Thursday, 28 October 2010

Harsh and draconian

The concerns about the governments housing benefit changes are causing particular interest in the national media.

As readers of this blog will know, I have a strong belief in locally democratically controlled affordable housing, having the benefit of growing up in a council property, with the security this offered as well as having a decent place to live.

No one can dispute the country and this part of the country has a housing problem, clearly we need more affordable housing.

So it is with some disappointment that the new government has hit the housing sector with a triple whammy (Shelter's words), cutting housing benefits, slashing affordable capital grants and the change of tenancies and allowing the social housing rents to go near market rents.

The housing benefit changes will cause local people pain, 35% of those effected locally are in low paid work it would appear 1320 people in total will be worse off with the average loss per claimant about £15 a week.

Forcing people with children to live in overcrowded accommodation will increase health inequalities and will have a detrimental learning impact to children's education.

The solution is a balanced housing market, by cutting social housing capital budgets, will make us more reliant on the private landlords who are interested in turning a profit, forcing rents up with less secure tenure.

By cutting the capital grants, this will mean fewer jobs in the coming period, with the potential loss of employment and skills and loss of tax revenues, again this will lead to more people chasing fewer rented properties forcing up the cost of rent.

If councils have an influx of people whom become homeless because they cannot afford to live with the loss of benefit, where is the temporary accommodation to accommodate them? Applying more pressure on councils.

I hope progressive MPs can vote these plans down in parliament, I hope the days of 'Cathy come home' are long gone.

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