to think the south east has started to expel the poor

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

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?

LessMissAbs Thu 14-Feb-13 13:25:34

There are a lot of people who move somewhere cheaper to live. And a lot of people who can't afford to live in London.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 14-Feb-13 13:28:09

YABU. There are still plenty of moderately-priced places to live in the South East. Central London may be very exclusive but there are a lot of less fashionable corners where rents are lower. Stories about councillors looking to shift families to the barbarian wastes of 'Oop North' are greatly exaggerated and usually don't lead to anything in reality.

Of course, many of us who did the trip in reverse once upon a time looking for better job prospects and a bit of prosperity, don't see what all the fuss is about. Dick Whittington-like we left family and friends behind and still survived. It's one reason I admire immigrants who are prepared to move to a whole other country for a better life.

Dahlen Thu 14-Feb-13 13:28:47

Im afraid I think this will only change when the end-result is that the SE's wealthy realise that there is no one left to do the NMW wage jobs in the area.

High turnovers in communities result in reduced social cohesion and increased crime. It's not going to be pretty.

On the plus side, after all the carnage we may well end up with a fairer society, and we should find that many more places outside the SE become good places to find employment and cheaper to live. Although that could take decades.

Rhiannon86 Thu 14-Feb-13 13:29:44

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TheNebulousBoojum Thu 14-Feb-13 13:30:00

As a teacher, I moved from London to up North because I couldn't afford a home or a family down South. Sometimes that's how things go, you make new friends and neighbours and there are good schools up there too.
Economic migration is one of the features of this country's history, and no, it isn't fair that the poor gave fewer choices than the rich.

calandarbear Thu 14-Feb-13 13:30:14

It's not nice to have to move but many people have to do it.
We can't afford to live by our friends and family so live in a much less desirable area of the next town.
That said if all the 'poor' people leave an area I do wonder who will do the low paid low skill jobs.

TheNebulousBoojum Thu 14-Feb-13 13:31:55

'the end-result is that the SE's wealthy realise that there is no one left to do the NMW wage jobs in the area.'

NMW jobs here tend to be done by the thousands of unemployed teenagers and graduates who are still living at home.

DontmindifIdo Thu 14-Feb-13 13:34:10

YABU - as are Camden council - having to send people to Liverpool? WTF? Or they could tell them that there's lots and lots of properties to rent privately in the South East that are within budget - hell there's lot avaiable in the London outskirts - that these people could move too or pay the difference themselves.

Camden isn't a cheap part of London. That doesn't mean the only alternative is to move to the other end of the country.

EuroShagmore Thu 14-Feb-13 13:35:44

There are plenty of cheaper places to live in London and the South East than Camden which is both central and "trendy" (although not to my taste). I don't see anything wrong with people having to move to a cheaper part of London because they can't afford where they are. I'm sure it's lovely to live in Kensington, but I couldn't possibly afford it, so I will stick to my somewhat unfashionable corner of SE London.

Vicky2011 Thu 14-Feb-13 13:40:21

London expelled the middle classes years ago. Has for a long time been impossible to buy or rent anything vaguely close to a family home in a safe-ish area of London unless you have a very high income or are not earning at all so that it's covered (or was covered) by HB. Add childcare costs into the mix it's even more impossible.

ubik Thu 14-Feb-13 13:48:01

"Camden council said that it would shortly be contacting 761 households, comprising 2,816 adults and children, because the coalition's benefit cap – which limits total welfare payments to £500 a week for families – will mean that they will be unable to afford their current accommodation or any other home in the south-east

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 14-Feb-13 13:49:47

Agreeing with Vicky 2011. I live in a town about 25 miles out of London and, whenever new neighbours move in, they always seem to be younger couples with small children trading in a small, overpriced London flat for a semi-detached, bit of a garden and a season ticket. I also know that I could trade in the semi-detached, move back home to Lancashire and probably buy something the size of Southfork complete with swimming pool for the same money.... It's all relative.

ubik Thu 14-Feb-13 13:50:45

That affects 900 schoolchildren

By the way, DP and I moved 400 miles away from London so we could afford a bigger house and to have a family. The flipside of this is that there are fewer jobs and wages are lower, also increased strain due to no family nearby and childcare.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 14-Feb-13 13:51:00

"any other home in the south-east "

That's just rubbish. The "South East" includes everything from Stevenage to Slough. Hardly top-priced locations.

mirry2 Thu 14-Feb-13 13:52:03

The south east is extremely overcrowded compared to other parts of the country.

Well I moved away from London because of house prices.
Thousands of people have to do it!!

Auntmaud Thu 14-Feb-13 13:56:08

2k a MONTh . Jeez. Thank god for the Tories and the cap!

TryDrawing Thu 14-Feb-13 13:59:46

What? They're sending the poor up here? Oh the horror!! <faints>

DontmindifIdo Thu 14-Feb-13 14:00:16

hmm, how big a property do these people need if there's nothing suitable in the price range at all in the South east? (which takes in areas including the home counties). For instance, I could find a 3 or 4 bed house to rent in Kent for £900 a month. (Leaving over a grand a month to live off, a lot of people live off a lot less)

Are we actually talking about a small number of very large families? Are we actually talking about people who've had a very large number of DCs on the understanding someone else will fund them?

erowid Thu 14-Feb-13 14:04:36

Its not great but sometimes it has to be done.

