age having to afford carpets, curtains, paint etc on a small income again. I started out living in a dump, and it looks like that I will end up in a dump, with no remuneration or consideration for the improvements and care I have taken of my home, or any consideration for the fact that it IS my home by current hard fought for law 40 years since.

    I recently emailed Polly Toynbee about the situation, and in her column in the Guardian this weekend she made the point that the budget will not affect her financial situation: ‘not one penny’ she stated. A study recently reported that tax evasion costs the government 100 billion pounds every year, more than enough to plug the public financial black hole: seems like there are many others getting ‘something for nothing’ in this society or who will be minimally affected by these sweeping budget cuts. Whilst I agree with all the above concerning trimming the welfare state and have seen first hand how people have ‘played the system,’ a blanket law that oppresses every housing benefit claimant when other measures could be introduced to fill this ‘black hole’, is commented on by other countries’ media as ‘unecessarily sadistic’. As Glenda Jackson stated in a commons debate a few days ago about the idea that ‘we’re all in this together’: …But we are NOT: there is no one sitting in this chamber… who is in danger of losing their home because of the changes with regard to housing benefit’.

    No, not one of them or they wouldn’t even consider passing such a regressive law. Factor in how many people even working professionally, cannot afford a home to call their own any more. Even newly trained doctors could not afford to live in my area based on multiples of their income. Village terraces 10 years ago in my area sold for a fraction of the price they are now valued at, and these homes were traditionally owned by ordinary factory workers or those working in our now lost industries. These homegrown industries didn’t outsource their industries in order to be competetive as some suggest, they outsourced in order to make more profit, and as a country, us being part of the ‘European Experiment’ inaugarated in the early 1940’s and progressively diminishing our ability of a nation to ‘pay our way’ in the world, is what has brought this about; some well known commentators say that this was always the plan, to bring the UK to its knees. Yes, now even the middle classes and middle income workers are being affected and will also be hammered by this budget. Did you know that professions are now ‘time and motioned’ just like the working classes are? Even a local vicar is required to fill in a form detailing what he is doing every 15 minutes; similarly a NHS counsellor I know, police et al. It seems that Marx’s predictiction that eventually there will be no class system, just the super rich and the underclasses will eventually come to pass. Is this housing bill designed for the middle classes who cannot afford a home in for them to claim our now vastly improved social housing? Without going all ‘conspiracy theorist’, it seems that the only people who will afford to rent decent (not luxurious) homes will be those with the appropriate income, undoing decades of advances for the rights of the undercalsses to live in a decent housing. The London issue, and some other expensive areas is perhaps a seperate but equally desperate issue, but as commented above, ghettoising is not a solution, and any move to evict people on a massive scale will without any doubt lead to civil unrest as indicated by many orgnaisations who support and regularly publish research regarding the poor and the social organisation of Britain.

    Perhaps anyone reading this will think I am being over dramatic, but I’ve lived through a previous conservative government and if you have too and have at anytime experienced life on benefits under their rule, then you know what is to come: yes, they got the deficit under control previously but the social cost is still being felt today and this time round, it will not just be the abject poor who will be affected. As suggested by other commentators, the measures are designed to ‘divide and rule’, to cause mayhem and suffering in order to placate the middle classes. That a family living on £50,000 per year was able to claim tax credits is a true disgrace; child benefit equally. When I was young, my wealthy friends had their child benefit books signed over to them to spend on whatever they wanted. The welfare handed out to the well off over the last 30 years is unacceptable, NOT the support of the some of the poorest and ignorant in society who never had a chance from birth onwards, so that at the very least, they could have a home provided by means of the state: a ‘necessary evil’.

    If we all are really ‘in this together’ then at the very least, ALL should be entitled to a place to call ‘home’ regardless of social standing. We have to ask, with all the wealth that has passed through our system over the last 40 years just why there is not enough housing for all. Additionally, sometimes in society we have to tolerate those who ‘play the system’; we seem to do this in all aspects of society, but not in relation to the poor and ignorant. By all means, give people dignity; for all those claiming JS for example, the current £65 is equal to about 6 hours of labouring work for a man or woman, so provide them with 6 hours community work: I know many would jump at the chance. I am disabled and now need to work from home, so enable disabled people or single parents to work flexibly from home perhaps doing telephone and administrative work and encouraging industries to explore this actually low cost option so that they can ‘earn’ their benefits and retain some kind of dignity in relation to the rest of the population. There is so much that can be done to allow people on benefits to flourish; the government has asked public sector workers for their opinion on cuts or better ways to administer the public sector, why not canvass benefit claimants, not ‘talking down’ to them via the despicable companies used to supposedly get them back into work, but enabling claimants to bring about changes themselves thereby saving money in the process!!

