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Housing Benefit Cuts Will 'push Poor Out Of South', Experts Warn

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/nov/08/housing-benefit-north-south-divide

Large swaths of southern England will become off limits to housing benefit recipients in a little more than a decade because of the government's proposed plans to cut welfare bills – triggering a huge migration of the poor to the north – according to a study by housing experts.

The work, by the Chartered Institute of Housing, shows that before 2025 rents on most two-bedroom properties in the south will become unaffordable to those claiming local housing allowance.

Within 15 years, much of London's commuter belt will become too expensive for the state to pay for the poor to live in. Towns such as Chelmsford, Newbury, Bath and Maidstone would be no-go areas for those on benefits and all of Hertfordshire would be out of bounds. The capital would be unaffordable within a decade.

The findings reinforce concerns expressed today by Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury. Williams attacked the government's welfare plans, saying he was particularly concerned about the cuts in housing benefit.

"My worry there is that people's housing is part of their sense of stability, part of their sense of having a secure future, and I'm also a bit worried about the way in which this could lead to a kind of social zoning, where middle-class areas get more solidly middle class and other people are pushed out to the edge," he said in an interview with the BBC.

Williams also said he had "a lot of worries" about the government's plans, due to be spelled out this week, to force the long-term unemployed to do four weeks of unpaid work. He said: "People who are struggling to find work and struggling to find a secure future are, I think, driven further into a downward spiral of uncertainty, even despair, when the pressure is on in that way."

Before a parliamentary debate on the proposed changes to housing benefit, campaigners argue the debate has focused too much on the capital and the possible effect of "cleansing" its centre of the poor. This has eclipsed the bigger cuts affecting families up and down the country.

Sam Lister, head of policy at the housing institute, said the result would see the poor forced out of their homes, from "where the jobs are in the south to where there are far fewer [jobs] in the north".

The changes aim to force benefit recipients to rely on income rather than the state to meet housing needs. However, Lister said the "perhaps unintended consequences" of relocating thousands would undermine any idea that welfare reform will make it easier to find work.

"Basically if you draw a line from the Wash [in East Anglia] to the Severn [at the Bristol Channel] that would be a southern England in 10-15 years where rents are simply unaffordable [for] those living on housing benefits. You then get people forced to move from where the jobs are to where there are far fewer.

"It's making worklessness worse. It's not relieving it."

The findings show starkly how the three main reforms suggested by the government combine to sharply limit the amount of housing available to the poor.

Because rents rise at an average of 5% a year, the government ceiling of £250 a week housing benefit for a two-bedroom home would be quickly reached in many parts of the south. This is exacerbated by the allowances being scaled back by pegging them to the bottom third of rents in any borough and increasing the subsidies only in line with consumer price inflation.

"The government keeps saying that landlords will drop their rents, but there is no evidence for that," said Lister. "What we will see is the south of the country becoming just unaffordable and people forced to move out so far it becomes impossible to travel in to areas where there is work."

Karen Buck, shadow minister for work and pensions, said that the work echoed a study by Cambridge University in September that showed by 2018 only 5% of two-bedroom dwellings will remain affordable to those claiming housing benefit in Manchester. "This shows the share of properties available to those on housing allowance shrinks far faster than the government wants you to believe. Ten of thousands of households will experience real pain."

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said tonight that it was trying to deal with the "problem now, not in 10 years' time or in the future". "For example, no one predicted the 80% growth in housing benefit over the last decade. We want to deal with today's issues."

She added that it was the government's plan not to concentrate jobs in the south and that people would be able to move to find work in other parts of the country. "This is why it is important to invest in the economy and grow jobs across the UK."

The department also released figures showing that private rents fell by 5% between November 2008 and February 2010, while housing benefit rents went up by 3%. "It is clear that housing benefit rents are rising faster than the market," said the welfare minister, Lord Freud. "Private sector landlords are taking advantage of a system that's clearly out of control."

Charities are also warning of the dramatic impact on livelihoods of the cuts. Shelter, the housing charity, today produced research showing that almost a third of councils outside the capital will have households facing losses of more than £50 a month following the cuts.

Almost 780,000 people outside London who receive local housing allowance in the private rented sector will lose out.

Of 283 local authorities outside the capital, 81 will see two-bedroom households in their area lose an average of £50 or more, while 156 will see households losing an average of more than £30 a month when the rate at which local housing allowance is paid is cut from October next year.

The impact will be felt in every region across the country. In Manchester recipients will lose £61 a month, while in the north-east households in Newcastle will see a drop of £43.

Some of the worst hit live in the south-east. The loss in Cambridge is estimated at £100 a month, while those in Brighton and Hove and Woking will lose £69.

Shelter's chief executive, Campbell Robb, said such losses represent "huge amounts" to some of the poorest people in Britain.

"Imagine if you are on jobseeker's allowance of just £65 a week or a pensioner surviving on £98 a week, or those on the minimum wage of £218 a week. These losses represent a significant proportion of their income. They will really struggle to find the extra money they will need to keep a roof over their head."

"The focus of debate so far has been the cap to housing benefit and the impact on London, but this analysis shows that these cuts will affect hundreds of thousands of people across the country."

Tomorrow, MPs will vote on the housing benefit changes in a debate staged by Labour. Several Lib Dems have spoken out about the plans, but most are not expected to vote with Labour because they are critical of its record on housing.

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Housing Benefit Cuts Will 'push Poor Out Of South', Experts Warn

And high house prices won't? We can't afford to live in the town where my partner grew up and we both work hard for our money. Why should lazy scum who can't be bothered to work be able to live where they want?