We moved further north when we realised that for a similar property and living costs were almost half what we were paying when we were in the south west.

Owllady Thu 14-Feb-13 14:04:44

I don't think we need to get personal about who it might or might not concern but I think for most working families 2k in rent is an amount they just would not be able to afford. I live in the home counties too (50 odd minute train ride into central london) and you can rent a 3 bed for £900 p/m as we do

fromparistoberlin Thu 14-Feb-13 14:09:38


its Camden FFS, a high cost Borough

Most people cant afford to live there!!!

London is full of low cost boroughs and suburbs

Orwellian Thu 14-Feb-13 14:15:03


Firstly, they are not "poor" they are just dependent on benefits. Their benefits (paid for by working taxpayers, most of whom cannot afford to live in Camden themselves) are going to to be capped at £500 per week, the equivalent of a pre-tax salary of £35,000 PER YEAR!!!!. That is not poor in the least and many workers have worked bloody hard to achieve a salary of £35k!

Secondly, many, many thousands of families who are in work and claim no benefits cannot afford to live in Camden and live according to where their after tax salary will allow them. Many families have moved out of London because they cannot afford to live there, especially not Central London.

There is absolutely no reason why families whose total benefits amount to more than £500 per week at present should have more right to live in London than working families who don't receive benefits.

It is absolutely topsy turvy that families not in work or heavily subsidised by benefits should have more sympathy than other families who pay their own way.

Working families who get no or little benefits have to move all the time if circumstances dictate, meaning their kids have to leave their school and friends. Middle income households have been moving out of London for years because they cannot afford it. Why are households currently receiving £500+ from the taxpayer seen as more deserving than working households and what is so terrible about cutting your cloth according to your means?

PessaryPam Thu 14-Feb-13 14:15:22

It's ethnic cleansing I tell ya!

PessaryPam Thu 14-Feb-13 14:16:48

Oh hang on, when I was first working I had to move 60 miles north of London and commute. That's life, why should they be immune?

fromparistoberlin Thu 14-Feb-13 14:16:56

what orwellian said

FelicityWasCold Thu 14-Feb-13 14:20:25

If there was nowhere they could afford to live in the south east then every council in the south east would be sending the same letter. Odd then that the guardian are only talking about Camden!?

Nonsensical piece of reporting.

fromparistoberlin Thu 14-Feb-13 14:28:26

send them to Northolt I say

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Thu 14-Feb-13 14:35:08

I feel just sad that people are happy to turf hundreds of families out of their homes but not do smethng about the whole messed up housing system. If Camden is so expensive, maybe we need to rethink housing as a whole. Not just clear the poor out to make more space for those who can afford it. Which won't be 'hardworking families' or whatever term you like to use.

I have moved for work myself but it is very different to being made to leave.

I feel the worst thing about this government is the way so many people now believe this crap about everyone being on benefits is a scrounger. Labour demonised asylum seekers, the Tories demonise benefits claimants.

Some of those families will be leaving their entire support networks, family, maybe older relatives who depend on them. It feels like the whole nation has had a compassion bypass when it comes to people claiming benefits.

RugBugs Thu 14-Feb-13 14:36:01

I moved from my family/friends in the SE to the NW a few years ago and hell yes it's a lot cheaper to live up here (3 double bed victorian terrace in catchment of an outstanding primary for £95k).
Of course I would like to live less than five hours from my family but I'd rather have a roof over my head and a black bank balance at the end of every month.

It does concern me. I don't think it is a good thing for London to become even more socially segregated than it already is. Currently, there is a mix of owned homes, private rental and HA/Council street properties (i.e. existing houses bought by the council/HA) and some purpose built Council properties where we are (Zone 2). I think the community as a whole will be poorer if the balance was to change too much.

BTW we do own property in London so aren't directly affected by this but I still don't like it.

p.s. Nothing wrong with Northolt!

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Thu 14-Feb-13 14:43:04

felicity - I think it is only four councils so far doing a trial, with the others in the trial looking at similar numbers. Most councils not yet following this system.

ubik Thu 14-Feb-13 14:46:11

Hmmm it's interesting that noone one questions why the rents are so high. I grew up on a council estate in London, with bus drivers, milkmen, secretaries, builders. We all had a little house and a little garden. Families were housed near each other.

I'm questioning why our capital city no longer seems able to accommodate families on low incomes.

Surely it's not about whether you the taxpayer can afford it (working families on low incomes also pay tax) but why there is no cost effective social housing available.

ubik Thu 14-Feb-13 14:47:26

And we are not talking about London - the stroy states that accommodation cannot be found in the entire south east! That's what shocked me.

Owllady Thu 14-Feb-13 14:48:54

I agree that the lack of social housing is a huge problem and part of the reason why the housing benefit bill is so high in the first place.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Thu 14-Feb-13 14:49:52

Yabu. It is sad but such is life.

