A guest post by John Souter.
A DWP spokesperson said: ‘Our Housing Benefit reforms are not designed to force people out of their homes. They are about restoring fairness to a system which has spiralled [sic] out of control and ensuring that benefit claimants make the same choices about affordability as everyone else.
‘Nearly two thirds of people currently in receipt of the Shared Accommodation Rate would be entitled to the one bedroom rate if they decided to live in self-contained accommodation. This shows that many of these people actually choose to share accommodation with others.
‘People in the most vulnerable situations will remain exempt, and those not exempt can be considered for extra help from the additional £130m is being made available through the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme to help smooth the transition of the Housing Benefit changes.’
Snake Oil Double Speak.
The £130 m is a promised maybe – the Discretionary Housing Payment must be reviewed every three months and is not guaranteed whether the same conditions still exists or not – the discretionary part is constant.
“Not designed to force people out of their homes” – a blatant lie.
And when challenged they cannot explain why it will not force people out of their homes when it’s already doing so.
‘People in the most vulnerable situations will remain exempt.” Another blatant lie – they refuse to define what or who they class as vulnerable.
A severely disabled woman had to take her local authority to the High Court because they refused her a bedroom allowance for the carers she needed to be with her overnight, they would only award her a single bedroom rate. She won and got back her £70 pw allowance, but her local authority is considering whether to appeal?
Here’s the rub, the L A is thinking of spending a fortune from its rates revenue (your money) in legal fees to take a case to appeal when in fact it only acts as an agent for the government? Makes you wonder just exactly how much we pay to be governed by incompetents.
The new DWP mantra is, we give you an upper limit based on 30% of the average cost for your area. If your existing rent is more and you cannot afford to pay the difference – move out and into a one bedroom slum.
They always quote the London rates, but if you check the local rates some are less than 40% of London’s.
This affordability maxim doesn’t just apply to the few shysters who managed to play the system on £20k to a supposedly £150k rent bill – (though its worthwhile remembering it was the same DWP that allowed these shysters to manipulate the old system! Just imagine somebody trying to get a Rolls on Motability – on second thought don’t. Given the DWPs record of competence you’ll probably find somebody has) – but to get back to the point; this will/does apply to people who have lived and invested in their rented home for years and, only when they come to retire on state pensions, or small private pensions which makes them applicable for housing and council tax benefits, will they be confronted with the ‘affordable’ option to up sticks and move.
Perhaps we should call it the Compulsory Geriatric Ghetto Option. But that’s unfair, because it will affect the young, middle unemployed, or underpaid, single parent families and old equally – to qualify; all you have to be is struggling.
This is Cameron’s Big Society ________ Now let’s get on with sorting out the NHS. There’s a lot of dividends floating in that.