Housing For Dummies 1 (Housing Benefit Cost 2008 – 2011)

Why cant we have some simple and easily reached facts on housing issues?”

That was a very simple but nonetheless valid question asked of me recently by one of my clients.

A sort of ‘Housing for Dummies’ type of thing, Joe” she went on to say.

I have produced a number of charts and graphs recently and then, after the fact, realised that putting half a dozen or more in the same post makes the process of referring back to them in subsequent posts (a) long and (b) detracts from subsequent points Im trying to make, and (c) makes them overlong and in danger of not being read.  Note to self – Often what is bloody obvious and staring you in the face takes such a simple innocent question to realise!

Chart – The overall cost of Housing Benefit for the past 3 years


1.  The chart shows the overall HB cost from November 2008 when it was £16.7bn to November 2011 of £22.4bn which is the latest figure revealed in the DWP official statistics. The May 2010 position inherited after last election was £20.88bn

2. The exact figures are (a) at Nov 08 – £16,716,097,902; (b) at 11 May 2010 £20,875,541,600; and (c) at Nov 2011 £22,401,634,138

3. From May 11 2010 to the latest official figures for the position at 10 November 2011 is a 549 day period


1. The current official £22.4bn figure is for the second Thursday in November 2011 which I work out to be 549 days after the May 2010 figure of £20.8bn – a rise of £1.6bn or an approximate increase of £2.9 million per day since the last election in May 2010.  However, the exact rise is £2,779,767 per day as the overall figure has increased by £1,526,092,538 since May 2010.

2. When Cameron said in January 2011 at PM Questions in the House of Commons that Housing Benefit had reduced, and subsequent to that basis that rents had reduced, he was factually incorrect on his premise.  Housing Benefit hasnt reduced it has increased as the above chart and figure of £2.78m per day shows factually. Why the Labour opposition chose to focus the attack on Cameron saying rents had fallen, and if just 2 of the near 5 million have fallen it is semantically correct (ie plural) rather then the easily disproved statement that HB had reduced is quite simply a political strategy error.



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