I note today that Cameron at PMQs states that Housing Benefit claimants get £100,000 per year in HB which he used for justification of his coalition’s many ‘welfare reforms’ and to vilify and blame all welfare benefit recipients as scroungers.
Full Fact did a freedom of information (FOI) request to get the actual figures which they published here and this revealed at most that 5 families got this amount in 2010. Note well I used the past tense and ‘got’ and deliberately didn’t use ‘get’ as now there are no families getting more than £20,800 per year or £400 per week in HB as the LHA caps prevented this. So why is Cameron using this?
Is it to show that his coalition has got HB under control? Or is it simply to vilify any welfare benefit claimant?
The latest official HB figures published in November 2012 and detailing up till August 2012 show there are 5,051,120 HB claimants (see table 4).
So 5 out of 5,051,120 HB claimants may (remember this is a maximum figure) get £100,000 per year in HB. Yes, 5 too many but this means that only 0.00009898794% of all HB claimants get that amount and of course that 99.99% did not get that level of HB.
So we see the other 99.99% of claimants or 5,051,115 being called scroungers, feckless and generally blamed for all societal ills because of these 0.0000989794%
Statistically with 0.7% of all benefit claims being fraudulent this means that 35,358 HB claimants are statistically defrauding the system. Yet Cameron doesnt use this figure – which again is 35,358 too many - to make his point, he uses the 0.0000989794%! So despite the fact there are 7072 more ne’er-do-wells claiming HB as fraudsters than there are receiving £2k per week in HB Special Agent Cameron…..
Just to hammer home the above points lets not forget that Cameron’s coalition said they would cut HB by nearly £2bn per year in June 2010 and the first mini-budget thus setting a target for HB of £18bn (Note they believed it was £20bn and not the £20.8bn actual figure).
The latest figures show the HB bill is £23,567,555,383 or £23.57bn – a mere £5.57bn above target and a mere 31% above his coalition’s target!
Also last month Cameron admitted that “…even under our plans …” the HB bill will increase in the future. That was the same Cameron who inadvertantly admitted he lied to parliament on HB falling or reducing back in January 2012 to whcih he (a) still hasn’t apologised for, and (b) Laabour or any other opposition party has not made the point! So clearly Cameron and his coalition are not in control of the HB budget and the main reason Cameron uses these past figures is to vilify HB and by extension all other welfare benefit claimants (excepting pensioners of course who have been exempted from the welfare reforms!)
Additionally these past (Labour) figures attack Labour too and more seriously deflect attention away from the fact his coalition’s mishandling of the HB budget sees it at 31% above target…and still rising! Hey as long as Joe Public perceives that caps and cuts must mean a fall in public purse costs and not this huge increase then Cameron will continue to lie and deceive the electorate. If Cameron can also portray all benefit recipients as scroungers at the same time (and nobody raises the fact that pensioners take the vast majority of welfare benefits….shhhhhhh don’t tell anyone !!) then Cameron will continue to deceive the electorate…and Parliament too.
Shhhhhhh don’t tell anyone the following either:
- We pay private landlords £2.2bn more per year for the same number of properties than we do to social landlords as official figures show over 1.6m of them receive on average £25.20 more HB per week than social landlords
- That £2.2bn per year (and rising) is a revenue subsidy to private landlords that is double the £1.2bn or so we the taxpayer give to social landlords as capital subsidy
- Social landlords this coalition wanted to rename the state-subsidised sector yet private landlords get double this amount of subsidy (only we don’t call it that!!…a real big shhhhhhhhh!)
- If we removed the £1.2bn those nasty social landlords get each year they would put up rents to the private HB level and cost the country £5bn more (shhhhhhhhh!)
- Paying ‘subsidy’ to social landlords saves every taxpayer £170 per year in tax
- Cameron’s coalition is so much in control of the HB spend that it has risen by £37.85 PER SECOND – THATS EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY, TWENTY FOUR HOURS PER DAY since the election!
Anyone listening to Cameron would think that HB and public benefit spend had reduced on his watch wouldn’t they? That’s exactly what they want Joe Public to think! And Joe Public to believe his clear strategy that all welfare recipients are scroungers. In the absence of any political challenge to that then Cameron’s done a bloody good job hasn’t he?
So has the overall welfare bill risen by £14bn or £16bn since the election? I’m working on that for another blog! Has this coalition spent more as a percentage of the country’s GDP on welfare than the 13 ‘profligate’ years of Blair and Brown that Cameron / Osborne / IDS et al all claim got us into this mess? Yes they have – though not as much as the Major government! Yes folks both Cameron and Major governments spend more proportionally and in real terms on welfare than the Blair / Brown 13 years…but I’ll save that for my next blog.