to think the south east has started to expel the poor

(269 Posts)
ubik Thu 14-Feb-13 13:19:23

www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/feb/13/london-council-relocation-benefits-cap

Basically Camden Council cannot cover the housing benefit for these families due to government cap on benefits. These families would have to find an extra £90/week to make up the shortfall. As I understand it, there is nowhere in the south east cheap enough for these people to live.

So they are considering moving them to a cheaper region up north, hundreds of miles away from their families, schools, jobs, friends, neighbours.

I find this incredibly depressing as someone who grew up in a normal family in London.
Is the south east expelling the poor?

"the stroy states that accommodation cannot be found in the entire south east! That's what shocked me"

That seems a little unlikely, they do know that places exist outside of London right?

MrsDeVere Thu 14-Feb-13 15:14:45

ifnot that is where I live. I have already met lots of people who have had to move out of Islington. These are not people with nice jobs who can't manage a mortgage.

There is a big difference between those with resources but not enough money to stay in the centre and those with feck all who have to move out.

No money = no choice.

Unfortunately ifnot your mate may well be forced to move out of E17 in a few years time. It is becoming somewhere 'vibrant and diverse with a thriving artistic community' all of a sudden hmm

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 15:15:14

"However, if no-one can afford to live there and suddenly lots of properties are sitting empty as everyone relocates to Middlesbrough, landlords willl presumably drop their prices to attract tenants."
Cognito-that won'tever happen in London, because London is always full of students and temp workers from all over who will happily share these extortionate flats 3 to a room. The landlords won't drop their rents unless made to.
And cutting HB has already shown to have no effect on private rents, so the old argument about HB pushing rents up is arse.

Also, when the poor and feckless relocate to Middlesborough, will the rents in Middlesborough shoot up? Probably. Great for the already struggling people of Middlesborough, hey?

bigkidsdidit Thu 14-Feb-13 15:17:46

I rented a 3 bed house in Tooting until lsat year, that was under the housing cap

so I don't know where the 'no houses in the south east' line has come from

and somewhere like portsmouth would be as cheap as up north

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 15:19:11

Ah, you may be right Mrs D. It will become cool and trendy and everyone poor will get forced out. And so on, until the entire poplulation of London is living in Milton Keynes.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 14-Feb-13 15:24:30

"that won'tever happen in London, because London is always full of students and temp workers from all over who will happily share these extortionate flats 3 to a room. "

So the demographic changes a little and life goes on as normal. Isn't that how all cities cycle though? Poor areas get developed and rejuvenated, the poor move somewhere cheaper, the rich move in, then they move out to the burbs or the green-belt ... etc. Post war when lots of people were made homeless because of bomb damage and there really was a housing crisis and genuine slums we hastily set up new communities in places like Letchworth, Milton Keynes and Stevenage. It was seen as a step up to be out of the city.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 15:26:02

Agree with what's being said about Camden - much of it is council estates. The problem is there isn't council housing and private landlords can name their price.

There will still be plenty of poorer people in Camden and other parts of London - more than enough to do the minimum wage jobs! The only change will be fewer taxpayer subsidies for private landlords.

It is central London - there is plenty of work on the doorstep and excellent transport links. There are also plenty of people who don't need housing benefit queuing up to rent (especially the cheaper-end properties) as it's impossible to buy.

I feel very sad for the children who will have to move from schools etc - especially those who will have to leave extended families there. However, I wonder how many of them are actually from that area in the first place!

Can I just remind people that the benefit cap is not a cap on HB but on total benefits received by the family. They don't have £500 pw towards their rent.

https://www.gov.uk/benefit-cap

I do wonder when people talk about getting those on HB out of London if they've bothered thinking beyond, "I want what they have".

There's a few flaws there..

- if you are on HB you wont be rolling in money. Moving house costs money. Even with barely any possessions. Where would that come from?

- if you are in low paid work and claiming HB then presumably you wont be in a position to afford a commute. And HB only pays for the rent, not more, so it's not like any money saved on a cheaper rent would go towards travel. So how would that work?

- if you are unemployed then surely it's best to be somewhere with more chance of getting a job? And due to the nature of the place, London actually has more opportunities than most places.

- if you are not working sue to disability then you probably need to be somewhere where support is easy to come by. In cheaper/quieter areas that's not always the case.

- if you are on HB then you are not going to have money for a deposit on a property. Again, where would you find that money?

- many private landlords don't take HB tenants. So properties are limited, and in less densely built areas that means less chance of finding a home.

- the only way of moving into a property without a deposit is going to be council housing. Except there's barely any of it. And if you don't already have a connection to an area (eg. already live there) then you stand little to no chance.

- if you are a low income/unemployed family and jobhunting then it's likely you will rely on childcare, often family members, if you move away how would you afford to carry on working?