    Yes, it’s easy to kick the dog when you’ve had a bad day. The trouble is that if you kick the dog it ends up biting back, and I know from enquiring in my neighbourhood that not one of them is prepared to give up their home. Perhaps this is what the government want so that they can renege on the forthcoming freedom bill; who knows?

    For the spelling police, I apologise if my syntax or spelling did not meet your requirements! Since the advent of computers, my spelling leaves a lot to be desired: if only this was the problem in our society eh?

    if you have read this far, well done!! I’ve bored myself with it and my neighbours for many years! lets just hope that if we are all ‘in this together’ we can come to some kind of consensus and not be goaded into blaming eachother, but finding innovative ways of sorting out our national finances and the social organisation of this country without resorting to bringing about abject poverty for the many millions who will most definately be affected by housing benefit reform.

  145. DANNY BOY
    Jul 14th 2010, 9:53 pm

    all these people complaining, the british will never learn they have no backbone, you still vote these gangsters into power, then moan at the consequences, this country is finished full stop, 95 years of the same old bullshit, red then blue red then blue, the laughing stock of the world from sport to politics, low pay highest prison population, highest crime record, highest divorce rate, highest teenage pregnancy, out of control immigration the toilet of europe i predict riots & mass redundancies across the country within 2 years thats if you finally all wake up and show these bastards some balls, the people of this once great nation want too start making history and stop living in it, by taking its country back from the parasites of westminster and bulldoze the place, this country needs a revolution and a peoples leader or we are all doomed

  146. Ty
    Jul 16th 2010, 2:31 am

    Yeah there are people who abuse the system. They should be penalized. But you must be a complete moron to generalize benefit claimants. Personally, I hate it. i have always worked until now, and now I can’t afford rent.. ON A MATCHBOX MIGHT I ADD.. for those of you who seem to think we all live in mansions.. I can barely even afford food after covering rent and basic utilities. It’s no picnic so stop kidding yourselves. I had the same biggoted ideas.. WHEN I HAD MONEY! And yes, civilizations have risen and collapsed since recorded history and before that.. Shit even when we worked, there was a line of tossers waiting to collect every last penny! SO personally I can’t wait for the collapse of this sesspit. The sooner the better!

  147. clare fernyhough
    Jul 17th 2010, 7:02 pm

    True ‘Danny Boy’, but the whole point of the development of laws to protect the vulnerable was to avoid such social unrest hopefully making this country at least bearable to live in. You are right that this country has gone down the pan socio politically, but many believe that this was the plan right from the beginning of the ‘European Experiment’ in order to bring the UK to it’s knees, proven by more recent laws like the 24 hour drinking legislation.

    The problem is that as things have generally improved for the poor over time, and as the ‘consumer society’ has established, people have become more ignorant, less interested in politics and how it affects them personally, and less inclined to ‘stick their heads above the parapet’, so I suppose in some ways you are correct: these laws will serve to wake people up politically. But, add this apathetic atttitude to the draconian restrictions on the right to protest and call a public meeting (only if the police and local council say that you can depending on what the subject is, size of demonstration cards etc) and the increasingly powerless unions (if in fact you are allowed to join a union), just how are people supposed to fight this? How can we unite when there are so many restrictions that iscolate us so they can pick us off one by one and so many different people affected by the budget that everyone will be fighting their own particular corner? If for example, I went on a legal protest and there was trouble and for some reason I was lumped in with the trouble makers, I could lose my tenancy anyway. Year on year, governments have brought about measures that MAKE people comply socially in relation to protest. It is illegal to encourage the population with regard to mass civil disobedience for example, so it would be illegal for me to set up a website asking the whole population not to pay the council tax, or call a public meeting to ask people to withhold income tax (although some individuals are pushing the boundaries with regard to current income tax law).

