Today saw the latest quarterly Housing Benefit figures released by the DWP which detail the position at August 2014. Below I say what these are and compare them to the inherited position at May 2010.
Please read until the end – the figures are explosive in political terms and the precise type of FACT that the social housing lobbies should be issuing on #HousingDay – more in work claimants of HB than unemployed claimants!!
A) Claimant count is now 4,930,162 and has increased by 178,636 since the election. Of these additional 178,636 new claimants since the election 89% of them live in the private rented sector or 9 in every 10 new claimants of HB live in the PRS.
However note well that the numbers of PRS claimants of HB has begun to fall over the last year and that is clear evidence of PRS landlords becoming ever more reluctant to house the ‘benefit claimant.’ If the hare-brained proposal to reduce the overall benefit cap to £440pw goes ahead then expect this figure to plummet.
B) Those in work and claiming HB – The latest figures is 1, 078,413 and up 427,862 since the election which in percentage terms is a 66% increase and strongly supports the assertion that Housing Benefit is a subsidy for low waging paying employers
C) Bizarrely A) and B) above reveals that the percentage of new HB claimants in work is 240%!
D) The overall bill sees the 4,930,162 claimants each receiving on average £93.05 making the total bill £23.937 billion. The inherited figure was £20.8 billion so it has increased by £3.17 billion or by 15% since the election. The coalition’s welfare reforms would reduce the HB bill by £2 billion per year by 2014/15 (ie now) they said in June 2010 meaning the latest bill is £5.17 billion above the coalition target.
E) There are 471,887 households hit with the bedroom tax at an average of £14.92 per week making a total cut of £367 million per year. The DWP anticipated 660,000 so we see almost 200,000 fewer households affected by it than IDS wanted for his alleged savings. Only last week IDS told Parliament that the bedroom tax saves £500 million per year yet his own departments figures the total cut is £133 million per year less – then of course take off the DHPs allocated at £65m gives £300m this year for bedroom tax and even ignoring all the other costs it brings we see IDS misleading parliament once again by at least 66% by saying it is £500m.
F) Kite flying proposals to ban under 25s from getting HB? Only 6.3% of all housing benefit goes to the under 25s. Only 2.5% of the entire HB bill goes to single under 25s with no dependant children so even if this kite-flying nonsense goes ahead it can only affect those without dependant children. In other words a nice bit of political spin and myth but a policy that has no credibility or teeth.
I will be putting some more figures out shortly not least concerning the ever reducing bedroom tax affected households which have fallen 2.02% this last quarter and down by a further 9,716. There are some interesting variations in this such as a tiny increase in Darlington in the North East yet a 5% fall in Redcar in the North East. Or an increase of 1 household in Knowsley in Merseyside yet a fall of 124 in Liverpool. Is there a correlation between areas of high appeal activity and low appeal activity with the 72% and more success rates I reported here for example in these regional cases? Although it could be that Knowsley have been very tardy in seeing appeal cases reach the tribunal in contrast to Liverpool.
The same unexplained variances occur in London when since December 2013 the bedroom tax households affected in Ealing has increased by 2% yet fallen by over 13% in Greenwich and all against a national fall of 5%. The overall bedroom tax figures have fallen from 523k to 471k a 52,000 drop and does this just reflect the numbers of pre 96 cocked up decisions (sorry loopholes) that DWP and LAs made or is it more than that?
G) One final point and a very significant one indeed that I have just slapped my own wrists for not reporting before. The HB statistics include those in receipt of HB who are claiming unemployment benefits of Income Support and JSA which collectively at May 2010 – the inherited position – were 1,989,626. This figure is now 1,081,155 and represents a fall of those unemployed claiming HB since the election of 908,471 – or that can be said as there are 45.66% fewer unemployed people claiming housing benefit since the election.
Everyone, myself included, has focused upon the increase in the numbers of those in work claiming HB and not ‘noticed’ the huge fall in the unemployed claiming HB.
In May 2010 42% of those claiming HB were also claiming unemployment benefit or 42% of claimants were unemployed.
At August 2014 just 22% of those claiming HB were unemployed.
There are now more pensioners claiming HB than those unemployed
The numbers in work claiming HB at August were 1.078m and those unemployed 1.081m – given the trend and the fact these figures are 3 months behind this means as you read this today that there are
MORE WORKING CLAIMANTS OF HOUSING BENEFIT THAN THERE ARE UNEMPLOYED CLAIMANTS!
Apologies I posted this too early (got a bit carried away perhaps with the startling last comment. Let me explain this in more detail.
Aug 2014 shows 1.081m claiming dole and HB and 1.078m working and claiming HB. Yet that is the position 3 months ago and on average those claiming dole (JSA & IS) has dropped by 22,000 per month and those working and needing to claim HB has risen by an average of nearly 9,000 per month.
So today in November 2014 we can be pretty sure the figures will be
Unemployed claiming HB – 1.015m Working and claiming HB 1.205m
You may prefer it this way too – At last election for every working person claiming HB there were 3 HB claimants on the dole. Now there are more working people needing to claim HB than there are HB claimants on the dole. If anything makes the argument that HB has become a subsidy benefit for low paying UK employers that last statistic says it loud and clear.
IDS welfare reforms has seen him rewarding his low paying employer friends and donors and getting the taxpayer to subsidise the meagre wages they pay. He has done this while without any irony (or truth for that matter) blaming the rise in HB which is £5 billion more than he said his policies would achieve on idle scroungers on the dole making a lifestyle choice at a cost to the ‘hardworking’ taxpayer.
That hardworking taxpayer is in fact subsidising his boss!