The budget confirmed and denied different speculation which has been rife for many weeks as to the £12 billion of “welfare” cuts and alongside the budget tomes of paper there is a simple spreadsheet attached which gives the information most tenants and landlords wish to know.
That spreadsheet and the hundreds and hundreds of pages can be found here and here is a quick overview of that figures most want to know. I am sure this data and wording will be pored over in huge detail in many subsequent blogs.
The 10% across the board cut to Housing Benefit is not going to happen yet social rents will fall 1% per year for the next 5 years and achieve a HB saving of £1.445 billion which is not far off the same reduction as it equates to a 8.8% HB reduction and saving to the Treasury but paid out by landlords not tenants as the 10% across the board reduction would have been.
That is an example of what was not in and what was new and also an example of social landlords getting spanked by policy which was a common thread but a much worse common theme was a simple one.
If you work and are able to work you are generally ok. If you do not work or unable to work or not currently expected to work you get severely spanked – Whites Dee and the rest of the Poverty Porn blame game has clearly led up to all of this and some of the cuts are staggering.
The Key Details
- All of the changes to come into effect from April 2016 unless emphasised above.
- A + figure means a cut or saving and a – figure represents an increase in government cost.
I briefly comment on a few of the above and note well in isolation and in the chronology in the table.
37 – The benefit freeze we already knew and was in place until the end of 2017/18 has been extended to 2020/21 and that 3 year extension alone will save £10.23 billion over these further 3 years. Freezing benefit means it is a real term cut.
38 – The reduced benefit cap limits of £23k in London and now confirmed as £20k in the rest of the UK will begin in April 2016. This cap reduction needs to be reconsidered as to its impacts on evictions and homelessness in light of many of the other changes such as limit in child tax credits the benefit freeze and so many more.
Yet I can say now with certainty that the reduced benefit cap will lead to a huge increase in homelessness and will undoubtedly cost the British taxpayer at least £2 billion per year MORE.
39 – The limitation on Child Tax Credits and only for new claimants will begin in April 2017. This means all my analyses of hundreds of thousands more children being homeless as a direct consequence are correct as this CTC reduction (a) begins 12 months after the reduced benefit cap, and (b) will still apply after that to existing tenants.
40 – This is the same as 39 except for UC claimants which suggests UC will roll out to larger families by next April
45 – The huge blame game on 18 – 21 year old and being banned from Housing Benefit has been confirmed yet (a) not starting until April 2018 and (b) note how tiny the amounts of claimed savings are at £25 million per year or just 0.1% of the total Housing Benefit Bill.
A classic example of Conservative policy of blaming the young person and castigating all societal ills on them as it makes good political rhetoric and spin and scaremongering / Cameron is tough articles all over the media and then the actual impact is so insignificant at one thousandth of the entire HB bill that it gets buried!!
46 – Reduce social rents by 1% per year? – None of us saw this coming and a real rabbit out of the hat and a very clever one too as I stated above as by the end of the Parliament this equates to a 8.8% HB cut which is now paid by the landlord and not a rent top up for the tenant.
Oh dear is there still anyone in social housing who (a) believes they have nothing to worry about with Conservative housing and welfare policy, and (b) still believes that their own apathy and spineless lack of challenge has made them the easiest of easy targets for such cuts and having their backsides spanked?
47 – Pay MORE to Stay – I could draft 5,000 words on how and why this is the biggest load of horse shit and will never happen and is unworkable which it is. Note that this is scheduled to begin in 2018 with a claimed £365 million saving which then halves the following year – Eh! Yes it is an assumption that those earning over £30k in the provinces and over £40k household income in London will take up the right to buy and nothing more. The policy is and always has been unworkable in practice and the claimed savings relate to the tenants no longer getting HB as they have taken up the RTB.
50 – The trailed £30 per week cut for those on ESA and in the working group (WRAG) will happen and will begin in April 2018
There is plenty more to say and will be said after the finer detail of all the above changes have been analysed properly and considered. Yet the final issue is in the budget speech Osborne mentioned that tomorrow a new Welfare Reform & Work Bill will be released which will provide much more proposed detail.
So in short – the tenant is in the shit, so is the landlord and so is the local authority with these welfare changes and the only unknown is the scale of the smelly brown stuff which will take a little while to factor and keep us all busy for a good few weeks.