Sashapineapple Thu 14-Feb-13 14:51:47

There are plenty of cheaper places to live in the South East than Camden. We work and couldn't afford to live in London so we don't. If benefit families can't afford to live in London then of course they should move. If they move somewhere cheaper then maybe they will feel that it is cost effective to get off benefits and get a job, which is unlikely if they stay in London.

wordfactory Thu 14-Feb-13 14:53:17

A huge driver of high rents in London has been the high level of housing benefit.

Once this drops, and landlords can't get tenants, rents should slow.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 14-Feb-13 14:54:35

"Hmmm it's interesting that noone one questions why the rents are so high"

Because there's been a lively market for properties at high rents. Whether that's been subsidised by housing benefit or whether people are just happy to put their hands in their pocket and pay extra for the privilege of living in Central London, who knows? 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. If that doesn't happen and if the tenants are still queuing up to pay over the odds, then it's good old 'market forces'.

adeucalione Thu 14-Feb-13 14:56:06

Didn't Newham say they were going to start doing this, about this time last year?

Seem to remember that they were going to move about 500 families to Stoke - I wonder whether they really did it, or whether it was political spin?

MrsDeVere Thu 14-Feb-13 14:59:23

But is what many people want.
They don't want poor people living in the places they want to live in.

Never mind that these places only become desirable when the they decide they are.

Parts of Camden are fucking awful and dog rough. Some of the 'kick em out' crew would wet themselves if they had to spend a night on one of the many estates in the borough.
15 years ago Summers Town was a place to avoid and where they housed the desperate.

Now those old tenements and flats are wanted so they will shortly be described as 'luxury london apartments' by the Daily Mail.

MC couples with children won't want to live in these places. So they will be bought up by singles and young couples. No more community, just another fecking Hoxton.

Used to be a few places were genuinely desirable in London. These were in the inner boroughs and the leafy suburbs.

But then Notting Hill becomes the new Kensington, Kentish Town the new Upper Street etc.
I see it where I live. Somewhere no one would have been seen dead in a few years back. Now they are convincing themselves it really is like Stoke Newington only cheaper and much more convenient. ...

How long before families start getting kicked out of this borough?

manicinsomniac Thu 14-Feb-13 15:03:43

Not if the bit of central London I just went through on the train is anything to go by. About 2 mins out from euston. Looked horrendous (small, run down, concrete blocks of flats, lots of them high rise.) I seriously doubt that the people living in those are especially affluent

Logically it is a bit mad that it costs so much more to live in a particular city though.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 15:04:39

"It can't be right that so many unemployed people can live in London at the expense of others, while people that work in London can't afford to live there."

The vast majority of people claiming housing benefit are WORKING.
The large amounts go to LANDLORDS.

I have a friend who for years lived in a square in Canonbury.
She was from that area-her grandma lived round the corner. She lived in a rented flat that a relative had lived in, and shared it with a friend. She was forced out by the LL pushing her rent up, and up, and up.
Now she lives in Walthamstow, which would be OK I guess , but she has been forced from her HOME and now it is a lot more difficult for her to shop for her grandma.
It's no different to the people in rural areas in places like Cornwall who are priced right out of the housing market due to tourists and second homers.

It has become a luxury to live in an Inner London borough. Why? It's our capital city! Should it really be just reserved for the rich?
Boroughs like Ken and Chelsea are full of empty houses, owned by super rich non domiciled people who are rarely in them.

I can't BEAR all the BITTERNESS and envy radiating from the people who say "well I had to move somewhere cheaper".
Focus on the actual problem that rent is INSANE, that rich foreigners who do not pay tax here can push up property prices in London to the extent they have, that many many people actually work in Inner London areas and have to get to work as A and E nurses, bin men, teachers, nursery workers. They are manning the tills at Sainsburys and working on market stalls.

And please don't send them up North. We have few enough jobs up here as it is.

fromparistoberlin Thu 14-Feb-13 15:04:58

I know chaz, I live just down the road ! I use it as an example only as its green , on the tube, and cheaper

Noone can bloody afford to live in Camden/Westminster that I know

I think London had some very expensive areas, AND London is bloody HUGE

so whilst there any many thing to worry about, for me this is not one of them

yellowred, people could move to Cricklewood which is a hell of alot cheaper and only 3 miles away, for example

Its not a "fuck you poor people" thing, I really dont feel like that

Shagmundfreud Thu 14-Feb-13 15:06:05

I live in one of the cheaper parts of London.

We have a massive shortage of affordable houses and school places in my borough.

We can't accommodate people moved out of more expensive areas.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 15:10:28

Exactly Mrs D. Who decides that somewhere is "too nice"?
(and you are dead right about the estates in Camden.)
I lived in Kentish Town, and it was always pretty squalid. The thing is, the high St still is, because the people who use the high St are the poor who still live in the council estates.
The rich, living in the nice houses never use the high st. They don't drink in the pubs. They drive in and out. They send their kids to far away private schools. They bring nothing.

Do people really still need reminding that housing benefit is not just for the unemployed? It's also for those people who work but are on a low wage. Eg. the ones who can't afford to commute to work.

