We hear so much of the “bulging benefit bill, so I’d like to deal with a couple of anomalies in the simplistic media analysis that surrounds this.
The housing benefit bill is certainly huge. The Government’s choice of dealing with this is through austerity, and they thus burden inner city councils with the fallout. Councils will have a statutory duty to find temporary accommodation for people who would no longer be eligible to receive housing benefit under Tory plans. So taxpayers will have to pick up this tab – yet again.
It is no secret that housing benefit is also known as the “landlord benefit”. Private rentals in inner London has been left in the hands of the free market economy and unregulated, it has been allowed to grow like tumor, incapacitating and bleeding hard working people dry.
What we should be doing is to find genuine ways of reducing the cost of private rents. Council rents in Camden, where I am a local councillor, are on average one third of private rents. If council housing can yield surpluses which is reinvested in the upkeep of the homes, this means private landlords could be made cut their profits from up to 300% to say about 150%. That’s still doubling up on council rents.
The net effect of this is that the housing benefit bill would be halved without creating mayhem by breaking up neighbourhoods.
Meanwhile, we can’t give up the fight to scrap the Welfare Reform Act – sign my petition here.