NO DSS signs for SOCIAL landlords … and deluded ignorant housing people

From today all social landlords will have no option but to refuse to allocate new tenancies to the benefit household.  That means housing association and council landlords and I stress that they will have no option but to refuse meaning it is not their fault … yet the deluded and ignorant in housing believe I said otherwise and have reared their ugly heads as per usual without putting their brain into gear!

Plus ca change!

Get over it deluded housing people this is not about YOU!!

Here I say why and how a HA Chief Executive is ignorant of the policy, why and how a policy analyst for a HA is also deluded and ignorant; and how and why another consultant is also ignorant and deluded despite promoting himself and his company as an expert in these matters.

Yet let’s start with what the issues are.

The lack of affordability created by the overall benefit cap and the detail of that I posted here 24 hours ago is the principal issue.

The table below provides factual detail of how much housing benefit each household type will receive as the maximum weekly amount across England, Scotland & Wales.

Nobody disputes these amounts because they are facts as benefit levels are the same across the country and their aggregate depends on the household composition.

obc-november-2016

As you can see if you read right to left across Type “O” above which is the “2 Parent 3 Child” household on JSA the maximum amount of housing benefit they can now receive is £50.68 per week.  If that same household receives ESA as is shown in Type “P” they will only get £21.63 per week in housing benefit in the regions.

These figures you can confirm with any benefit calculator and the DWP’s own calculator and we know they are accurate as the ‘welfare’ rights are the same for everyone in the UK as they are national figures.

It is the impacts and consequences of these undeniable facts that is the issue and while this will affect existing tenants it is the impact on prospective social housing tenants that is the real issue of critical and significant importance.

Each year social landlords issue an average of 385,000 new tenancies as the official figures show as circa 9% of existing tenants leave for whatever reasons and are replaced by new tenants.

My argument is that a high percentage of these 385,000 social housing tenancies will be DENIED to the benefit household and directly due to the reduced benefit cap which means that the couple with three children will only receive £50 per week in housing benefit and the three bed property they are entitled to has an average social housing rent of £100 per week – which again official figures demonstrate.

In short will the council or housing association allocate a property to this household knowing that they will only receive £50 in HB to set against a rent of £100?

The answer to that has to be NO.

All social landlords can refuse to accommodate and in the circumstances above I have no doubt whatsoever that they will refuse to accommodate.  It would be financial madness for them to accommodate and would threaten their viability as a business.

We also know from another set of official figures that social landlords housing stock sees 36% being the 3 bed and larger property and so, statistically, this suggests that 36% of the 385,000 new tenancies issued each year will be 3 bed or larger properties or circa 140,000.  These are the social landlord properties that the benefit household can no longer afford due to the swingeing cuts to HB in the overall benefit cap policy.

I now turn to the usual naysayers who immediately label every post I write about social housing and housing benefit as scaremongering.  These fit into three broad types who have all been spouting their denying nonsense today on social media.

First we have the housing association chief executive and this time in Scotland who posted this on Twitter this morning.

obcdeniermikebruce

Yes it IS true Mike as the overall benefit cap policy is UK benefit policy and does therefore apply in Scotland and the rest of the UK.  While Scotland (and Wales) have powers over housing policy that allows you in Scotland to be considering a 3%+ rent increase, housing benefit policy and welfare benefit policy applies to you in Scotland.

Regrettably, you are clearly unaware of this and how this will affect your 2353 properties of which 47% are the 3 bed or larger type (4 apartment) and so your statistical number of new properties each year will be 212 on average of which 100 will typically be 3 bed or larger.  So prospective social tenants for your estimated 100 new 3 bed and larger tenancies will see the couple with three children only get £50 per week in HB – or £21 per week if they are on ESA – and will be way below the 3 bed rent level you charge.

Will your HA allocate to them knowing this or will it refuse to Mike?

The next type of naysayer is the policy analyst for Family Mosaic a large housing association based mainly in London and who typifies the London centric view that predominates English housing thought which in this case is extremely errant.  Reuben says in a comment below my post of yesterday:

obcdenier-reuben

Reuben makes the mistakes of (a) not actually reading the post and (b) the hugely errant assumption that the benefit-capped household is able to take up employment.

