If ever you wish for a cast iron example of political policy and local council lunacy then you will find it here in an article in 24 dash housing released today.
The London borough of Westminster has bought back 45 council flats at an average cost of over £400,000 that it sold under the right to buy for less than £100,000 each!
What a way to waste £12 million of public money by the Tory council there and the reason for this lunacy, the current welfare reform policy of Tory central government!
The welfare reform of capping Local Housing Allowance or LHA – the private rented sector version of housing benefit – means that LB Westminster has seen a huge surge in private renting tenants being evicted by private landlords as housing benefit (LHA) no longer covers the rent.
This means these evicted families become the duty of the council (LB Westminster) to rehouse and regardless of the cost of rehousing these evicted families in temporary or permanent accommodation.
Fortunately we know how much LB Westminster is spending on rehousing these homeless families – up to £13,000 PER MONTH!!! – as this was detailed a few years ago in February 2013 and 13 months after the Tory coalition capped LHA at £400 per week by BBC London and please watch this 2 minute or so video footage of that as it will truly astound you as to the cost!
It is presumably cheaper for LB Westminster to buy back 45 flats which costs the taxpayer over £12 million than to accommodate the huge rise in homeless families created by Tory central government policy in the LHA caps and then added to in the overall benefit cap policy from October 2013!
What the above reveals:
- The RTB policy per se is a disaster for the public purse
- Tory local government is forced to waste millions of public money directly due to Tory central government policy
Yet it is much more than that and only today sees Tory central government policy advocating even more RTB to buy short-term votes that will bugger up the position even further! In other words with more and more social housing being sold off all councils will need to use the prohibitively expensive private B&Bs and hotel more than now.
One final point and a very important one. IDS was outraged that in some cases more than £100k per year was spent on HB to accommodate families – That is why he brought in the LHA cap and then the benefit cap. However, when the political hyperbole was looked at it was found that there were 5 (FIVE) only cases in the UK that received £100k per year in HB. Still 5 cases too many but only 5 out of them 4,751,551 HB recipients.
The BBC London film reveals there are now well more than 5 cases in LB Westminster alone!!! In simple terms and as a direct result of the ill-conceived policy of IDS and the Tory coalition we have MORE households costing over £100k per year than before!!!
The bill shown in the BBC London clip of £12,678 per month is a yearly figure of £152,136 and that is one case of many as again the film shows!
That is one reason why, as I explained here in detail, the four welfare reform (sic) policies introduced by the Tories to reduce overall HB cost (bedroom tax, benefit cap, LHA cap and SAR cap) have actually INCREASED the overall HB cost and not saved the public purse a penny.