    When in history has a revolution brought about a fair society for all? A ‘people’s uprising’ is no solution; it would risk many peoples’ lives and could lead to a police state very quickly. I don’t know if you are aware, but according to the Lisbon Treaty governments can call on the other member states’ armies and police forces when there is social unrest? The numbers who were prepared to fight, wouldn’t stand a chance with such opposition. On the other hand, I doubt people will accept these reforms ‘lying down’ so to speak and I do agree with your sentiments that this whole stinking arrangement for governments has run its course.

    I have always said that the biggest vote counted should be the ‘no’ vote, those who refuse to vote because, as you imply Danny, they know there is nothing worth voting for any more. It wouldn’t have mattered if Labour had won the election, as they have tried to bring in the very same housing measures many times during the last few years; in fact, you could say that all the preparation work was done for the Conservatives in this regard as the booklet printed after the budget was almost exactly the same as Labours’!

    The very same organisations who managed to lobby to stop the government from bringing those laws in previously however, will do so again and hopefully the housing benefit reform bill will be severely watered down. Meantime, we individually need to lobby our M.P.s, registering our concerns in the appropriate dignified and legal mannner (you can follow the finance bill as it progressess through parliament and make your own submissions), we need to support our family and friends through this, and by doing so, the government have no excuse to retaliate in any way.

    Lets hope then that we can get a peaceful resolution with regard to this eh?….

  148. Nikola
    Jul 22nd 2010, 6:14 pm

    People are so quick to judge, ITS NOT EASY FOR ANYONE!!!. I don’t know how the cuts are going to personally effect me but all I can do is try and adapt.

    I am one of these people that you would all look down on. Born with Autism I am on benefits and expecting my first baby. Why shouldn’t I have the chance to have children and try to lead a Normal life. Needing extra help shouldn’t be a crime.

    When I was a kid I was abused and that made my Autism worse I also suffer from mental health problems and my husband has Autism and Attention Deficit disorder.

    I personally have been to unviercity with one to one care thoughout. Achieved qualifications and at one point had 3 voluntary jobs. I hope to in the future go back to my voluntary work when baby is born and hope that will eventually lead to employment.

    Gud for you if you had a normal life and your lucky of not to be born with disabilities but unfortuantly I havn’t had that and to top it up i have no family. I was fostered and my partener family are all dead.

    With disabled people its one step at a time sometimes sepcailly if you have a mental disabilitiy such as autism. I look after my husband who is worse effected and probably be never able to work. I still plan to take little steps in order to fit in as much as I can in socieity one that excluses me from the start.

    So I chose to have my kids first? I only plan to have the one so i can experience motherhood and it would be loverly to think i can work and support the family after that. Its playing it by ear. Your lucky if your mind allows stress levels. Mine doesnt and its a constant battle between being able to do the best i can and doing too much that i break down then i end up costing the goverment more money cos i need care!!!. its being sensible with the abilities you have and only i know my limitations. If i were able to in the future when baby goes to school find a Job that never changes that hours are the same and are between 9.30 – 2.30 three times a week i would jump at the chance and try it out weather that cleaning or carework. There are jobs i can’t do tho because my autism causies problems such as working with money as i can’t read numbers and anything in crowds of people that involves communication with loads of mainstream people at once. All this limits my employablity and at the moment because I only just stable im best off on beneifits but not forever. I feel bad about this.

    I now also got to consider the whole family and its worth thinking if my routine chances that effects my husband too and unlike a lot of you who have family its not easy when you know you go no one to fall back on and life is a risk and that fact is harder to think about when you have autism.

    at the end of the day it does effect everyone. some more then others but why should we judge eachother?

    Im glad people don’t have to live like I do. Im also glad i am the way I am because it could be a lot worse. you can always see people worse off then you. why should we be bitter.

    I hope to teach my child early to make the best of its abilities whether thats hopefu8lly being completely independant and have a good job when its an adult or just learning to live. When i was diagnosed with autism i didn’t expect to ever get married go uni or have kids. Im doing all that and more and hopefully more. some people just slower at moving then others. My husband who prob always be on benefits its such an achievement for him to be married and be a dad and if he can do that in his life he achieved soo much more then what was expected. Im sorry that rich have to pay for us to live and i personlly try and make ti up by helping other disablild children. I know that no everyone is like that tho and some do get stuck on benefits that can work. but why do they do that cos they got nothing to live for and its a bad place to be. my next door nabours if the chat shows are not on choose to take drugs and shout abuse at anyone who walks past there window. What a rubbish life for them i look at them and feel sorry for them cos they are stuck worse then i am cos at least im trying. Poor them who given up. Whats the point in living if you can’t try and socialize in soceity and be part of the bigger picture.