If he had read the post he would see the illustrative example I included on Liverpool which before the reduced benefit cap applied had a combined £7 million per year HB cut from bedroom tax (£6.7m) and from benefit cap (£0.3m) and has a £2 million per year DHP allocation.  Now after the benefit cap cut Liverpool has a £14 million pa cut with £6.7m still from bedroom tax but now a £7.7 million HB cut in the benefit cap and up £7.4 million per year.

Liverpool thus has the same £2 million per year DHP pot to now meet over £14m of HB cut and more than double the amount it had before.  Thus chances of a DHP that were just 28% before now reduces to 13%.

Yet the really ignorant assumption and especially for a policy analyst is the presumption that those who are capped can work when less than 14% of them are classed as fit and ready to work by virtue of receiving JSA … you really would expect a policy analyst to know that this is what the official DWP figures say!!

The vast majority of capped households are not ready to work and they are unable to work (at least immediately) as they are (a) in receipt of ESA that means expected to work in up to two years if they receive support or (b) not expected to work as they have preschool age children …and both groupings will still have the swingeing benefit cap cuts applied.

Reuben old chap, yes you The Reuben Young as you self-title yourself, her are the DWP’s figures from Table 6 of the latest benefit cap data

obcdenierjsa

Perhaps instead of spitting your dummy out of your pram and in labelling everything I say as scaremongering and I say it only because I see housing associations as ‘evil’ you should actually do the job of analysis for which you are paid for!

I will of course stand corrected if you can provide evidence of Family Mosaic issuing new three bed tenancies to benefit tenants in Basildon who only receive £50.68 per week in housing benefit against your average social rent level for a 3 bed there of £139.93 per week and a mere £89.25 per week shortfall and risk to arrears of £4,653 per year.  Of course I am presuming that Family Mosaic still operate social rent levels and haven’t converted them all to the affordable (sic) rent level that will see a much higher shortfall and risk to arrears.

The third type of naysayer we can call the consultants who totally missed this and here I cite Bill Irvine who says on the Property Tribes website here that

obcdenierbillirvine

You see reader I am “alarmist” and should be ignored sayeth Bill Irvine … who then goes on to substantiate his view in reference to EXISTING tenants and not to prospectives ones that my post was all about.  And while I do not necessarily disagree with him that social landlords will do their utmost to help EXISTING tenants this is not the point of argument at all!

[I also suggest Bill Irvine reads the same factual issues as to who is affected and the problems of employment take-up for the 86%+ of benefit-capped households I stated above to The Reuben Young!]

I say very clearly that social landlords will refuse to accommodate the Simpsons (2 parents 3 child) household because they will only receive a maximum of £50 per week in housing benefit which is a financial risk too far for all social landlords given the average weekly 3 bed social rent level in the regions of £94 for councils, £104 for housing associations and £100 per week overall average – and these official figures were included and referenced in my post.

In summary these three types of naysayer have not looked at those pesky things called facts and instead have relied upon presumptions and ignorance and a total non-consideration of how the overall benefit cap affects those pesky tenants they all refer to as customers!  When you have no idea of how changes in HB entitlements affect your ‘customers’ you should all refrain from commenting on my analysis or that of others who do correctly analyse the facts and present cogent analyses based on such facts.

One final point I missed out from my post yesterday – and which had over 200,000 views in its first 24 hours – was while I criticised political parties for failing to challenge the overall benefit cap policy and social landlords for doing the same inactions and with evidence to support both, I did not criticise the related lobbies who also failed to see the overall benefit cap impacts and especially on prospective social housing tenants.

So all of the policy wonks in Shelter and other homeless lobbies missed this as did all the poverty lobbies in the like of JRF et al, as did all the child poverty lobbied such as CPAG, as indeed did all the children’s lobbies such as Save the Children and others.  As did all the usual national press such as the Guardian which still concentrate on private landlords saying NO DSS but say nothing about social landlords HAVING to say NO DSS and even the House of Commons Library team who published a research report in December 2016 saying can private landlords refuse to accept benefit tenants while giving no thought or commentary whatsoever to whether social landlords could … which they can!

HOW they could all have missed this glaring and bloody obvious inevitability of social landlords refusing to accommodate and the truly horrendous impacts this will have on homelessness and on child poverty and on local authority budgets simply beggars belief!

