Benefit Cap – What planet do deluded MP’s live on?


A House of Commons briefing paper released a few days ago asked “Can PRIVATE landlords refuse to let to Housing Benefit claimants?  It’s the wrong question and why did they not ask …

Can SOCIAL landlords refuse to let to Housing Benefit claimants

…. as that is precisely what is happening right now and will become the norm due to the Overall Benefit Cap (OBC) policy.

On Monday it reduces by £500 per calendar month outside of London (£25 per month in London) and it means ALL social landlords, that’s council and housing association landlords WILL refuse to house the Housing Benefit claimant in at least 36% of their properties.

The 36% is the number of 3 bed and larger sized properties across social housing that means the benefit tenant can’t afford the rent and the social landlord can’t afford the benefit tenant


The figures are unaffordable and these will apply to existing tenants subject to the benefit cap AND all new or prospective tenants. Yet future tenants get no discussion in the risible and very last-minute rush of commentators discussing the overall benefit cap.

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) put out their view which said 116,000 households will be affected and every newspaper runs with that figure.  Oh dear – the CIH said 116,000 households with 1 to 4 children would be affected and that is not the total figure.  To that we need to add the households with 5+ children (already 6,725 and the single person households (currently over 6%) to arrive at a true number – and then there’s the flaws in the CIH analysis of the 116,000 figure which I explained here.


The reduced OBC will affect around 66,000 existing social households putting them at acute risk of eviction and homelessness; however, what is far greater is that the OBC will deny a minimum of 104,000 new and prospective or future benefit families from being allocated social housing each year.

In short social landlords will refuse to house 104,000 families per year because they are on Housing Benefit and precisely what MPs failed to look at and the HoC Library failed to look at too!  Quite where such benefit tenant families will live is another question entirely!

The 104,000 figure?

  • There are 385,000 new social housing allocations per year.
  • 75% of social housing tenants receive Housing Benefit (289,000 per year)
  • 36% of social housing is the financially toxic 3 bed+ properties that the benefit tenant cannot afford and the landlord cannot afford, and
  • 36% of 289,000 is 104,000

So we see that the OBC affects a much higher number of future tenants than it does for existing tenants – about 58% more – and given more existing families will be evicted each year it means more new tenancies will be created each year so the 104,000 figure will increase.

Anyone who thinks the OBC is just an attack on existing benefit tenants is very much mistaken yet that is how and only how it is being viewed.

As I said a few days ago the OBC makes over 50% of all social housing properties in Merseyside no go zones for the benefit tenant as the 3 bed and larger properties make up more than 50% of all social housing across Merseyside.

The policy saves no money and in fact it costs more (see below) and the government have known for over 5 years that it costs more and it directly increases homelessness.

Yet government like to say it incentivises work which is superficial nonsense and further assumes that capped families are ready and able to work which is most certainly NOT the case and which the Tory government know full well as their official figures reveal below.


As you can see there are just 14.56% of all capped households being unemployed (ie receiving JSA) and ready and able to work.  There are more capped households in receipt of ESA which is the social security benefit formerly called Incapacity Benefit.

The ESA cohort are people who could work in up to two years providing they get support to gain and sustain employment and they are therefore not available immediately to work at all.  However they will receive the average weekly cut in Housing Benefit of £76 per week until they DO secure employment – assuming they will not be evicted for arrears before they do – which is likely to be the case.

A totally different factual situation from the Benefit Street narrative with which we have been brainwashed from government!

The rest of the current capped households are households with children of preschool age and who are not expected to work yet who will have to work in order to escape the £76 per week and £330 per month cut to their Housing Benefit.

Anyone know of any plans to create 400,000 or so additional child care places it would need for these families to go out to work to escape the policy? Ah!

This policy also means if mum gives birth in the morning she needs to go out to work in the afternoon – sutures and all – else the benefit cap kicks in and mum and the kids will soon be in the dingy B&B called temporary homeless accommodation – damp and cockroaches and all …

Unsurprisingly the great British public think this overall benefit cap policy is wonderful as they believe the superficial bull that the government has been telling them about the policy.  The policy is about fairness they say, blah blah blah


72% public approval rating and 61% approve the swingeing cut of £500 per month that will see circa 158,000 families at acute and immediate risk of eviction and homelessness … with the 523,000 children they contain.  What a caring lot we Brits all are eh!

I wonder how any of the great British public will act with outrage that this year’s Shelter campaign will say there are over 100,000 children homeless at Christmas 2016 yet not realise this OBC policy they think is wonderful will mean that at Christmas 2017 that figure could easily be 500,000 or even more?

