£100 million extra for homelessness screams the headlines today in yet another budget leak. This is welcome says sycophant upon sycophant and frankly I’m sick of sycophants who welcome this and fail to see this BNB or Big Number Bull.
This speculated £100 million it appears is (a) conditional and (b) over ‘x’ number of years and there are two major reasons why this is not what it seems – the policies of the LHA maxima and the overall benefit cap.
The LHA maxima policy and homelessness
This cuts up to £213 million per year from single homeless services in housing benefit that now averages £180 per week and falls to the SAR average of just £68 per week for up to 36,500 single homeless rooms – a £213 million per year cut.
Even if all single homeless residents were 35+ years of age the maximum housing benefit would fall to the average 1 bed LHA rate of £111 per week making the cut £131 million per year.
Hence the cut to single homelessness is between £131 million and £213 million per year whereas the £100 million ‘injection’ from Osborne is highly likely to be until 2020 and thus £25 million per year – the giving of £1 back for every £5 – 8 he takes with the LHA maxima cap policy!
Just one single homeless provider in the YMCA and just in England alone could see a £40 million per year cut from the LHA maxima policy!
The overall benefit cap and homelessness
The OBC reduction to £384 per week from the autumn sees the current 23,000 affected by the now £500 per week cap increase to 164,000 families in the DWP’s woeful estimate and is likely to hit over 220,000 UK households with an average £76 per week cut in housing benefit thus making all of those households at imminent risk of eviction and homelessness.
The £20k OBC alone could easily see 650,000 children alone being made homeless and explained here
The LHA maxima and others
The LHA maxima cut will also see all 4,000 women and accompanying children in UK refuges made homeless and at the lowest estimate see 156,000 homes for supported and sheltered housing tenants in a range of vulnerable client groups close making them homeless too.
Sick of sycophancy in the usual forelock tugging pathetic suspects who welcome the increasingly common Big Number Bullshit announcements from this government as deflection and spin from the reality of their policies is therefore explained.
It is also a little late in the day for faux government concern over homelessness with the numbers having rocketed including a 55% increase in rough sleepers and these increases do have direct causal links with the Conservatives housing policies and, especially, their four HB reforms (bedroom tax, original benefit cap and original LHA cap and the SAR cap) which sought to save £2 billion per year yet realised a £1 billion per year increase in HB and in real terms.
The tactic of leaking a vague sympatico policy ahead of the budget with a public perceived large number – the £100 million BNB – is unfortunately all too common and all too full of bullshit that the general public aided and abetted by the media laps up and believes.
If we ever get the full detail of this £100 million policy – and how nice of Osborne to give this BNB back over ? years after taking £200 million per year! – I suspect it will be more gate keeping and even if not it is treating a symptom not a cause and only regulation of the private rented sector as a first step can begin to treat the causes of homelessness as well as abandoning the benefit cap and LHA maxima cap policies and the bedroom tax.
How about a policy of preventing housing benefit being paid on a property that fails to meet decent homes standards?
Sorry I should have pre-warned you reader to have the smelling salts at hand shouldn’t I? How outrageous a suggestion that is eh? You know insisting that a public authority cannot pay out public money on a sub-standard purchase in order to fulfil a public (and legal) duty that public authority has!
You cannot sell pencils to any public authority unless you are a bona fide company and the product is of an acceptable standard yet you can house vulnerable men women and children in a sub-standard death trap and be assured of public monies being paid for that!