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And high house prices won't? We can't afford to live in the town where my partner grew up and we both work hard for our money. Why should lazy scum who can't be bothered to work be able to live where they want?

The crazy thing is in the strange parallel universe we've been moved into some time a fortnight ago, people who make remarks like you have are considered nasty, probably racist, certainly a right wing extremist, maybe sexist etc etc .... for saying something that used to be considered the accepted common sense point.

Jack it in mate and live of the state for a few years its the only way forward!

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Alternatively rents could fall.

Nah! That's silly. Rents can't fall and nor can house prices.

yep, how can we keep people housed if we arent all given money to afford the rising rents.

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 I don't see any problem with this either.

Either the market is left to work, in which case the tendency is is for rents to be kept lower as we don't have the effect of LHA or HB subsidising landlords, or we just pour a load of public money into the system which allows landlords to charge higher rents.

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North / South divide.. Cool.. can the South have it's own government like Scotland and Wales please !

It already does - Westminster. If you'd said could the North & Midlands have their own government it would make more sense.

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The findings reinforce concerns expressed today by Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury. Williams attacked the government's welfare plans, saying he was particularly concerned about the cuts in housing benefit.

When is somebody going to stand up and and be honest about this?

The government is funding BTL portfolios and directly paying the mortgages of wealthy property investors. They have said they will continue to do this, but will set a generous upper limit on the amount they will give to rich people by this mechanism. Why do we get church and civic leaders comparing this to genocide and ethnic cleansing? In funding the private rented sector the government have created a monster that they have to keep on feeding. They are belatedly proposing that it goes on a bit of a diet.

It is crazy that the State is paying the mortgages of around 5 million houses, but will have no equity in them, no control, no stake. This really is a case of renting being dead money.

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All this is nonsense.

The only thing that can - must - happen is that rents will fall.

Any economy has higher paid and lower paid people. There has to be a service industry for society to perform. There are office cleaners, Mcdonalds workers, cafe owners, burger stalls, builders, street cleaners. In short, all the jobs that need local people. You cannot have an economy (well, in the UK anyway) where everybody has the same disposable income.

There are nicer houses/areas, and there are less nice houses/areas.

Rents are driven to levels that people can afford, either by themselves or with aid.

It makes sense that those with less money don't live in the nicer houses / better areas. If they did, what is there to aspire to? what would be the point in working and trying to better things fou you and your family?

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On a different tack, is it fair that families that are trying to better themselves are made to live in less nice areas to allow the unemployed to live there?

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All this is nonsense.

The only thing that can - must - happen is that rents will fall.

Any economy has higher paid and lower paid people. There has to be a service industry for society to perform. There are office cleaners, Mcdonalds workers, cafe owners, burger stalls, builders, street cleaners. In short, all the jobs that need local people. You cannot have an economy (well, in the UK anyway) where everybody has the same disposable income.

There are nicer houses/areas, and there are less nice houses/areas.

Rents are driven to levels that people can afford, either by themselves or with aid.

It makes sense that those with less money don't live in the nicer houses / better areas. If they did, what is there to aspire to? what would be the point in working and trying to better things fou you and your family?

Are rents going to fall, with all the imigration, it just seems common place now for five unrelated people to live in one house, its getting like the 19th century again.

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 I don't see any problem with this either.

Either the market is left to work, in which case the tendency is is for rents to be kept lower as we don't have the effect of LHA or HB subsidising landlords, or we just pour a load of public money into the system which allows landlords to charge higher rents.

And why would you see a problem? It doesn't affect you... yet.

Yes, the market's just great until it leads to unemployed IT workers.

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The way to deal with this is to reform the institution of real estate so it works in the general interests of human beings rather than act as a welfare system for the rich. This is not what will happen though; in fact, i predict that just about everything else will be changed in order to accommodate and keep a distorting and abusive real estate ‘market’ unreformed and in place

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Buggrit. I was driven out of southeast England 25 years ago because I couldn't afford to live there. Moving to Bristol I could afford a room in a decent house (albeit in a cheap area of the city), and shortly afterwards moving to Germany I could afford rent on a whole flat!

If they push the pressure outward I won't be able to afford to live here, either! :o Unless perhaps they were stop taking most of my hard-earned in tax ('cos of me being a top 1-2% earner) and pouring it in to inflating housing :huh:

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When is somebody going to stand up and and be honest about this?

....

Not in my lifetime.

Look at all the nutters on here banging on about people with no jobs. HB is paid to the retired and the working poor, but let's gloss over that shall we and be a bit more Daily Mail in our bigotry. Getting housing costs back into line with earnings is the priority.

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Newsflash.

Recent research has shown that non affluent members of the population cant afford the houses/cars/lifestyles as affluent members of the population.

Who knew?

Edited by Coldberry

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Not in my lifetime.

Look at all the nutters on here banging on about people with no jobs. HB is paid to the retired and the working poor, but let's gloss over that shall we and be a bit more Daily Mail in our bigotry. Getting housing costs back into line with earnings is the priority.

Housing benefit should be for the unemployed.

Retired people should have their pensions (private or public), and the "working poor" shouldn'[t be getting benefits (except in certain obvious exceptions).

Thinking that benefits - housing or otherwise - are normal and should be protected seems to me to be the odd position.

Calling people bigoted I don't think helps this discussion - do you?

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In summary, people that don't work won't be able to afford the same lifestyle as those that do work. dry.gif

Yes you are right , as it is now working people cannot afford the the lifestyle of the unemployed,

We need to get the incentive to work back in this country.

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  • 152 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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      • Even
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      • up 5%



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