At Prime Minister Questions today The Prime Minister told a known lie over the Conservative’s policy of the LHA maxima cut / cap. Twice. He then also tried to dismiss factual comments about the policy as scaremongering and only the result of research full of leading questions. He also knows that is deceitful too.
Firstly when asked about in a general question by Jeremy Corbyn he said:
The other change that we are making, which does not actually come into force until 2018, is to make sure that we are not paying housing benefit to social tenants way above what we would pay to private sector tenants.
Cameron couldn’t even bring himself to name this policy – the LHA maxima – and the lie and known lie is that the policy comes into force in April 2016 and a little over 8 weeks away and not in 2018.
In 8 weeks time and any date after 1 April 2016 a pensioner who moves into sheltered housing will have their full housing benefit paid in 2016/17 and in 2017/18 yet face a massive cut in housing benefit from April 2018.
That pensioner has to be told that now before he or she takes the decision to move into sheltered housing. If not that pensioner will need to find £50 per week from their state pension just to make the rent as (s)he will get a £50 per week cut in housing benefit. Of course a pensioner will not be able to afford to pay £50 per week out of state pension and £2,600 per year that is what the policy means as I illustrate (again) below.
The above is the first two pages of a spreadsheet which shows how much a 1 bed sheltered housing pensioner will have in the housing benefit cut from the LHA maxima policy.
In Barnsley, the pensioner will have a £3,508 cut in housing benefit and have to find £67.28 per week from state pension just to make the rent if (s)he moves in after April 2016 – JUST EIGHT WEEKS AWAY MR CAMERON!
The policy of the LHA maxima was announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his Autumn Statement of 25 November 2015 and he said:
The rate of Housing Benefit in the social sector will be capped at the relevant local housing allowance – in other words, the same rate paid to those in the private rented sector who receive the same benefit. It will apply to new tenancies only from April 2016
Cameron repeated his lie that the policy will only come into force in 2018 in a second question from Mike Weir as below:
Women’s aid groups, including my own in Angus, have raised the serious concern that changes in housing benefit may force the closure of many refuges. Will the Prime Minister undertake to specifically exclude refuges from the changes and to protect this vital service for vulnerable women and children?
As I said in my answers to the Leader of the Opposition, we want to support the supported housing projects that work in many of our constituencies. We have all seen how important they are. The changes to housing benefit that we are talking about will not come into place until 2018, so there is plenty of time to make sure that we support supported housing projects.
It’s the same policy of the LHA maxima – the one that Cameron noticeably did not mention by any name – that will close ALL DV refuges and homeless hostels and sheltered and other supported housing.
Note well that some if not much will close BEFORE April 2018 as the cuts are so severe and for example here is why just one provider the YMCA (England) will receive a £40 million first year cut and will have NO OPTION BUT TO CLOSE the majority of its homeless hostels and is also why DV refuges will have to close their doors for good on or BEFORE April 2018.
The policy does not come into force until 2018 Prime Minister?!
Oh yes its bloody well does as well you know – as you tried to implement this policy back in 2011 and know full well what its consequences are!
I do like the irony of today at PMQs you said this on Question 4:
Young people afraid of losing their homes, women denied the pensions that they were expecting and, increasingly, the needy left exposed without the social care they need to live a decent life: when will the Prime Minister address these scandals?
What we are doing for pensioners is putting in place the triple lock so that every pensioner knows there can never be another shameful 75p increase in the pension that we saw under Labour. They know that, every year, it will increase either by wages, prices or 2.5%, and that is why the pension is so much higher than when I became Prime Minister.
Yes we all remember the political significance of the 75p per week state pension increase under the ‘last lot’ Prime Minister – YET your increase to the pensioner in Barnsley is MINUS £67.28 per week – You are cutting the pensioners welfare benefit by SIXTY SEVEN POUNDS PER WEEK!!!
The highest cut is in Hull at a whopping £70.27 per week average housing benefit cut and that is £3,664 you are taking off the pensioner Prime Minister!
There are also higher actual cuts than these average figures and I am also aware and have proof of one extra care sheltered scheme in the North East with a weekly housing benefit cut of over £96 per week due to your LHA maxima policy.
I have also reported here that SVHA in Greater Manchester have a new HAPPI sheltered scheme that will see ALL pensioners there lose huge amounts in housing benefit and make that scheme non financially viable.
You were also informed in the LHA maxima debate two weeks ago that Mencap have pulled £100 million of new sheltered housing schemes because of your LHA maxima policy. As John Healey said in that debate:
Golden Lane Housing, Mencap’s housing arm, had plans for £100 million investment over the next five years in supported housing across England, but they have been scrapped.
Yet you say this is all hyperbole and scaremongering or skewed / leading research questions? You are a liar Prime Minister, a consummate one I agree, but a deliberate liar nonetheless.
Not only have you had the information on the LHA maxima consequences since 2011, your government awarded a research contract on this specific issue to IPSOS / MORI in December 2014 – 15 months ago -with terms of reference to report back at least monthly and preferably twice monthly so you and your government KNOW without a shadow of a doubt what the consequences of this policy are. That is up to 30 reports to date and to dismiss these factual consequences and fully evidenced based consequences as anything other than fact and known fact is a huge lie from your lips Prime Minister.
Finally, Prime Minister, a question for you.
If a social landlord accommodates a pensioner on say Monday 4th April 2016 and does NOT tell them they will be liable for a huge housing benefit cut in April 2018, what action will your government take to sanction that social landlord for misrepresentation / knowingly not telling the pensioner of that consequence?
Or will they be able to get away with such deceit by saying none other than the Prime Minister assured us that he “…wants to support the supported housing projects that work in many of our communities.” Or that he assured us all such issues were just scaremongering and we took him at his word?
Sorry, second question and the one Mike Weir really should have asked….
Can the Prime Minister advise where women and children fleeing domestic violence and abuse can flee to given you are closing all DV refuges?
A final third question Prime Minister….
Can you advise on how we hug a hoodie given that there will be 36,000 more of them on the streets sleeping rough as your policy closes all homeless hostels?