StormyBrid Thu 14-Feb-13 15:10:48

"If they move somewhere cheaper then maybe they will feel that it is cost effective to get off benefits and get a job"

Doubtful. Disclaimer: these are made up figures to illustrate the point. Say a family currently qualifies for £200 a week in housing benefit, and £400 a week in all other benefits combined. The cap means the other benefits are unaffected, but the housing benefit is reduced to £100 a week, leaving the family £100 short per week. So, you move the family to a cheaper area, where an equivalent property costs £100 a week rather than £200. Housing benefit covers that, their other benefits are unaffected, they're under the cap, they're effectively living on the same amount of money per week as they were in London.

What this means is that if you honestly think ensuring people cannot afford to live will make them get jobs when there are no jobs, then you're better off leaving them in London, because the cap screws them more effectively there.

Dannilion Thu 14-Feb-13 15:11:37

I live in the South East, approx 50 -60 minutes away from central London and obviously a bit less to SE London. My privately rented 3 be terraced house with garden is £750pcm. So £173ish a week.

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.

"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.

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...

Orwellian Thu 14-Feb-13 16:06:50

Can people please remember that something like 30-50% of Camden housing is still social housing, so the only people that will be able to afford to live in Camden (and most other London boroughs) are those that are either very rich or those that are in social housing. Most of the people that are being driven out of London are the middle income earners who are neither very rich and who are not eligible for social housing.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 16:25:59

I don't think they'll be moving people who are employed! One of the things they take into account is employment status - it says so in the linked article.

If they're not working, they can just as easily live in a cheaper area without work as an expensive area without work.

NinaHeart Thu 14-Feb-13 16:30:15

I work in central London for a not unreasonable salary but I can't afford to live anywhere near where I work. I commute almost 2 hours each way.
Absolutely agree that those reliant on the taxpayer for basic living costs should not have the privilege (if that's what it is) of living in high-cost areas the ordinary working folk can't afford.

"If they're not working, they can just as easily live in a cheaper area without work as an expensive area without work."

Unless they are on job seekers allowance and job hunting...

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 16:41:34

They'll still be able to satisfy the requirement that they look for work!

ediblewoman Thu 14-Feb-13 16:42:08

Arghhhh, I am joining Stormy and Orwellian. £500 is a total weekly cap for ALL benefits, not just housing benefit.

There also seems to be an idea from people that vast sums of money are being paid to HB claimants (the vast majority of whom WORK but are low paid). This isn't true HB (now called Local Housing Allowance is capped at average rent, so no renting a house with a pool). My authority has to use rents from its own area (notoriously high cost) and look at rents in areas nearby with much lower rents. This means most HB claimants, again largely working people, are pushed into renting poor quality accommodation in undesirable areas.

Satisfying the requirement is great, but I suspect they might want to actually find work.

Dannilion Thu 14-Feb-13 16:42:54

Stormy - if I had to pick one out of this rhetorical situation it would probably be the gas meter. I grew up on a farm without any central heating, and aside from my habit of collecting thick jumpers I'm just fine.

However I guess you were more saying this to prove a point that £2,166pcm a month is not enough for some people to live on in some places. To which the only logical answer in my head would be to move, yes. Afterall.. By using your reasoning, what's more important, a particular school for your child or food on the table?

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 16:43:10

Well if they can't find work in London I doubt they're too bothered. There is actually plenty of work in London! That's why most people go to London!

twigger Thu 14-Feb-13 16:44:50

I live on one of the many council estates in Camden - yes there is a shortage because there are hundreds of families on the waiting list for council housing, but in terms of numbers there are still a lot of people still living on the estates. And most of the families here on my estate are the working poor (I was on NMW until December, I'm currently getting JSA but I'm well under the cap due to the low rent here).

So I don't agree with the argument that there will be no one left at all to do minimum wage jobs. There is still a significant amount of LA/HA stock in the inner London boroughs. And of course, there are students, workers from Europe who are willing to flatshare, so there is definitely a ready supply of workers for all salary levels, I think. People commute over quite long distances from the outer boroughs by bike or bus as well.

There are flats on my estate which are privately owned now, but because they're on the estate (which admittedly doesn't have the best reputation, but I've always felt safe living here with my dc), the rents would probably be affordable within the cap. A friend is going to be affected by the cap (has 4 dc), but she wouldn't entertain the thought of living in one of these flats, even though it means being able to stay in the same area/keeping her dc at the same school. So I do feel it's not just a case of people wanting to stay in a particular area, but also thinking that they deserve to live in the nicer homes (street properties) in the borough too. She is looking at moving up north now and says she's being forced out of London, but I can't help feeling that if it meant that much to her to keep her dc in the same school/community, then she would consider living here, after all, I've managed to raise my dc very well on this estate.

"Well if they can't find work in London I doubt they're too bothered."

Ah yes, because it's easy to find work, especially in London.

"There is actually plenty of work in London! That's why most people go to London!"

People go to London because there are more jobs there than elsewhere. This doesn't however mean there is loads of work. So people go to increase their chances. It's not like you walk into London and are suddenly inundated with job offers.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 14-Feb-13 16:48:22

I grew up in London and have friends, families, and strong ties to the place. I can't afford to live there, so I live elsewhere. It's really not that much of a hardship. I'd rather live somewhere cheaper that I can afford to pay for out of my own pocket than live somewhere expensive and be subsidised by other people.

Theicingontop Thu 14-Feb-13 16:50:18

I'm in the Southeast, and my rent is more than half that of a London rental.

