George Osborne, Chancellor has announced a £20k to £30k bung aimed at older social tenants to give up their social tenancy and go buy. If they can’t afford to buy then under UC first the mixed-age pensioner couple in social housing will get hit with the bedroom tax and then its inevitable that it will applied to all social housing pensioners.
Let’s paraphrase what Osborne says shall we?
You are the subject of huge positive discrimination as a social tenant now, and in the future, as the welfare reforms including the bedroom tax only apply to those of working age. Yet you are a problem as it is your age group that are the real scroungers who wollow around in scarce social housing properties thus denying them to those that really need such properties.
However, as you know, you account for more than 40% of the voting public – we call you the grey vote and we need you as all parties do. That is why you have hitherto received this favourable treatment of not being victimised by the bedroom tax and other cuts, sorry, necessary austerity programmes.
We have delayed the Universal Credit roll out as we hope you do not notice that under UC both you and your wife or husband needs to be of pensionable age to be exempt from it whereas now only one of you has to be. Naturally this will not come in before 7th May as we need your vote.
Yet, you are a problem. Despite having to raise the pensionable age many times which of course means more of you will be caught by the bedroom tax, we are privatising the NHS as fast as we can so that many of you die sooner and help alleviate this problem of us Conservatives hitting you with punitive cuts such as the bedroom tax. You may be aware of the oft-reported battles I have had with IDS to stop his UC programme which will shaft you in the same way as we now shaft the working age population.
As IDS has informed Parliament, though we did try to keep this quiet, you the pensioner take 68% of all welfare benefit spend or simply more than £2 in every £3 of the welfare budget. Of course when we attack the benefit scroungers who are bankrupting the country we don’t dare say this is you, hence raising the pension age and privatising the NHS makes sense for the country.
To make that easier for you to understand I made a picture for you with my crayons and don’t worry Nursey made sure they were not too sharp.
Yet we can’t say this publicly of course and that is why I have dreamt up this brown paper bag bung for you so you can be part of the great property owning democracy, that Thatcherite notion which bought her 3 elections successes while we registered her domicile in Caribbean tax havens to avoid paying taxes that would have meant the country could afford all you old farts …sorry older citizens.
My speech today has been reported in Inside Housing as that is a very Conservative friendly magazine with respect to our genocide, sorry housing policy. That story (co-written by Hans Christian Anderson) is below.
Osborne offers tenants cash as right to buy alternative
George Osborne has announced an £84m pot to offer social tenants up to £30,000 to buy a new home on the open market. The policy, announced in a major speech on housing this morning, will allow tenants who would have qualified for the Right to Buy to leave their social home and buy a new property.
Dubbed the Social Mobility Fund, it will be offered to tenants across England from April.
Local authorities will bid for a share of the cash, which they can then offer to tenants. The deadline for bids is 18 March. The maximum discount available will be £20,000 across England and £30,000 in London, which is substantially lower than the £70,000 and £100,000 respectively offered under the Right to Buy.
A Treasury spokesperson said this was because the tenant gets a ‘substantial additional benefit’ of being able to select their home. he funding will be offered to help the tenant buy any available property of their choice.
The government said it would welcome bids from local authorities that offer the product to housing association tenants who would have qualified under the preserved right to buy. It is not open to housing association tenants who would have qualified for the right to acquire.
Similar schemes have already been offered in several local authority areas nationwide, including Wandsworth in south London, the spokesperson added. The announcement came as George Osborne presented a slew of measures to help build 400,000 homes in London by 2025.
The coalition government has hugely increased the available discounts available under Right to Buy, but has been criticised for failing to do enough to ensure these properties are replaced.
A prospectus on the proposal says: ‘Some social tenants who are able to afford to exercise their Right to Buy are prevented from doing so because the social property in which they live is not suitable for their needs, or is difficult to mortgage.
‘The Government wants to help tenants trapped in social housing as a result of these barriers to access home ownership.’
The prospectus says the government is keen to prioritise older tenants seeking to move into appropriate accommodation or closer to family, working tenants who wish to move for employment and tenants that struggle to get a mortgage because of the nature of their property.
…so come join the great property owning democracy with this cut price bung else we will have to hit you with the bedroom tax. You know it makes sense
Yours in anticipation of your vote
The above has caused a bit of a stir.
Firstly, many appear NOT to have realised that under UC the mixed-aged pensioner couple (that is one above one below state pension age) is liable for the bedroom tax. See here (pdf) for full details and why the housing umbrella bodies in CIH, NHF and NHC have known about this since 2012.
Secondly, given that UC will cost at least £20 billion per year more as its principle is everyone gets what they are entitled to, a 100% take up of benefit and tax credits, this not a penny more not a penny LESS principle of UC means benefits and credits not now claimed will be paid and hat is easily in excess of £20 billion per year.
Thirdly and linked to the above is that IDS says the current 2015 welfare spend is £170 billion and (a) only 32% of that goes to working age claimants or £54.4 billion and (b) the coalition say they want to cut a further £25 billion from the welfare spend, then that cannot be achievable from the £54.4 billion paid to working-age claimants in any case so the non-working age (60+) will be getting targeted and have to be. So then this added £20 billion of UC cost will mean they will be targeted even more.
Fourthly, in terms of older persons look at this breakdown from the English Housing Survey by age and how hugely disproportionately older persons reside in social housing.
As I stated here if you are old (or sick or disabled) then social housing is the ONLY place you can live as the private rented sector model does not accommodate the older person. 44% of the entire social housing tenant profile are over 55 compared with just 15% in the private rented sector.
So the proportion of older persons in social housing – the ones Osborne is targeting – is a huge percentage of the social tenant profile and the social housing model.
The above are just some of the reasons why older social tenants are being targeted and gives some idea of how significant this will be for social housing
UPDATE 24th February 18.45pm
Some discussion below re the importance of the pensioner vote and to add to that and confirm my point here is a graphic for the ‘grey vote’ and note by comparison just 44% of under 25s vote
A stark comparison and a telling one!