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!