Out of London, yes, but not the Southeast.

Either way it's no easier a pill to swallow is it.

StormyBrid Thu 14-Feb-13 16:55:57

Dannilion - food on the table is certainly more important than getting into a particular school. But my last post was taking issue with the suggestion that families on benefits can't afford their rent because they're incompetent at budgeting. If you're given a certain amount of money with which to buy food, and a certain amount with which to pay your rent, then being unable to afford the rent when that money is taken away has nothing to do with an inability to budget.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 17:02:55

Yes, people live where they can afford.
Unfortunately the pool of areas most people can afford in London is getting smaller and smaller, largely due to the reasons I have cited above: No rent stabilisation/control, no new low cost housing, families on decent incomes being pushed out of areas they used to be able to afford, into scruffier areas, thus driving up the rents and pushing out the poorer families. Ad infinitum,

And LHA is actually based on the lower third of the areas average rent, so it's not like people on LHA are really getting to pick and choose the nicest streets that they "don't deserve" to live on.
I agree that places like Camden are now split between the richest and the poorest/those who are lucky enough to get social housing.
I don't see how this situation is good for London. It creates a two tier society. Big cities should be a good mix of people.
I would live on your estate twigger, IF it was a council place, because that comes with security. I might not choose to rent there from a private landlord.

And cognito-I assume you own your house? In which case you have no idea what it's like to try and raise a family and put down roots knowing your home is insecure and subject to the vagaries of your area suddenly becoming "desirable" and you being suddenly deemed "undeserving" to live there.
It's shit.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 17:06:03

" £2,166pcm a month is not enough for some people to live on in some places. To which the only logical answer in my head would be to move, yes."

Really? That is the ONLY logical answer you can come up with?
Not the fact that a shitty flat in a not particularly salubrious area (have you been to Camden?) should not BE £2166 pcm?


CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 14-Feb-13 17:08:33

My home is only as 'secure' as me being able to keep up the payments... if I was out of work or fell ill it wouldn't take that long before I had to move out and downsize. No-one, unless they have vast independent wealth, is immune from that risk. Life is shit.... but that applies whoever you are.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 17:08:38

It's not like you walk into London and are suddenly inundated with job offers.

I lived - and worked - in London for 20 years, north and south. I worked in London and moved out to North Kent and commuted for 4 years.

I know all about living and working in London, and commuting into London and having to move to a different part of the country altogether due to work.

No it's not easy to have to live somewhere you'd rather not live because that's what you have to do or what you can afford, but unless you're very well off that's what everyone has to do.

Most people would prefer to live somewhere nicer, bigger, more convenient for shops, closer to family, better schools, more choice of employment, better transport. But most people can't afford to live in a flat or a house or an area where they would like to live - whether they are on benefits or not.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 17:11:07

Not the fact that a shitty flat in a not particularly salubrious area (have you been to Camden?) should not BE £2166 pcm?

There are plenty of areas like that in London. What you're paying for is excellent transport links, and a relatively cheap (Zone 1, mostly) and easy journey to work in central London.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 17:14:24

Of course you have to keep up the payments.
Just like I have to keep paying my rent, but my LL could decide that my area has "come up" and he could get more rent,and give me a months notice. Then I would have to find a grand to move. In four weeks.
And there is a limit to what you can downsize to in some areas.
I currently live a long way from ds's school. We need to be nearer, but I can't find a 2 bed that is near the school for less than £100 a month more than I need to pay. We are currently in a very ordinary 2 bed for which I pay more than I would if I had a 100k mortgage.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 17:18:57

Then I would have to find a grand to move. In four weeks.

Yes I agree it's tough, it costs even more to move if you have to sell though.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 17:23:29

Yes it does-lots more, but then you still have the asset of a house, which, over time (recent times excepted, but in the long term certainly) will increase in value.
I lose £100-£200 every time I move house due to LL taking money off my depost. Not to mention the cost of the improvement i inevitably have to make to make the house nice.
Renters do actually care about their homes too.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Thu 14-Feb-13 17:29:23

you do understand some of these people are single parents claiming incapacity benefit for genuine long term health problems? You people saying 'I commuted for x years' blah blah blah, that means nothing. you were able to work. Some people are not able to work. Life is not fair. Some people get sick. Good societies understand this. How did we get to a stage that healthy people working, with the freedom to do all that we do, get pettily envious of disabled or unwell people living on benefits? I don't understand why you want to kick the weakest when there are people defrauding revenue and customs every day, to the tuneof millions, there are people making millions out of property etc.

ubik Thu 14-Feb-13 17:33:13

I find it hard to understand peoples passive acceptance that whole swathes of London are now too expensive for any normal family to settle down in. It hasn't always been this way. My family lived and worked in Camberwell and Peckham for generations. It's not like i'm stamping my foot saying I want to live in Mayfair or Hampstead for that matter...but the fact that landlords are allowed to profiteer to such a degree that people cannot be housed in the south east makes me think that something must be done. London isn't and shouldn't be for the super rich or destitute. families should be able to live and work on a reasonable income in London.

