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Kensington And Chelsea Council Statement On Housing Benefit

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Wow, I was doing some research and I came across this unbelievably honest page on the Kensington and Chelsea council website ...

http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/newsroom/councilstatements/statementonhousingbenefit.aspx

Housing Benefit story in national media

It has been reported in the media that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is paying as much as £2000 per week in housing benefit to one household. To protect the right of privacy of our residents we will not comment on any particular case, but we have prepared some information to answer the questions that residents and journalists might have.

1. What is the Council’s reaction to this story?

2. Why are we paying so much?

3. Does this happen only in Kensington and Chelsea?

4. Could the Council refuse to pay?

5. Why do we pay people who used to live somewhere else?

6. How do the newspapers know who is receiving benefit?

7. When are the rules changing?

1. What is the Council’s reaction to this story?

We have been saying for some years now that the way in which the maximum levels of housing benefit is calculated is flawed and we welcome the new Government’s changes which begin next year. The money that many families claim for housing in the capital and elsewhere is an example of an unreasonably generous benefits system which is open to abuse. Huge sums of money are paid for some families to live a way which is beyond the means of most working families.

Although we administer housing benefit, it is a national scheme funded by the Government with limits based on the average rents in each area. So long as a household meets the eligibility criteria, benefit has to be awarded, up to the maximum set by the Government based on the size of the accommodation the household need. Full details of this scheme can be seen at LHA Direct

2. Why are we paying so much?

As described above, the maximum levels of benefit are set by the Government. For each size of accommodation in each area, the Government calculate the median rent and tells local Councils to pay anything up to that level. This is explained further at LHA Direct

3. Does this happen only in Kensington and Chelsea?

No, this is a national scheme. However central London does have the highest rents. The London Central Rent Area covers most of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and parts of Hammersmith and Fulham, Wandsworth, Westminster, Camden, Islington, Hackney, City of London and Tower Hamlets. Maps of this and all other Rent Areas can be seen at LHA Direct

4. Could the Council refuse to pay?

No. We are obliged to follow the rules set by the Department for Work and Pensions. We check people’s entitlement carefully before paying.

5. Why do we pay people who used to live somewhere else?

There are many eligibility rules but a previous connection with a precise area is not one of them.

6. How do the newspapers know who is receiving benefit?

The Council will not tell the media anything about an individual claim; we do not know how journalists find families. Any family uncomfortable with media attention may refuse to answer questions.

7. When are the rules changing?

We expect changes from April 2011. The unreasonable levels of benefit being paid under this scheme were noted by the Chancellor in his budget speech on 22 June. He said:

“Spending on housing benefit has risen from £14 billion ten years ago to £21 billion today. That is close to a 50 per cent increase over and above inflation. Costs are completely out of control. We now spend more on housing benefit than we do on the police and on universities combined. And among these enormous numbers for total spending there are some equally enormous individual awards. Today there are some families receiving £104,000 a year in housing benefit. The cost of that single award is equivalent to the total income tax and national insurance paid by 16 working people on median incomes.

"It is clear that the system of housing benefit is in dire need for reform. We will do that by:

re-setting and restricting Local Housing Allowances

up-rating deductions

reducing certain awards

re-adjusting Support for Mortgage Interest payments

limiting social tenants’ entitlement to appropriately sized homes

and, lastly, we will for the first time introduce maximum limits on housing benefit – from £280* a week for a one-bedroom property to £400 a week for a four-bedroom or larger.

"Our package today reduces the costs of Housing Benefit by £1.8 billion a year by the end of the Parliament, or 7 per cent of the total budget. It will also improve incentives to work. But at the same time we will target more resources to those who need it most, by increasing the budget for Discretionary Housing Payments, to deal with hardship cases, by £40m.”

* The £280 figure was an error; the one-bedroom figure will be £250.

