Yesterday was #HousingDay. Yesterday also saw the latest official Housing Benefit data released. Here’s the link between them and one simple fact from the latter that makes the former inconsequential.
#HousingDay was about promoting social housing and its benefits and getting over the myth that surrounds social housing from White Dee and Benefit Street and especially this coalition portraying social housing as full of lazy benefit tenants making the lifestyle choice to only get out of bed to watch Jeremy Kyle on their 60″ flat screen TV.
YET the above simple fact that there are more working tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit than unemployed tenants is 100 times more powerful a message than the combined efforts of thousands of landlords and tenants did in #HousingDay.
Yes the above simplest of simple graphs also shows the coalition inherited 3 unemployed claimants for every 1 working tenant yet now there are MORE people in work receiving HB than there are unemployed in just 4 years.
It also shows that the rhetoric about that political construct of the “hardworking family’ can apply most to those in low paid jobs in the UK with wages so low they qualify for Housing Benefit. It also means Housing Benefit is MORE a subsidy to low wage paying employers than it is to the unemployed White Dees of this world which this government says epitomises social housing.
ONE SIMPLE FACT
ONE SIMPLE MESSAGE
ONE TARGET AUDIENCE
The audience should have been anyone not in housing and the direct opposite of what #HousingDay was as that is where it was directed. Nice try and admirable effort but FAILURE all the same and INCONSEQUENTIAL for the simple reasons above.
By all means take the positives such as the effort, the will and getting so many housing voices together and build on them and build on them every day not just for 0.273% of each year.
By all means use #HousingDay as a catalyst and springboard for an aggressively marketed and well targeted campaign based on the huge number of facts which make social housing great for the tenant, the landlord, the government and for every taxpayer.
YET don’t delude yourself by thinking it was a success or the best that can be done or could be done or that it is all that needs to be done.
By all means applaud your own efforts which were huge and contained much to be admired but if you don’t tell those that matter in Joe Public and Government then your efforts are akin to finding a cure for the common cold but not telling anyone.
Do use the positives but do not be under any illusion that anything yet has been achieved or that it will be easy to achieve. The social housing ‘sector’ has failed to promote itself for 30 years so #HousingDay is much too little much too late. Not just a pebble in any old ocean but, regrettably, a microscopic speck of gravel in the Mariana Trench
The social housing model has been under attack since RTB and the acceleration and increased radical nature of that attack under this coalition has been huge – as the above simplest f simple graphs shows too.
A social housing love-in on social media is nowhere near enough. Get angry, get radical, get aggressively selling the many huge benefits of what we are all so passionate about in social housing. Get the message right, get the facts right and get them known. Fail to do that and you are simply the lazy consensus the snake oil salesman of a former housing minister called you all.
The coalition is overly fond of telling your ‘customers’ the tenants who are all called White Dee’s to get off their lazy arses and do something productive…Guess who else that applies to?
Assuming the trends have continued since August this year in the above graph there will now be 1,103,097 working households getting £93.78 per week in Housing Benefit. The HB bill therefore subsidises low paying UK employers by £5,397,791,641 per year or by £5.4 billion per year!
Note too the official HB data does state how much HB working claimants get which is given as£93.78 per week average and how much the average is for all HB claimants working or not at which is £93.05 per week.
Any notion you may have had that working people only get part Housing Benefit is therefore a nonsense.
Housing Benefit is a £5.4 billion pa subsidy to UK employers
UK social landlords get £1.125 billion in grant subsidy per year – go figure!
The same HB data reveals how much tenants have had cut in bedroom tax and hows this for a snappy FACT even written in Toryspeak
For every £1 of spare room subsidy HB pays £15 to low paying employers!!