Where will they live is a question that needs to be on everyone’s lips as the cheapest form of rented accommodation in council housing is becoming unaffordable.
The latest chapter of an extremely disturbing trend in Enfield I was directed to this morning with many similarities to Slough Council I reported on earlier this week entitled No Job No Council House and that is the central issue – and also means Lose Job Lose Council House when we delve a bit deeper in the reality of the governments overall benefit cap policy.
The above explains the issue. Enfield council (Labour run just like Slough) has decided to increase its council house rents and in huge percentage terms due to, it claims, the Tory government policy of a 1% rent reduction each year.
Rent increases of over 50% in Enfield and over 100% in Slough and in response to one government policy in the imposed 1% per year rent reduction. Yet what this does is exacerbate another government imposed policy of the overall benefit cap cut of 11.5% in Enfield and 23% in Slough and means – that an existing council tenant who does not work – including those sick and disabled- or loses their job will be evicted as Housing Benefit will not cover the rent.
The overall benefit cap policy means No Job No Council House and means Lose Job Lose Your Council House.
What then is the purpose of council housing?
No Job No House – sees 16% of existing benefit capped households include tenants who are in receipt of what was formerly Incapacity Benefit – now ESA (wrag) – or in short those unable to work. It also sees almost 2 in every 3 capped households as those not expected to work that I accurately use to describe lone parents with pre-school age children.
Lose Job Lose House is also what the benefit cap means. You are exempt if and only if (a) you have 12 months of continuous employment before you lose your job AND (b) if losing that job was not your fault.
I cannot find any precise definition of continuous employment anywhere and yet it must mean a break of employment of just one day in the past year means you are liable for the £433.45 per month cut in Housing Benefit as the Enfield case above outlines.
How many people have zero hour contracts or other insecure employment or who dip in an out of work due to often very necessary reasons?
Does continuous employment mean full time work, part-time work, enough income to meet working tax credit thresholds or does it mean 1 hour per week of voluntary work?
What does the threat of £433.45 per month HB cuts and inevitable eviction and homelessness do to employer employee relations? Will all workers be sh*t-scared to refuse any unreasonable demand from their employer?
I was alerted to the Enfield outrage earlier today on Twitter
Paul works for Unite, the union that most housing workers belong to, and the questions I raise above about “continuous” employment are matters that every Trades Union needs to consider very urgently as the reduced Overall Benefit Cap begins in 10 day time and any workers will be shit-scared in the workplace as losing a job can easily and very quickly means losing the roof over their children’s heads.
Quite who decides whether someone has lost their job by their own fault and takes that highly subjective decision to apply the Benefit Cap that evicts and makes a former worker homeless ….?
What if a worker is sacked and the DWP and local council is told this, the Benefit Cap is applies and eviction and homelessness takes place … yet the employee goes to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal with a complaint that is upheld?
All of the above Benefit Cap implications for those in employment – and they are just some of the issues and far from inclusive – I have given little consideration to before today and I have focused my research on the additional minimum 400,000 children this policy will evict and make homeless
These are children in families who are not in employment such as those cohorts I describe above of unable to work and not expected to work and the 7.5% of current capped households in receipt of Carers Allowance, who will become exempt from the reduced cap yet have been subject to it since 2013 despite being unable to work being a criterion for claiming it in the first place!
Yet more importantly the major question remains of where will those hit by the cap possibly live? The only answer is that temporary homeless accommodation will become permanent temporary homeless accommodation – a huge cost in financial terms to local councils and a truly unacceptable irreparable damage to the life chances of at least 400,000 children who the Tories are making pay for the sins of their parents.
From the cradle to the cradle in the dingy B&B and to an earlier grave is now what the reality of slaying the giant of squalor now means for the housing pillar of the 1948 Welfare State…