Shappenfreude – Housing Minister admits HB cost up and HB reforms wont save money!

Shapps admits the coalition’s HB policy and HB reforms have failed. In case you missed it, and many did, the link is here to an article in Shapps’ local paper.  The Welwyn Hatfield Times is not the usual source for such a significant announcement.


The article entitled “Boris Johnson warns Welwyn Hatfield MP over housing benefits cap” is the context of a spat between BoJo and Shapps in which the Housing Minister states:


Asked whether he would tell Mr Shapps if he was wrong, the Mayor said: “I will certainly tell Grant Shapps that he’s wrong if he does anything to jeopardise the interests of London.”

In response, Mr Shapps told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “Boris rightly says he’d be against me doing anything to jeopardise the interests of London. I absolutely agree, and would never want to do that.

“All we’re saying is that hard working families paying their taxes must not be paying for people to be able to live in neighbourhoods that they themselves could never afford.

“That’s just unfair.”

He added: “Everyone might want to live in the finest street, in the best neighbourhood in Mayfair, although I personally don’t, but that doesn’t mean there’s a right to do so with others paying your rent.”

He also said it was wrong to say the Government was reducing the total housing benefit spend.

“In fact it’s projected to go from £21bn per year to £23bn by 2015.

“What we are doing is ensuring that it doesn’t rise even faster to £25bn,” he said

As I have remarked frequently in many posts the coalition stated the HB reforms would save money off the spiraling HB bill.  The reforms will save ‘nearly £2bn’ off the £20bn HB bill they inherited and thus set a HB target of £18bn by 2015.  Shapps above in this less than nationally viewed local rag says it will now be £23bn by 2015 a rise of £5bn on the original target from 2010.

This 28% increase in the total bill is the direct result of the HB reforms and they used the cost savings as the key rationale for the introduction of their numerous HB reforms; reforms which now are projected to cost £5bn per year more!

This very quiet admittance from Shapps is so unlike him as he usually pre-announces an announcement that he is going to make an announcement on his latest housing wheeze (boats to meet housing shortage anyone?) yet he still can’t resist attempting to spin this favourably can he?

What we are doing is ensuring that it doesn’t rise even faster to £25bn” no less.  Risible is giving such an absurd claim too much praise!

The 28% increase is yet another matter.  At the time of the June 2010 Coalition claim the numbers of HB claimants was £4.751m so even if the DWP and CLG didn’t anticipate an increase in HB claimants in their projections on HB costs, and they must have done, the 28% increase would be ‘justifiable’ if HB claimants rose 28% by 2015 – to over 6.08m claimants.  Yet numbers of claimants have risen less than 5%.  So the huge increase is not as a result of unexpectedly high number of new claimants, it’s a direct result of incompetent HB reform policies.  This must be the case as many HB reforms have still to become operational yet even when they do Shapps admits the HB bill will increase from £21 to £23bn!

I, along with many others, stated back in 2010 when the HB reforms were announced that they would not save money; rather the HB bill would increase.  It has.

The claimed rationale of this coalition was the HB reforms would save the public purse is exposed as the bunk it always was – Shappenfreude anyone?






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