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Saturday, October 30, 2010

That housing benefit controversy

I cannot say that I am entirely happy with the proposed changes to housing benefit and remain concerned at their impact on disabled people in particular. I do find the hysteria generated by Boris Johnston and Labour MPs hard to follow however.

Rent of £400 a week can get you decent accomodation even in Central London. Official figures show that 96 per cent of 642,200 claimants whose handouts will be reduced will face rent shortfalls of £20 a week or less, and 79 per cent of £10 or less. The proposal does not affect the millions of tenants in social housing.

Rather than lose their tenants, the Government expects the vast majority of private landlords to cover the shortfall by making a small reduction in their rents. Nevertheless, there does need to be a bit of a rethink before I am content the Government has got it right.

But the real hypocrisy appears to lie with the Labour Party, who are throwing personal abuse about like confetti and even make the outrageous claim that changes will lead to the 'cleansing' of poor people from the better parts of London.

Some consistency on their part would go a long way because if you look back at their 2010 manifesto, written by the current Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband we find this:

'Housing Benefit will be reformed so we do not subsidise people to live in private sector accomodation on rents working families couldn't afford'

That is of course the purpose of the Coalition's reforms, so what are Labour on about and how can they square their inflammatory language with their own manifesto commitment?
Would you care to remind us of what is regarded as a fair rent for an MP renting in central London under the new expenses system?

It seems to me that the rate for an MP's room should be a lot less that that for a family. Strange that it's not.
No you are right. An MP should be no better off than somebody on housing benefit.
Funny enough, a Lib Dem activist has come under attack in my town over the withdrawl of child allowance for those earning over £44k per year. However the only person I can think of on this sort of money in my town is one Huw Irranca Davies
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