Today, Monday 13 April 2015, the Labour Party manifesto confirms the end of social housing. Yes I did say the Labour manifesto! Yes I do mean the Labour Party are putting the final nail into the coffin of the social housing model created as part of the Welfare State. And what’s more the incompetent buffoons at the top of the social housing ‘sector’, yes the same ones who claim the ‘sector’ has found its voice, do not even realise it!
By the time most in housing and beyond read this the rumours circulating this evening that tomorrows Tory manifesto will include the right to buy housing association properties will see the social housing professional fixated on that and totally miss the death of social housing in Labour’s manifesto.
I am talking about the overall benefit cap and on page 47 of the Labour manifesto they confirm (a) they will keep the Tory benefit cap, and (b) ask SSAC to look at a lower cap figure outside of London – something that has been Labour policy since 2011 when first raised by Liam Byrne, then Shadow Secretary of State Work and Pensions.
Note the context that Labour has promised no new borrowing and that makes clear that Labour will seek the same level of ‘welfare’ savings that the Tories refuse to say from where they are coming. This is not a choice of Tory cuts and Labour non cuts – both the only two parties who can form the next government are committed to welfare cuts.
The overall benefit cap I have explained recently in at least four posts will see under the Tory plan that social landlords will no longer be able to afford to accommodate the household with 3 or more children and that this would happen immediately after the election should the Tories remain in office – see here and here and here and here and here and here. For those who have read my previous posts you will also be aware of the systemic flaw in the overall benefit cap I wrote about almost 3 years ago in June 2012 and presented to the CIH SE conference in October 2012 only to be met with the response of social landlords will always house those in need which completely misses the point that social landlords cannot afford to take the financial risk of housing the family with 3 children due to both the Tory and Labour benefit cap policies which hasten on the systemic flaw and make it an immediate (ie May 2015 issue.)
The numerous recent posts on the overall benefit cap have received plenty of emails to me from chief executives in social housing who confirm my view that the OBC does mean landlords cannot afford the financial risk to arrears of accommodating the 3 child family.
The Tory plan I put into a table to show what it means which I now remind:
The figures in red show those households that immediately after the election under the Tory plans social landlords can not afford to house any longer.
Note too that these households all qualify for at least a 3 bed property and so the the simplest way to assess the scale of this is to look at what percentage of stock is 3 bed or larger. Nationally in social housing this is 35.02% and so if under occupied the landlord is exposed to bedroom tax arrears and if fully occupied is exposed to much higher benefit cap arrears. Social landlords and the social housing model are well and truly shafted each end up!
Today, ahead of my scanning the Labour manifesto I was drafting some more detail of this to two chief executives and one of them has 43% of his stock being 3 bed or higher and the other sees 63% of her stock being 3 bed or higher. Their housing associations are respectively 22% and 80% more at risk than the average social landlord.
I have not sent this yet as I scanned the Labour manifesto and saw what I have highlighted above – which mean the Labour Party still don’t see the death of social housing with the benefit cap and they too are minded to reduce it which will definitely kill the social housing model over the next parliament as the table below explains.
The above table shows an illustration of the position at April 2020 or just before the next election and assumes that welfare benefit and child tax credit increase at 1.5% per year.
Note my point about 3 bed properties being affected and if a social housing 3 bed averages £105 per week in the regions and £135 per week in London today those rents will become £117 and £151 per week assuming rents rise as the same 2.2% they did this year.
It means, the same as the Tory OBC plan – that the social landlord across the UK cannot afford to house the family on benefit with 3 children or more. It also reveals that should a lone parent with 3 children have another child than that household will get just £62 per week to set against a rent of £117 per week in Liverpool and just £112 per week against a £151 per week rent in London. Yes a financial risk too far and social landlords cannot afford to house them in this LABOUR policy!!
Have a look again and you will see that the 5 child household will not get a penny in housing benefit or LHA – So where will they live!!
What this reveals is two major things.
Firstly, the Labour Party do not have a clue what the overall benefit cap means to the social housing model, that pillar of the welfare state they claim to honour and laud. They are complete incompetent buffoons just like the Tories (assuming the Tories are not deliberately setting out to kill social housing that is!)
Secondly, and more scandalously, it shows that the social housing sector are even bigger incompetent buffoons as they have ignored the critical risk the overall benefit cap poses to their industry and the social housing model.
Despite the warm reception for my systemic flaw theory of almost three year ago (benefits and rents rise faster than cap and so erode the maximum to be paid in housing benefit) the sector chose to see the benefit cap as just a London issue and then only for the private tenant. They also ignored the original DWP impact assessment which said 46% of those caught by the benefit cap were social tenants too.
Yet far more incompetent than all of this is that after the euphoria and hyperbole that surrounded the Homes for Britain rally in which the sector claimed to have found its voice, they must now surely realise that the lack of using that voice is not only because it was seen to be politicking but because they didn’t have anything to say as they did not see the critical danger of the overall benefit cap and how it means the death of the social housing model.
So in summary, the ineptitude of the mute social housing sector only has itself to blame when Labour say as they did today that they will continue with the benefit cap and seek to reduce it outside of London. The Tory Party are incompetent (or maybe want to see the end of all social housing) and the Labour Party are incompetent because they do not see their policy means the end of social housing at a huge cost to the public purse. Yet the Tory and Labour Party are incompetent BECAUSE the mind blowingly inept and ignorant and downright stupid social housing sector could not see what was right in their faces with the overall benefit cap and did not tell them!!
So even when the social housing intelligentsia stop focusing on the RtB threat to housing associations that tomorrow’s Tory manifesto is said to include, they will be so singly focused on that they will miss this critical threat which means the end of social housing anyway whether HAs are subjected to the admittedly huge issue of RtB or not…and once again the purported sector will miss it and the true architects of the death of social housing will be the chronically inept social landlords.
Long reader and a bit complex? I do apologise! It contains numbers and figures? Oh I most sincerely apologise! I am ranting a bit reader? Too fecking right I am though, hey, its only the end of social housing after all, you know the housing of last choice and perceived as that because of the mute for three decade ignoramuses that run the sector. Ah the old saw, management is like a septic tank, the big chunks rise to the top!!
Imagine that the Tories remain in power and they will implement the much reduced benefit cap policy which could easily see hundreds of thousands of families on benefit made homeless and be costing the public purse a fortune as well as the outrageous human impacts on the children involved.
The Labour Party try to challenge it in parliament only to be slapped down like a fly with the reply that it was their policy too!!!
So not only is the Labour Party shit scared to be seen as the party OF welfare in coming out against the benefit cap now as it has a 78% approval rating from the public (unheard of) and because the general public do not know this cap actually costs more to the public purse and individual taxpayer.
So this is not just a craven policy of the Labour Party now, it is politically reckless and naive as when the huge increases in homelessness happen and when we have 5 times as many children being made homeless as there are now we will have a neutered opposition to this human and economic disaster!!!