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I thought that buying votes went out in the 18th Century but here we have the Labour Party using taxpayer`s money to give it`s supporters hefty wedges of cash. Surely it should be illegal to obtain a financial advantage by voting for a particular party, the Government should set standards of behaviour only

http://en.wikipedia....Electoral_fraud

Nope doesn't go to the claimants. It goes to the landlords, and in many cases to the banks.

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I thought that buying votes went out in the 18th Century but here we have the Labour Party using taxpayer`s money to give it`s supporters hefty wedges of cash. Surely it should be illegal to obtain a financial advantage by voting for a particular party, the Government should set standards of behaviour only

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_fraud

how deluded, have you not heard of Shirley Porter? a representative democracy does what it says on the tin, represents its campaign sponsors and funders, why would anyone contribute if it didnt

Edited by georgia o'keeffe

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Excellent find Pauly Boy, and very impressed by K&C council putting that up.

Time for radical change, as it is both ludicrously expensive and a prop to over-inflated house prices.

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Nope doesn't go to the claimants. It goes to the landlords, and in many cases to the banks.

The claimants do get the housing space last time I looked.

I bet the odd backhander gets paid now and again too.

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Excellent find Pauly Boy, and very impressed by K&C council putting that up.

Time for radical change, as it is both ludicrously expensive and a prop to over-inflated house prices.

Any radical and positive change means facing up to families losing their homes. Let's hope the government are big enough not to U-turn.

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"Spending on housing benefit has risen from £14 billion ten years ago to £21 billion today. That is close to a 50 per cent increase over and above inflation"

Sounds like 50% including inflation. Some calculation gone wrong methinks.

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The claimants do get the housing space last time I looked.

I bet the odd backhander gets paid now and again too.

Yup.. vote for us and you can carry on living beyond your means. Better yet, have loads of children you cant afford, instill in them your sense of entitlement and irresposuble lifestyle, dont worry, the taxpayer will pay, if you vote for us.

Reverse eugenics = labour

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Today there are some families receiving £104,000 a year in housing benefit. The cost of that single award is equivalent to the total income tax and national insurance paid by 16 working people on median incomes.

I would have liked them to also have worked out what sort of job this person would need to be in to earn enough to pay £104,000 a year in housing costs.

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"Spending on housing benefit has risen from £14 billion ten years ago to £21 billion today. That is close to a 50 per cent increase over and above inflation"

Sounds like 50% including inflation. Some calculation gone wrong methinks.

Just to confuse the issue the Treasury likes to produce documents which give numbers in, for example, "2005 pounds". So when the boy George said £14 billion he may have been talking in "now" pounds rather than "then" pounds. Multiplying by the "deflator" makes them look much more prudent.

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I would have liked them to also have worked out what sort of job this person would need to be in to earn enough to pay £104,000 a year in housing costs.

Equally, what sort of private tenant will that landlord need to find who is willing to pay £104k a year in rent?

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My wife works as a Housing Benefits officer. She has worked in the past for RBKC. Speaking to some of her friends, what really amazes me is how they find the sort of money they must need to move in to such properties. Imagine the deposit on a house going for £2000.00 a week?

Beyond belief really.

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My wife works as a Housing Benefits officer. She has worked in the past for RBKC. Speaking to some of her friends, what really amazes me is how they find the sort of money they must need to move in to such properties. Imagine the deposit on a house going for £2000.00 a week?

Beyond belief really.

Impossible without fraud somewhere.

The trouble with government subsidies is that you always get fraud and corruption.

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My wife works as a Housing Benefits officer. She has worked in the past for RBKC. Speaking to some of her friends, what really amazes me is how they find the sort of money they must need to move in to such properties. Imagine the deposit on a house going for £2000.00 a week?

Beyond belief really.

To receive £2000.00 per week HB in central London last year you would have to require a five bedroom property under the LHA rules. This means you would need to have a minimum of four children, but due to the rules about sharing bedrooms and age and gender it would be more likely that the average household qualifying for that rate had seven or more children. Alternatively the household could comprise five adults or more who each required a bedroom.

These kind of households are very uncommon in the UK.