  149. Roz Rayner-Rix
    Jul 25th 2010, 9:20 pm

    I am a pensioner living alone. I have nothing, I am on Pension Credits as no-one told me that paying married woman’s stamp was worthless if the couple split up and the woman remarried. Now after the breakdown of my second marriage I am divorced and struggle to make ends meet. I am certain there are thousands like me.

    If I have to try to find a further £48 a month I will suffer. As it is we are all paying for these totally unnecessary wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are costing billions, and should never have happened in the first place.

    Why should people who have been made unemployed by the financial collapse and do not agree with these wars be made to suffer hardships at all?

    The country should be treating them in a responsible manner.

    There will be increased crime and suicides to deal with that will cost more than any housing benefit cuts revenue.

    Damn this stupid democracy, more like hypocrisy.

    Time to start caring for each other not killing millions of innocent people and then taking all we have to pay for it.

    Its called responsibility…

  150. A
    Jul 26th 2010, 8:01 pm

    Hi,
    If Government wants to pay benefits they can pay, I just see how unfair is for a working couple. Now we have together 37K, he is self employed and I employed. If I take mortgage now I would need to pay 900 per month plus child care cost. And I am not getting a penny. This is where now where only a man is working as self employed who earns 12000 net plus government pays for their rent plus they gets monthly 1400 benefits whcih means they get put aside this 12000 a year, wheras us maybe 1000 if lucky. This is where I get fed up with Gov. they cannot calculate. if they pay housing for someone they can pay my mortgage or child care cost 250 per week per child.

  151. Melanie
    Jul 28th 2010, 12:25 am

    If you can afford to buy a property, then buy a property, if you can’t then rent.

    The government already have a basic living rate calculation and everyone should have this amount of ‘living’ income for each member of the household. No one should have to have their income reduced below the base rate to cover housing costs. HB cuts will affect people at the lower end of the income scale. I don’t believe any government will leave the people right at the bottom to become destitute. I am 100% not a tory supporter, but like to have a little faith – there will be a loop hole that saves us at the bottom, i am sure of it.

    This is coming from the lowest paid sector of the country, a full time carer so I can understand struggling.

    If 2 partmers are no better of with both working then one of them should consider taking on the role of full time parent, thus freeing up a job for another person or family.

    I worked a 50 hour week with my eldest children but had to become a full time carer when me disabled son needed me. I find i know my younger children better than my older 2 as i was never there for them when they were growing up. This is my experience.

    I do find it strange when single parents are ridiculed for claiming £50 in Tax credits but the people who do the ridiculing see it as there right to claim £200 in child care tax credits, surely it would save the government money if people looked after their own children from the age of 0-13 ? They could also make savings by subsidising the childcare of lone parent working families as there is no 2nd adult to stay at home. Then if double income families choose to have children then they pay for their own childcare. There have been too many easy rides in this country.

    The gov. should also pour plenty money into new builds of social housing for rent, thus reducing the need for the inflated rental costs and the HB bill. Nearby a 2 bed is 74, 3 bed is 84 and 4 bed is 94 per week to rent off the council but private (for ex council houses) is, 150,180 and 250 per week.

  152. danny boy
    Jul 28th 2010, 1:10 am

    claire what you say makes sense but until the british people wake up and smell the coffee just for once this whole farce of governing our country will never ever change, you say that if we had a revolution people would possibly loose their lives, but if that was the only solution then lets bow out with a sense of honour for doing the right things for the right reasons and give the next generations some kind of chance and hope, our troops are loosing their lives in afghanistan for no sense nor reason right at this moment, we cannot continue to accept the disgraceful and incompetent decisions made by a few hundred morons at the expense of 60 million british lives, sadly 99.9% of voters dont even understand politics but turn up in their droves to vote their lives away every 4 years, i am sure that i wouldnt sign any piece of paper without reading the small print and know exactly what i am letting myself in for. its not just the cuts its the theft and the way that the british are exploited by its own leaders, bank charges 0845 numbers, standing charges, absurd petrol duty, out of control gas and electric prices, i could go on and on, considering that this country ruled three quaters of the globe only about 120 yrs ago and pilfered and thieved from every country it entered has anyone stopped and asked where has all that tax free cash and goods ended up because i can guarantee nobody on this blog has it stashed away on the quiet

