Raynsford: Flawed in principle, catastrophic in practice


Nick Raynsford writes in article for politics.co.uk commenting on the potential effects of the coalition's cap on housing benefits:

"The whole concept is flawed in principle, and it would have catastrophic effects in practice. How would people on low incomes be able to cope with a near market rent for supposedly social housing?

"In the SE10 postal district at the heart of my constituency, average market rents are estimated at £380 a week. 80% of that would involve a rent level of over £300 a week for a supposedly social letting.

"No one in low-paid work could consider such a tenancy, unless they were to have most of the costs met by Housing Benefit. And if they did, I can already see the double whammy of some sanctimonious Minister calling for further Housing Benefit cuts or caps on the grounds that people on benefit should not be able to live in such expensive areas.

"In its 5 months in office the coalition government has already has a disastrous impact on housing in this country, the recovery from recession has been stalled, housebuilding is in crisis, social housing is facing a death warrant, private renting is being undermined by Housing Benefit cuts, hundreds of thousands of tenants are fearful as to how they can continue to afford their rent, many many more are under the threat of having to move or facing the bleak prospect of homelessness.

"It is difficult to think of a more inept and deplorable record in such a short period of time. One can only hope that Ministers will come to their senses and recognise that this is no way to run housing policy. Our country and our people deserve better."


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