Listening to IDS anyone would think that housing benefit costs had fallen under his watch as he constantly regales us with what a mess he was left by the ‘last lot’ and how well he is doing and how well his jobs ‘miracle’ has achieved.
Yet Housing Benefit costs have increased by 21% across GB since the last election, a rise of £4 billion, and despite IDS saying he would cut the HB bill by nearly £2 billion per year which he promised his welfare reforms would bring.
The LHA cap for private tenants is one policy aimed at reducing the overall HB bill, so is the increase in the shared accommodation rate from under 25s to those under 35, and of course there is the bedroom tax and the overall benefit cap. Yet despite all of these policies which seek to reduce the HB bill the HB bill has continued to rise and rise and the official government estimates suggest a further £5 billion rise by 2018/19.
So much for cutting the HB bill: So much for the welfare reforms: So much for the work miracle IDS proclaims….So much myth, propaganda and known lies
On closer inspection of the figures only some inner London boroughs are spending less on HB since the election such as Westminster with a 6.5% decrease yet inner London overall sees a 13% rise in HB costs while outer London reveals a 26% increase – compelling evidence that the HB diaspora has worked yet it only seeks to export the ridiculously high rent costs of inner London to outer London…and beyond. Brent has a staggering 32% increase in HB costs for example.
Once Brent and other outer London boroughs rents increase due to excess demand two things happen. Firstly demand is met by private landlords not social landlord so the HB increases again; and secondly this increases demand in councils just outside of outer London…which in turn pushes up rent and HB costs there and so a spiral of exporting ever higher rents and ever higher Housing Benefit costs and logically the Outer Hebrides wont be affordable to live eventually
In the North East we see Sunderland with a 15% increase and Stockton at the other extreme with a 26% increase. Wonder why Benefit Street want to film their second series there eh reader? The North West sees extremes of a 14% increase in Barrow and a 33% increase in Sefton in Merseyside.
Ah but they’re all “oop North” I hear you say. Surely the HB cost will have fallen in the prosperous South East? No! Rother only sees a 6.4% increase in East Sussex yet Rushmoor in Hants has a 41% increase in HB costs. In the South West we see Cheltenham with the lowest rise of 7.25% while West Devon has had a staggering 43% increase in overall HB costs since the election.
Bucks at 22%, Hants at 24%, Kent at 22%, Surrey at 24% and West Sussex at 23% are all way above the national average increase of 20.96%. The same goes for the South West with Bath having a 29% increase, Cornwall and South Gloucestershire at 26%.
With the squizillions of new jobs said to have been created in the rhetoric of IDS and the HB cuts he proclaims in the bedroom tax and benefit cap then surely the HB bill would fall nationally and especially in the so-called prosperous south, yet it hasn’t. It has increased sharply and well ahead of inflation and despite the LHA and overall benefit caps and despite the bedroom tax and the rest of his so-called welfare reforms – and yes “reform” does mean to improve so how much of a misnomer are these policies!
It is time we stopped calling IDS an immoral and a lying bast*rd and time we focused on just how much of an incompetent one he is and how much more his policies will cost the taxpayer: And how the profit driven private sector landlords, who get 25% more in housing benefit than social landlords per claimant, have increased their share of the total HB claimants from 25% in 2008 to 33% in 2013 and projected, by this government, to have 38% of all HB claimants by 2018. That neglect and shameful blaming of social housing and its tenants and lack of addressing the real issue of the lack of genuinely affordable housing is why IDS’s policies will see the inexorable rise of HB go even greater.
The policies are inept and a charade and don’t work and that needs to be the focus when we assess IDS and the DWP and the coalitions housing and welfare benefit policies. We, and IDS himself, have long since become immune to his lies and immorality; rather its time we focused on his inept performance and the huge cost increases his policies have given to the taxpayer and none more so than in the one welfare benefit he claims is the worst of all in Housing Benefit.