Rent controls in New York were mentioned and you do wonder whether this might work in London - although I don't know much about it.

racmun Thu 14-Feb-13 17:33:45

I've had a compassion bypass for the families where nobody has worked in about the last 3 generations. I feel
Sorry for people who have fallen on genuine hard times due to illness etc and if the benefit situation was sorted out properly those in genuine need would be able to have more whilst the scroungers would get nothing.

I would like to live in a Mews house in Notting Hill, unfortunately we can't afford it and live somewhere we can afford a 3 bed semi in Surrey.
My husband commutes into central London which on average takes 3 hours a day on top of his working day, doesn't see our son in the week, pays nearly £3000 a year for the train ticket, pays a 000's in tax every month and we don't even get child benefit anymore let alone £500 a week for doing NOTHING.....

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 17:35:26

Yes but only because in most cases that's what you planned carefully over a number of years! It doesn't just happen to you unless your family is rich.

As you know, to do it you need to pay a very large deposit and mortgage interest payments of around 5% for around 25 years. Then you have all the other costs that go with it, building insurance and ongoing maintenance and improvement to protect the asset you have invested in - and some properties are a money pit.

And at the end of it all, you can only hope the value holds and you get some equity out of it and don't get completely and utterly stuck there, as many have been recently.

It's not all roses around the door. Wherever you live, and whether you rent or buy, it isn't free!

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 17:37:37

I was just thinking that r.e single parents YellowandGreen.

I am a single parent. I live quite near two relatives who I depend on for childcare. If I had to move to another town, or a long commute away I would not be able to continue to work in my job.
How is that a good result?

I am sorry your life is so shit racmum. But nobody gets 500 a week except the landlords. <headdesk>

fromparistoberlin Thu 14-Feb-13 17:38:28

"I find it hard to understand peoples passive acceptance that whole swathes of London are now too expensive for any normal family to settle down in.

Its only in Westminster and Chelsea , come on!!! London is HUUUUGGGEEEE

but I do also agree we need more Council Houses as this private rental malarkey is costing a bloody furtune

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Thu 14-Feb-13 17:40:01

Racmum- how many as a percentage are 'fallen on genuine hard times' and how many are 3rd generation unemployed?

JakeBullet Thu 14-Feb-13 17:40:01

Hmm! Will be interesting to know where all those NMW folk who London relies upon are going to go. They won't be able to afford £3k a year for rail travel in from cheaper areas and yet apparently they need to be shipped out of London because others are envious of them living there. Odd.

fromparistoberlin Thu 14-Feb-13 17:41:57

look at a tube map

look at the the end of each tube line , waaay out

thats where alot of us live

as it does not costs £3000 a year either in Oyster cards

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 17:42:32

I do understand how house buying works; most of my family have managed to buy. Mostof them pay less a month as couples than I do on my own in rent.
My sister paid a 5 % deposit on her flat.

Yes, you have costs, but generally "money pit" type houses are, er, the big old ones. Maybe if you live in a "money pit" you should...downsize to something manageable.
Anyway at the end of the day, if you pay your mortgage you can't just be moved on because someone decided that your neighbourhood is now cool.

ubik Thu 14-Feb-13 17:42:42

But I'll say it again - Camden cannot find a rentable property for these families in the entire south east!

JakeBullet Thu 14-Feb-13 17:44:30

That's shocking ubik. Must look up the rental caps and check out RightMove etc.

Orwellian Thu 14-Feb-13 17:44:47

What should be done is:

a) Reintroduction of rent controls, so that EVERYONE who has to live in the private rented sector pays a reasonable rent and is allowed to keep some of their income rather than paying their landlords pension/mortgage (and this is better for the economy too since it is not based on property speculation).

b) Land value tax. This is the fairest tax and its introduction could (in theory) be used to cut most other taxes. It would mean that the very rich are taxed effectively on unearned and often inherited property and that someone buying a £20 million pound house in London would pay significantly more than someone buying a bog standard terrace (where at the moment they would pay the same council tax in some boroughs).

Neither of these are likely to be introduced until the rental class votes on mass and has a louder voice than the older generation who tend to be owners/landlords.

soverylucky Thu 14-Feb-13 17:47:54

I had to move over 250 miles in order to afford a house. I have no family near me at all. It is just the way it is.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Thu 14-Feb-13 17:52:31

But it shuldn't be that way!

I don't agree 'that's just the way it is'. It is the way we let it be.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 17:56:42

I always find the "well it's shit for me so suck it up" voices so depressing and nihilistic.
It's an attitude that ensures nothing changes for anyone, and that those at the bottom get screwed.
If you look at history, do you think the people who really changed things; abolished slavery, won the vote etc said "it's shit for me too. That's just the way it is". I doubt it.
And, no, I am not equating the housing crisis with those things, just pointing out that a little less negativity is needed to effect change.
The more people who just accept the way that the UK is becoming less and less equal and fair, the worse it will get.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 17:56:52

Good societies understand this.

Yes - that's why we have the Welfare State. Beveridge understood housing was an immense cost, that's why we built huge council estates and forced people out of their homes to live in them. You didn't get a choice, your home was usually demolished!

That's why we now have housing benefit - so that people can afford to house themselves, and welfare benefits so that people aren't destitute.

All it means is that people can't live exactly where they choose - but then neither can anyone except the very rich!

