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24 Jun 2012

A Roof Over Your Head - No Longer A Right, Not Even If You Work.

Homeless young person - something you are about to see a lot more of
David Cameron will announce major changes to the Housing Benefits system,  excluding hundreds of thousands of marginalised and vulnerable young people.

Lets just do a quick comparison between the political 'haves' and the ordinary 'have nots'.

subsidised food (at home and at work), subsidised housing (including 2nd homes), no council tax. subsidsed transport (bike, car, rail and air), subsidised furnishings, subsidised home maintainance, gold-plated pension scheme, subsidised phone costs, subsidised internet, subsidised TV licence, subsidised Sky TV etc etc etc.

Yet they are ruthlessly targeting:-
£70 a week JSA claimants,  £94 a week IB claimants, OAPs, the sick, lone-parent families, children, people on low incomes in expensive areas.

(As food for thought, the annual £1.8bn HB bill for the under-25s, whilst not an insubstantial income for landlords, does rather pale in comparison to Vodafone's illegal £6bn tax evasion carried out with government assistance.  Jimmy Carr eat your heart out - you are a mere amateur at tax avoidance).

So why victimise under 25s? If Housing Benefit is so wrong then why not abolish it completely (along with mortgage relief)?  Why just pick on under-25s and then only those in rented accommodation and not those with mortgages? 

What if they have no parents to return to?  Or their parents have downsized or retired abroad? What if they are married? Or a single parent?

So why single-out under 25's in rented accommodation?  Voting patterns within socio-economic age groups springs immediately to mind - in other words class war and snobbery.

Almost certainly this will lead to a massive increase in homelessness. The government estimates that there are 380,000 claimants under-25 and remember a claimant is not necessarily one person - it can be a family,  and claimants are not necessarily unemployed - many are in work but on low incomes or are living in expensive areas such as the south east of England.  Nearly every single one of them (and any dependents) is now at risk of losing their Benefit and as a result their home.   Lets get something straight at this point. Because of tax credits it is impossible to be worse off at work than on Benefits (despite what the Daily Mail/Daily Telegraph editors routinely spout).   Sometimes the difference between the two is marginal,  but that is because lower-end wage levels in this country are too low and are being subsidsed (to the employers benefit) by tax credits anyway. Likewise the move towards more people in part-time jobs and less in full-time.  Hence why this is not just going to devastate the unemployed but also young people in low paid employment as well.

Housing Benefit remember, ends up in the hands of property-owning  landlords (including councils and Housing Associations),  not the claimants - they are merely the funnel.   This cut-back will lead to a collapse in private rent levels and with a bit of luck cause many BTL landlords to go bust flooding the market with more cheap housing, further devaluing house prices and kicking the bottom out of private rent levels.

But it won't - quite the opposite in fact.  Local authorites - in order to meet their legal obligations regarding housing the homeless, vulnerable, children etc.  will (because of the huge shortage of social housing) have to contract out to the 'Third Sector' - step forward the self-same landlords only this time charging more,  with less cost being met by central government and more cost being met at Local Authority level,  from dwindling resources, leading to more and more cuts to local services as councils will have to pay high levels in rent to the Third Sector but only able to charge extemly low levels that someone on Benefits or low incomes can afford with no Housing Benefit element and the short fall covered by the council taxpayer.

In the world of conspiracy theories you could put a pretty strong case up that in fact Westminster is embarking on a massive social engineering experiment to force Local Authorities to use their pension funds to build council housing as the financial impact to Local Authorities of not embarking on a massive building programme will be crippling.

Make no mistake,  the Minimum Wage will be next.  It will be localised (to suit employers) as will benefits - including pension credits.  Then hundreds of thousands of young people will be forced to relocate rather than forcing employers to move.  Then they will start on older people,  then they will start on you.  (Bit like Pastor Niemöller's poem).   Except that if Cameron continues on his current road he is going to end up on the receiving end of a deserved, bigger and more humiliating defeat than Churchill in 1945 and Major in 1997 and the Tories will be in opposition for two decades at least (which is not healthy for democracy).

The biggest beneficiaries to the welfare state were, are and will always remain the landlords, the Third Sector and employers.   Not the claimants.

More on homelessness among young people:-
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Who was it who said...........

'I am a rich man, as long as I do not repay my creditors.'