Yet those impacts and consequences WILL happen as they are inevitable and it is the end of the social housing model as I titled my post because social landlords will – and rightly so – refuse to accept those most in housing need because the overall benefit cap policy means that they have NO CHOICE!

So if you still wish to think of me as scare monger then so be it – yet that reflects more on your delusion and ignorance and your unwillingness to see the bloody and inevitable obvious.

This is also not about ME!  You can also choose to believe that I am whatever arrogant conceited smart Alec or dystopian scaremonger or whatever else.  You may also take offence at the way I write in an in-your-face style or whatever you choose to call it.

This issue and policy fucks over the most vulnerable in society and irreparably damages the life chances of children which is directly targets and it dismantles one-fifth of the 1948 Welfare State as it decimates the social housing model created in it to destroy the giant of squalor … and you have all missed it in your conceit and ignorance and perceived self-importance … that you now wish to pass the buck for.  It is your egos that replicate Trump not mine!

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14 thoughts on “NO DSS signs for SOCIAL landlords … and deluded ignorant housing people

  1. Joe, in previous articles you’ve stated that while social landlords and housing associations have no legal obligation to house people, Councils definitely do have a legal obligation to do so. My question is: are the Councils aware that this is happening; that they are about to have to deal with the fallout from this and the significant dent in their budgets it will make?

    1. Neil – you are conflating two issues which is easy to do. A councils housing department CAN refuse to accommodate a prospective tenant on grounds of affordability. As such there is no duty on a council landlord
      It is the councils homeless department who then has the legal duty to re-house and that duty comes from the homeless parts (VI & VII) of the 1996 Housing Act.
      As I have said in previous posts this means in practical terms that a family CAN be refused council housing by a council landlord only to walk along the corridor of the same building to the councils homeless department who then have the only duty to re-house

      1. Ah sorry, I meant the homeless department. Just wondering how quickly and badly the shit could hit the fan on this one. Very few people seem to have picked up on the issue and I’m concerned that the councils are included in that and are going to get hit by a massive increase in costs they weren’t expecting.

      2. I’m aware that some LA’s know of the impacts on them and have for some time. Yet I can only suggest that all LAs are playing down the issue so as NOT to raise awareness which would see a huge surge in DHP demand.
        Also aware that many LAs taking the position that they will pay benefit cap DHPs from now till end of March and somehow find the additional money to do that …. yet they have no idea what the hell they will or even can do come April when the new financial year starts.

  2. It is shocking that this legislation is leaving families in such a predicament, and that they are only above to turn to the homeless units, costing the local authorities huge sums of money and leaving them in substandard accommodation to the detriment of their health. It makes us feel helpless and sad so what can we do to help?

    1. To answer your question directly: …

      Ram this factual argument down the throats of all 650 MPs in the House of Commons of whom precisely zero saw the bloody obvious impacts I describe.

      At the same time …
      (a) do the same for every local councillor and every related lobby in homelessness and poverty and child poverty and children’s issues, and;
      (b) down the throats of every commentator and media source who also missed it

      Failing that you could apply for the remaking of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as the Childcatcher …

      Oh I almost forgot, ram it down the same throats of those who agree with the benefit scrounger narrative as they are likely to be home owners who will also see that their council taxes rocket to pay for this multi-million increase in LA expenditure and for who the bin collections have moved to once a month to pay for and their libraries close because of …

    1. Yes 100% agree.

      However councils do no have the funding to do this from DHP as my Liverpool example explains.

      (a) DHP pot of £2m per annum allocated
      (b) combined bedroom tax (£6.7m) and benefit cap (£0.3m) HB cut was £7m
      (c) after benefit cap cuts this becomes same bedroom tax cut of £6.7m yet the benefit cap HB cut increases from £0.3m to become £7.7m and a combined cut of £14.4m

      Every LA is allowed to put a further 150% to the DHP allocated by government but no more. So Liverpool City Council could add £3m pa to their £2m DHP allocation to make a maximum DHP post of £5m.

      Yet that £5m now has to deal with a £14.4m problem and thus £9.9m short when prior to benefit cap cut LCC had £2m to deal with a £7m cut and £5m short in their DHP pot.

      Ergo – they cannot do this and LCC in the above example even if they can find £3m from other budgets to supplement its DHP allocation is still £5m more short than it was before the reduced benefit cap.

      As I keep saying, number unlike politicians do not lie!

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