When private rents were controlled, there was a massive shortage of private rental accommodation and most of it was substandard, unfit for human habitation and sometimes a death trap through over-occupation and lack of investment.

Houses with shared "kitchens" on the landings and one bathroom shared between two flats. I know, I lived in one!

Orwellian Thu 14-Feb-13 17:57:54

Yellow - The reason it is the way it is is because the people with money and power like the equilibrium and mp's want to remain elected so they do what the majority/those with power want them to do. All mp's know there is a great big housing crisis happening but they are all very wishy washy about it because most of them are either landlords or have very expensive houses which they don't want to see devalue. Trying to get mp's to change this would be like expecting turkeys to vote for Christmas.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 17:58:06

Agree on both those points Orwellian.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 17:58:49

About land value tax I mean-x post

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 17:59:17

Will be interesting to know where all those NMW folk who London relies upon are going to go.

If they are employed, their employment will be taken into account. They won't be going anywhere they can't get to work.

It's those who don't work who'll be moved out.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 18:06:01

I don't agree 'that's just the way it is'. It is the way we let it be.

I think you'll find it's the way the vast majority want it! Whether you think it's right or wrong to have massive private investment in the private rental sector, that's what there is.

Any whiff of rent controls would result in a glut of properties on the market, and that would lead to a crash. You might think that would be a good thing, but for the vast majority of people it would be a disaster.

Try looking at it from the point of view of the majority - who don't claim benefits, who pay taxes, who are just as constrained by affordability and employment as anyone else.

And who voted Tory and Lib Dem at the last election to get rid of Gordon Brown and the "benefits culture".

I'm not one of them - but you have to understand what's going on here. There is no socialist utopia, never has been and never will be.

Orwellian Thu 14-Feb-13 18:07:15

Olgaga - But it was only that way because there was no legislation to ensure private housing was up to standard and because landlords could stop renting and sit on an empty property without consequences. If there was greater tax on both BTL and those with empty houses or multiple houses, then there would not be this situation as those landlords who did not want to rent out their place below the rent control levels would sell (rather than face a punitive tax) and there would be more properties on the market for those wanting to buy. The situation is only the way it is because there are so many laws and regulations which currently massively favour and encourage people to speculate on property.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 18:16:41

"Any whiff of rent controls would result in a glut of properties on the market, and that would lead to a crash. You might think that would be a good thing, but for the vast majority of people it would be a disaster."

ha ha ha!
Very good.
Just like cutting housing benefit has resulted in landlords reducing rents.
Or just like the re-introduction of the NMW saw thousands of small companies go bust overnight.


ubik Thu 14-Feb-13 18:18:29

is that so Olgaga? That of you work you won't have to move? I thought it was because the council couldn't afford to house them, I didn't realise their employment status came into it.

delboysfileofax Thu 14-Feb-13 18:20:08

I do love these divide and rule stories, it really is playing into the governments hands. Everyone forgets that most benefits are paid to people IN WORK!! Because them and their rich friends want to make even more money so wont pay a proper wage.

It reminds me of a quote I read;

A rich man, working man and poor man are sat around a table. They are given 10 biscuits. The Rich man takes 9 of them and then says to the working man "watch out for him, he's trying to take your biscuit" while slowly and quietly backing away laughing

Its said we fall for this shit

delboysfileofax Thu 14-Feb-13 18:20:53

sad even

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 18:22:31

But don't you see, it wasn't up to standard because landlords wouldn't invest in it because they would get a better return for their money elsewhere. You can't force people to invest their money in a sector where the return is less than they can get in long-term financial products.

Private rentals are much higher quality now - whatever you like to think - because there is an average 5% return.

More properties for people to buy? No, because the number of properties won't affect affordability. Look at what's happened in Ireland! Those who can't get a mortgage now still won't be able to get a mortgage. You would just end up with a lot of people going broke, and a lot of empty, worthless property on the market which will be owned by banks - who will just sit on it until the good times return with a new electoral cycle. They wouldn't have long to wait, because no Government who allowed that to happen would ever get re-elected.

You think banks would undercut the mortgage market, and their own investments, by selling off cheap? No way.

Governments don't survive unless they keep the voting majority happy. If this Govt loses the next election it won't be because of the benefits cap. It'll be because middle-income homeowners are struggling.

piprabbit Thu 14-Feb-13 18:22:32

This has prompted me to do a bit research into private rentals locally. I live in Essex and the only accommodation available for £500pm are studio flats, so not suitable for families. The £500pm studio flats are only available in one of the most deprived areas of the county - anywhere even slightly more desirable and you need at least £600pm.

TBH I hadn't realised the shortage of available accommodation for families in a very poor and deprived area. I'm rather shocked.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 18:23:39

Someone asked about rent stabilisation in New York.
Now, NY does not have anything like a perfect housing system, and is very market led, and expensive, BUT if a building is over a certain size , the flats in it are automatically rent stabilised, meaning that the rent cannot rise above a low percentage each year. It is also harder to be evicted.This may have changed, I dont know.
NY used to have rent control also, whereby long standing tenants paid much lower rents (I can't remember the ins and outs) but that's all but gone.

Copenhagen has quite a good system. People there live in co-ops-they rent but have much more stability and control over their homes.