So essentially forcing people to move out of London could result in..
> people in debt paying for deposits and moving.
> people losing work due to not being able to afford the commute/childcare
> more unemployed people in areas already low on jobs
> more people on benefits for longer
> less people in London to do the NMW jobs

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 15:28:28

I think what people can miss is that London is not just a single place. It is a collection of communities. If you are from an area, or have lived in a certain area for years and years, then it is your home.
I was in the same area of London from the age of 19. I knew loads of people. Most of my friends lived there. I worked in the local pubs. Sure, I could have moved to Morden, and that is technically London, but I would have been so far from my life that I may as well be in another city entirely.

What is wrong is that any rent, anywhere in the UK could be £500 a week. That is the problem.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 15:31:05

Well the answer is to build more affordable housing - but it's not going to happen in Inner London!

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 14-Feb-13 15:32:36

But just because a place is your home or where your family lives, it doesn't automatically entitle you to live there ad infinitum. Where I live now is really expensive. I don't expect my DS to have a house here when he's an adult but set up somewhere more affordable. Isn't that the usual way of doing things?

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 15:34:05

And market forces? Should such housing of low income people be subject to the mercy of completely unregulated market forces? I dont think so.
Listen, In New York they have tenants rights and rent stabilisation.
Here we have zero tenants rights, no regulation of rental agencies, NO rent control of any kind.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 15:36:36

"But just because a place is your home or where your family lives, it doesn't automatically entitle you to live there ad infinitum"

Why not?

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 15:40:33

Cogito that's right. I live in the South East and children can't possibly afford to live here when they leave home without significant help from their parents.

Only people with money get to pick and choose where they live.

It's always been quite common to have to move out of the area you grew up in to get council housing or any other affordable housing unless you happened to grow up in a poorer area where cheap housing was plentiful - in which case you would be "stuck" there.

I suppose the difference is that these days people have become accustomed to renting where they choose under the LHA regime.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 15:42:43

Why not?

Because no-one gets to pick and choose where they live! They live where they can afford! Whether that's Chelsea or Slough.

valiumredhead Thu 14-Feb-13 15:43:00

We had to move out of London as we couldn't afford to buy a house even in a not so 'trendy' area as Camden. Plenty of people have to.

Not sure how I feel about it really.

Nancy66 Thu 14-Feb-13 15:45:54

What's the point in moving them to towns where there's even less chance of finding a job?

Google are building their new offices in the borough of Camden - at a cost of £1billion.

I know the two aren't linked but the stark contrast of booting poor families out on the one hand and approving planning for a business giant on the other struck me.

StormyBrid Thu 14-Feb-13 15:46:46

"If a family cannot afford that out of their £500 a week budget perhaps the problem lies within their money management skills, and not their lack of benefits."

Disclaimer: still using made up numbers to illustrate the point. If a family currently receives £200 a week in housing benefit and £400 a week in other benefits, this means their family circumstances are such that they require £400 per week as a minimum on which to survive. There aren't that many households who'd qualify for that much per week anyway; an unemployed couple with one child don't get anything like that much. It's when you have multiple kids, disabilities, or kids with disabilities that you start qualifying for more, because kids and disabilities cost money. Our hypothetical family on £400 a week plus £200 housing benefit have enough to scrape by on. When they draw up a budget, would you like them to to find the extra they need for the rent from their food budget? Or perhaps from the money earmarked for the gas meter?

That's a fair point Nancy.

It's a very short sighted thing to do.

I can kind of see why people think like that, it's understandable to feel angry for what you see as an imbalance between what you get if you are earning enough not to qualify for HB and what others on HB get. But it's not logical unfortunately.

At least if you are earning above the HB amount then you have some choices, it may not be easy by any stretch of the imagination, but you still have some advantages.

valiumredhead Thu 14-Feb-13 15:51:33

Tbf though £500 is nothing for rent - I was paying nearly that for 2 rooms in a shared house in London 20 years ago. 2 bed flats in Lewisham area were going for £800 pcm 5 years ago, I doubt that's changed much.

Not sure what my point was...just rambling blush

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 14-Feb-13 15:56:06

£500 per week... £2000-ish pcm.

valiumredhead Thu 14-Feb-13 15:58:17

Not being given that option to choose where you want to live and where your children go to school isn't fair

From the article ^ but actually most people can't chose where they want to live, they live where they can afford.

valiumredhead Thu 14-Feb-13 15:58:51

Oh a WEEK?!! blush grin oops!

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 14-Feb-13 16:01:12

""But just because a place is your home or where your family lives, it doesn't automatically entitle you to live there ad infinitum.... Why not?"

Because that's life. Whether you have a mortgage or you're paying rent, if some trauma happens like redunancy, illness or divorce etc and can't keep up the payments, you eventually have to move somewhere else cheaper. It's only in Eastenders where people live and work round one square their whole lives...

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