Why welfare reform (bedroom tax, benefit cap et al) cost more even in St Albans!!

Dear Reader

Please look at this BBC website report over St Albans City council placing homeless people in Premier Inns.

A 2 minute consideration reveals why the Housing Benefit bill has increased in real terms despite the bedroom tax, benefit cap, LHA and SAR caps – this coalitions welfare reforms (sic) – that all intended to reduce the HB bill but have increased it and in real terms.

The council faced with increasing homelessness as a result of the aforementioned ‘reforms’ (sic) have no option but to place those made homeless in the local Premier Inn at a cost of £69 per night on average. – Note the report says this tiny provincial council which is hardly the hub of homelessness has spent £3600 for 52 nights accommodation = average £69 per night = £484 per week in Housing Benefit and compares to the maximum HB allowed in St Albans for a 1 bed property of £156 per week – or 3 times the amount to the public purse if the tenants had not been made homeless by the said welfare ‘reforms’ (sic)!

[ NB – I am very conservatively assuming the evicted families are only placed in one room at Premier Inn.  If , as is highly likely the council needs to rent 2 rooms for them this becomes £968 per week !!]

Expand that to every town and city from the smallest to the largest London council and hey presto that is one major reason why the HB has increased as a direct result and consequence of the cuts (bedroom tax) and caps (benefit, LHA and SAR) this coalition has introduced.

This is how cuts and caps lead to an increase in the taxpayer cost for Housing Benefit.

Please note two things:

“The amount spent by the Conservative-run local authority on temporary bed and breakfast accommodation is £120,000 so far this financial year, compared to £10,419 in 2012-13 and £34,000 in 2013-14.”

So we can see the direct cost impact of the welfare reforms in this (comparative) backwater as the costs tripled from 2012 to 2013 and then more than tripled from 2013 to 2014

Second the political defensive spin and deceit put on this by the council when they say:

Liberal Democrat councillor Chris White said: “We have to find a way to eliminate that cost. We shouldn’t have to use Premier Inn.” The council said it used a range of accommodation, including bed and breakfasts, usually costing £45-£90 a night. Karen Dragovic, the council’s head of housing, said the Premier Inn was at the “higher end of the [price] spectrum” and it was used “when other alternatives have been exhausted”.

This Premier Inn is at the higher end claims the council of the £45 – £90 per night spectrum?  The midpoint of which is £67.50 and the Premier Inn costs £69 per night on average as I explained above.  So the head of housing is simply wrong and is either aiming to deceive or has no appreciation of simple numbers!



7 thoughts on “Why welfare reform (bedroom tax, benefit cap et al) cost more even in St Albans!!

  1. Thanks for this Joe. So not only do the welfare reforms violate every principle of fairness and decency, they COST money.

    This is probably the only kind of cost that our government understands, and they do not seem to have a very sound grasp of that.

    What frightens me is that these “welfare reforms” will leave a legacy of costs behind them which will linger on years after the “welfare reforms” themselves are history. I’m talking about the educational under-achievement of some 15 year old trying to study for GCSEs in inadequate temporary accommodation; the bout of depression that a benefit sanction changed from being a temporary episode in the life of a young adult into a downward spiral which led to hospitalisation and a lifetime of medication; and about the child born with less than optimal health after being malnourished in the womb.

    All these things lead predictably to financial costs – for lost earning power and medical treatment, but they lead even more inexorably to human costs.

    The damage these “welfare reforms” cause will in many cases be irreversible. They are leaving a legacy of costs for our children and grandchildren compared to which “reckless borrowing” is chicken-feed.

    1. One point I should have hammered home is that in two years of welfare reform little old backwater St Albans has seen a TWELVE-FOLD increase in HB for homelessness

  2. Correct me if I am wrong but am I right in thinking that claimants were ticking along until some clipboard carrier said they have to pay extra for their spare room and they simply could not afford the extra cost, this in turn causing eviction leading to the Council having to spend upto £500 per week for temporary(!) hotel bills. if I am correct then am I also correct in saying that this Gov has seriously LOST THE FREAKING PLOT

  3. Good God! I knew that all the welfare cuts caused untold stress as well as death and starvation. I also know that everything that this government has touched has proved to cost more than it did in the first place, but this is damned ridiculous!

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