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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Homelessness: the devastating consequence of recession

I was intrigued to read in today's South Wales Evening Post that Plaid Cymru are blaming changes to the housing benefits system for the continuing rise in homelessness. This is because those changes are still being debated in the House of Lords, where amendments to some of the worse aspects of the reforms have just been passed, and have not yet come into effect.

In fact homelessness has been rising for some time and certainly started its upwards trajectory before the last General Election. The main factor behind this rise is the economic situation in Britain and the wider world.

A staggering 1,845 households in Wales are currently categorised as homeless. Not only is this up 15% when compared to the same time in 2010, but it is an increase of 25% when compared to 2009.

The political games being played by Plaid politicians on this issue do not help any of the families who have lost their home. Instead we need to concentrate putting appropriate support services into place throughout Wales and increasing the supply of affordable housing.
The ConDemn budget of 2010 included a cap on Local Housing Allowance to 30% of local rents. It came into force in October 2011.A further cap is coming in in April 2012 which means landlords are not entering in statutory 6month tenancy agreements with the poorest. I'm surprised, Peter, that you have started this blog entry with a claim that Plaid Cymru are wrong and that these cuts have not yet come into effect. It is you who is wrong and I ask you to admit it below. There are people on the streets this Christmas who are there specifically because of the cuts to benefit that came into effect this year arising from the 2010 budget.
Jonathan Edwards said this:

"There can be no doubt that Conservative and Lib Dem policies are having a devastating effect on our communities."

Absolutely true, Peter. Just how devastating we'll be finding out over the next couple of years.

Is this going to be another comment you with-hold as 'boring', repetitive,'off topic', or 'sniping'?
Anon: the budget changes that were signalled in June 2010 are all contained in the bill going through the House of Lords now. The new maximum limits are actually £250 a week for a one bedroom property and £400 a week for a property of four or more bedrooms. That is hardly unreasonable nor will it lead to the sort of increase in homelessness we have seen in Wales.

What is more your timeline is all wrong. Even if these changes came in two months ago as you say, they would not have had time to create the trend that these homeless figures indicate, even if you ignore the fact that this trend is a long term one going back several years.

There is no evidence to indicate that changes to Housing Benefit have created this homelessness trend. The only likely explanation is the economic downturn.

maen_tramgwydd: on Jonathan Edwards' past record I cannot see how his crystal ball is any better than mine. In fact as a soothsayer he is an abysmal failure.

As for your tendency to post off-topic, boring and repetitive comments, you will just have to restrain yourself better.
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