The policy does not even save a penny either as the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) say it and the other major cuts in Housing Benefit of the bedroom tax, LHA cap and SAR cap actually cost over £1,000,000,000 MORE per year – That’s over a BILLION pounds more per year in Housing Benefit and in real terms too!

The IFS figures from Jan 2015:


Still struggling reader with how cuts and caps in HB lead to an increase in cost of HB or have you just given up trying to fathom and believe the sh*te you have been fed about it?

The government hope you have and the Tories knew it was going to cost more and that it would increase homelessness before they implemented the policy as the ‘Pickles Letter’ reveals:


This was a letter from Eric Pickles private secretary to Cameron’s private secretary in July 2011.  The overall benefit cap policy began in 2013 so the Tories knew it would cost more in HB and not save a penny and it would increase homelessness too for two years before they implemented it!

Ooh they kept that quiet didn’t they …!

The housing benefit bill has increased in real terms despite the cuts in bedroom tax and OBC and homelessness has seen huge increases and the massive 23% cuts to the OBC level from this Monday will see homelessness increase by 300%, 400% or even 500%

That much?

You can bet your shirt that the private landlords will evict post haste the anticipated 92,000 households hit by the OBC in the private rented sector and these households will have over 300,000 children in them.

That posit is so obvious, inevitable and simple that even a Member of Parliament can understand it! Yes even a Tory MP gets that the private landlord will evict tenants who cannot afford the rent!

So why do these politicians believe that evicting 300,000 children just from the private rented sector is a good thing? Could it be that they are not informed by the usually excellent House of Commons Library on this bloody obvious issue?


It is rare that the HoC Library misses out such an obvious issue but not that MPs (of all parties) miss this issue and have done because they frankly couldn’t be arsed looking at what the policy means by way of impact and consequence.

That point is ultimately proven when this week in the Guardian we have a ‘solution’ according to Frank Field MP who chairs the all party committee on Work and Pensions who says that councils should give all benefit capped households 16 hour per week jobs so they can avoid the benefit cap!

Oh dear!

Frank, as only 1 in 7 capped households are in receipt of JSA and available to work, this must mean that you do not have any grasp at all of who is affected and that 6 in every 7 cannot readily start work and you obviously do not have a bloody clue what the impacts are of this ideological bullshit policy called the overall benefit cap.

Neither for that matter do your colleagues on that Work & Pensions Committee as this is what will happen in their constituencies and something I sent you over a year ago.


But hey Frank I will reproduce your letter below just so everyone knows what an incompetent buffoon you are when it comes to ‘welfare’ as you seem to think that all capped households can start work tomorrow and child care places magically appear out of the ether;  and those who are on what we used to call Incapacity Benefit can magically get better just as your former constituency neighbour Esther McVey said they could when she was the Minister for Disability!

Oh and how lovely you call your constituents the vulnerable underbelly … and your ‘solution’ says that “… people who move into part-time work gain automatic exemption from the cap


Can you tell me where that is in the regulations and legislation? What about those single parents who work less than 16 hours per week? How about the couples who work less than 30 hours per week? … You care to go back and check you claims Frank Field?

How nice you appear to be putting the blame on local authorities too! You care to elaborate what happens after this 6-month placement ends? Are you sure you haven’t rejoined the Conservative Party of which you were a card-carrying ember in your youth Frank?

Is this what you call opposition as let’s not forget you are a part of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition and the government you should be opposing is directly making thousands of children homeless in your local council area with the OBC and 85% of their parents are not ready and able to take up employment to avoid those children paying for these ‘sins’ of their parents.

Do enjoy reading the solution from the esteemed Frank Field MP reader:


You take offence at my calling MPs deluded? Oh come on let’s be Frank


104,000 households that will on average contain 1.31 adults and 3.34 children that’s 483,600 men women and children refused per year by social landlords all down to the Benefit Cap – a city the size of Liverpool.  That’s over half a million fewer HB households per parliamentary term.

Anyone got any idea why CIH says its just 2.75 children per household in their 116,000 being 319,000 children?

Here’s what the DWPs claimed actual scan said for Leeds that I reported on and the actual figures DWP gave to Leeds City Council of 3.69 children per household


The average for Leeds was 3.69 children per household which will be 34% more children affected than the CIH claim – their 319,000 children from their risible 116,000 estimate would be 428,000 which is an additional 109,000 more children.

Oh dear I must be going all dystopian again mustn’t I – boy are these facts pesky!




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