  153. Housing Benefit cuts: What more do we know? | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC
    Jul 28th 2010, 12:05 pm

    […] changes that the Budget outlined to Housing Benefit have proved to be some of the most controvertial. Since they were announced extensive analysis has […]

  154. clare fernyhough
    Jul 28th 2010, 2:36 pm

    Danny Boy – yes you are right in everything you say above; there are many things that I just don’t think people are aware of, like the fact that after the signing of the Lisbon Treaty last year we’re no longer really an independent state any more, and our country’s assets has been sold off ‘lock stock and barrell over the last 40 years much like what happens with 3rd world countries. I think people will riot, but at the same time, the government are hitting so many sections of the public hard that everyone will be fighting their own corner and no one will care about the poor. What worries me Danny is that ordinary people are far more bigotted and ignorant with regard to politics than they were in 70’s and 80’s, and as long as they have their beer and sky tv they couldn’t care less: according to many message boards, they are delighted that we’ll all be evicted! Well, despite all of the grand speaches in the Lord’s concerning it the bill got royal ascent today, so it’s now the law.: we’re doomed!

  155. Helen Jones
    Jul 28th 2010, 8:19 pm

    I have worked since I was 13 years old so has my husband, now through an infection which I got during an operation I am now disabled. I am married with 2 small children my husband is my carer. We now live on benefits. We have full support from both our famillies including financial, without that we would not be able to cope. We have been told our benefits are being cut and now housing benefit aswell. We have no idea how we are supposed to live.

  156. Cuts Watch: The consequences of Mr Osborne | Left Foot Forward
    Aug 6th 2010, 10:02 am

    […] with the expectation that the entitlement of one claimant in every five will be removed. Housing Benefit reforms will put a cap on the amount that can be claimed – regardless of what your rent may […]

  157. shelley
    Aug 14th 2010, 9:23 pm

    i am really confused, i dnt understand this, it says something about a 4 bedroom and 400pound a week whts tht all about, my rents 70pound a week, for 1 bedroom am guessing these prices are aplying to like london where rent for a 1 bedromm a wulld think is maybe like 600 a month mayb a wuldnt no

  158. Nicola Smith

    Nicola
    Aug 16th 2010, 12:57 pm

    Hi Shelly,

    The best thing to do if you want detailed advice about your specific situtation is to contact Shelter (http://england.shelter.org.uk/) or your local authority. There are various changes being introduced at various periods over the next few years. While you do not sound as if you will be affected by the cap on the number of bedrooms that Housing Benefit can be claimed for, it may be that you see a small reduction in your rent as the amount of HB paid moves from the median of local rents to the 30th percentile. But that will depend on how your rent compares to other rent levels locally.

    Best
    Nicola

  159. Roz Rayner-Rix
    Aug 18th 2010, 10:29 am

    To poor Phil.

    I too live in a similar way Phil. I got rid of my TV (£12 A MONTH NOT £5 A WEEK) that has helped such a lot. I never watched it anyway. I think you can get help with feeding your dog. Stop giving him chicken, that’s all he will eat as that is all you are giving him. I suggest you look for a cheaper utilities supplier as you are paying far too much.

    With regard to the foreign people living here. There are now millions of UK people living overseas, many of them claiming from that countries resources. I suggest you look at the tent cities all over America. Once unemployment benefit stops there people get nothing. There is no JSA, they have to rely on food banks and hand outs from relatives. I suggest you look for some free food in your area. Also 34,000 people die each day because they don’t have enough food or shelter.

    I am not at all on the side of the government I don’t even vote as they are all dancing to the same puppet master, but your attack is somewhat in the wrong direction. The money problem was all created by the unnecessary wars that are not only killing and destroying the lives of millions of people, they are draining the coffers of the needy.

    You will get help if you look for it in the right places.

    To finalise, in March I applied for a loan from the Social Fund for a bed and a Washing machine, they offered me half what I needed and wanted £13 a week in repayments. I refused the loan and discovered last weekend that they think I have had the loan and are stopping the money from what I get… I have managed to prove my innocence but have not got the money sorted as yet. It could take weeks. They accused me of fraud and said I had other loans when I have never had one in my life. Then found they had been looking at someone else’s details on the screen. Looks like someone else may have had the money I refused which makes me think how many others could have been affected like this. Fraud yes but not of my doing.