It is very unlikely that anybody receiving Housing Benefit at that rate found the accommodation themselves as they would have required at least a £10,000.00 deposit. More likely they were a household evicted from their former home and placed by the homeless team of the Local Authority in temporary accommodation until a suitable Council property became available.

Local Authorities have a statutory duty to house those who have not made themselves intentionally homeless. It is a very expensive process and due to the lack of social housing a great drain on Local Authority resources.

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To receive £2000.00 per week HB in central London last year you would have to require a five bedroom property under the LHA rules. This means you would need to have a minimum of four children, but due to the rules about sharing bedrooms and age and gender it would be more likely that the average household qualifying for that rate had seven or more children. Alternatively the household could comprise five adults or more who each required a bedroom.

These kind of households are very uncommon in the UK.

It is very unlikely that anybody receiving Housing Benefit at that rate found the accommodation themselves as they would have required at least a £10,000.00 deposit. More likely they were a household evicted from their former home and placed by the homeless team of the Local Authority in temporary accommodation until a suitable Council property became available.

Local Authorities have a statutory duty to house those who have not made themselves intentionally homeless. It is a very expensive process and due to the lack of social housing a great drain on Local Authority resources.

I was quoting somebody else's figure actually (£2000 P/W). Of course this isn't the norm, but it definitely does happen and probably more than you think.

I have only the anecdotal views of my wife's erm colleagues, that suggest claimants do in fact find these kind of deposits, and find them regularly.

(edited for spelling)...

Edited by t350chunder

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I was quoting somebody else's figure actually (£2000 P/W). Of course this isn't the norm, but it definitely does happen and probably more than you think.

I have only the anecdotal views of my wife's erm colleagues, that suggest claimants do in fact find these kind of deposits, and find them regularly.

(edited for spelling)...

Here is a link to the original article.

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Local Authorities have a statutory duty to house those who have not made themselves intentionally homeless. It is a very expensive process and due to the lack of social housing a great drain on Local Authority resources.

Personally I think housing those in need of assistance from the state in one of the most expensive parts of the country is a bit like serving beluga caviar at a soup kitchen.

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I am confident that the people in the £2000 pw rental will remain in their home. The government will find some way to help them stay there. Cameron does so many u-turns his head must be spinning.

I blame a lot of this namby pamby u-turning on the liberals.

If Cameron can't sort it out, the market will. How is that deficit coming along Dave?

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Wow, I was doing some research and I came across this unbelievably honest page on the Kensington and Chelsea council website ...

The title of this topic is misleading. The quote is NOT from Kensington and Chelsea Council, but from George Osborne. It's political spin unsupported by the facts. The cost of HB today forms a smaller proportion of GDP than it did throughout the 1990s.

'Impact of the changes to Housing Benefit announced in the June 2010 Budget' [June 2010]:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmworpen/memo/hb/hb72a.htm

...the cost of HB today forms a smaller proportion of GDP than it did throughout the 1990s, when the cost of HB in relation to GDP rose far more sharply than it has in the last five years.

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I thought that buying votes went out in the 18th Century but here we have the Labour Party using taxpayer`s money to give it`s supporters hefty wedges of cash.

Housing Benefit was introduced in the Social Security and Housing Benefit Act 1982 under a Conservative government. As was the Right To Buy legislation which forced an ever growing proportion into the Private Rented Sector thus resulting in much larger Housing Benefit claims when they lose their jobs (the main reason for the rapid rise in HB spending over recent years).

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I hadn't fully appreciated the lack of discretion that councils had. Do the new rules similarly oblige them to pay out for someone who fits the criteria or are they free to suggest cheaper alternatives?

Council's have no responsibility for suggesting where Private Rental Sector tenants should live. They do have a statutory duty to promote the take up of HB and advise on making a claim, but that's all. The government have now removed the incentive for HB claimants to look for accommodation cheaper than the Local Housing Allowance rate (called Excess Payments).

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  • 285 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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      • up 5%



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