You can't have a totally market led housing system without any protection for people without the "vast majority" of low income (and tax paying) and their children suffering.
Same as you can't have a totally market led healthcare system, or education.
Some things need to be regulated, because they have such massive impact on real peoples lives.

Orwellian Thu 14-Feb-13 18:44:42

Olgaga - Landlords still don't invest in private property. That is a myth peddle by those who are terrified of rent controls being reintroduced. I am a renter and I have lived in 5 different properties in the past few years and all of them have had multiple problems that the landlords refused to address because they don't have to. Nothing has changed!

The whole point is that at the moment laws are set to favour the banks, landlords, the rich so that they don't make a loss. The only reason that banks can be so strict with mortgages now is because they were bailed out and continue to be bailed out through QE. The banks are currently being saved from having to take losses (for example by not repossessing, since they would make a loss). The whole rental market is artificial and based on making sure that all the laws and rules are in favour of the landlord and the banks who have the most to lose. In a genuine capitalist society, banks would have been allowed to fail and the market would not be propped up artificially by low interest rates, QE, tax breaks for landlords etc. Heads I win, tails you lose.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 18:45:11

I thought it was because the council couldn't afford to house them, I didn't realise their employment status came into it.

These are people who aren't in social housing - they're in private rented accommodation. (You do realise there are tens of thousands on social housing waiting lists?) This is a direct result of the benefit cap:

Housing officers in the four pilot Boroughs are examining the "income, employment status, personal circumstances and household composition" of those who - because of the benefit cap - now find themselves in unaffordable accommodation.

The benefit cap means they can no longer afford to live in the homes they're in, there's nowhere else affordable in the Borough, which has a statutory duty to house them - but no duty to house them in the Borough. So they are having to move them to cheaper areas.

There are 240,000 residents in Camden - so this will affect just over 1% of the Borough's population. It'll be a similar proportion in most Inner London Boroughs.

I think the "bedroom tax" and the council tax benefit cut will affect many more people than this aspect of the benefits cap.

DontmindifIdo Thu 14-Feb-13 18:48:18

OP - you keep saying Camden council can't find them a place in the whole SE, but you aren't accepting that doesn't mean there aren't lots of rental properties that are well below the cap - this family would have £2100 a month coming in, spending £1k a month on rent in large amounts of the south east privately would get you a 4 bed place easily. Leaving £1,100 a month to pay bills and buy food - a lot of people survive on a lot less. I found several 3 and 4 bed places in Kent in places where lots of people commute into London daily for work currently for £900 a month. It is perfectly possible to live in rented accomodation in the South East with a total family income of £2100 for the bulk of people. It is the equivilant of pre-tax income of £35k.

the woman mentioned in the article has 4 DCs, why can't 4 DCs be accomodated in a 3 or 4 bed house in Kent? I would suggest that Camden might be saying they can't find social housing in the SE for them, not that there is no way you can survive with a family of 4 DCs on £2.1k a month when privately renting. But if there's not enough social housing to go round, then some people in reciept of housing benefits will have to be housed in private rented accomodation.

It's very very hard to get public sympathy for people who can't cope on the pretax income of £35k a year that they are being given by tax payers.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 18:54:39

The whole rental market is artificial and based on making sure that all the laws and rules are in favour of the landlord and the banks who have the most to lose.

Yes - that was my point!

There's no doubting that whatever you might think, and whatever your personal anecdotal experience is, rental properties are generally of a much higher quality than they were 20 years ago because a better quality property attracts a greater rate of return.

It's fairly simple economics. Why let your investment go to ruin when for the sake of a few grand you can put laminate flooring in and a new kitchen and bathroom, and rent it for £300pm more? It depends on the area of course - you won't get a lot for even the swankiest flat if it's in a grotty area with no transport.

So flats in grotty areas will be cheaper - but they will never go below the floor for that particular area because that's the market minimum. Not exactly rocket science is it?

To get a return of above 5% you have to have serious money to invest in the best properties, in the best areas, in order to charge premium rent.

Somewhere like Camden, where even the grottiest areas are on the doorstep of the City and the West End in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Thu 14-Feb-13 19:08:01

They are not free to juggle their money that way though. They are not handed £2k per month. Do people really have so little knowledge?

The single parent may get E.g. Incapacity benefit plus child benefit. Then housing benefit is paid to the landlord direct. Council tax benefit goes direct to the council.

The other figures will not change whether the rent is £100, £200, £300 per week.

The moey the average claimant has to spend (on food & day-to-day living costs) will not come anywhere near to £1000 per month, whatever their rent.

That £35k figure is a convenient extreme example.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 19:24:42

Yes, the housing benefit is currently paid to the landlord. When it's capped, the tenant will have to find the difference. If they can't they will be evicted. They will go to the council, who will house them elsewhere - somewhere they can afford.

Under UC, I understood there will be a single monthly payment to the claimant. Which is bound to cause extreme difficulties for many people who will need to budget properly for the first time, and no doubt many more evictions.

Council tax will need to be found and paid to the council by people who have never had to do that before.

Believe me, this is just the beginning of the nightmare for those who apparently have no idea what's going to hit them. Time and time again on these threads I have seen people express views like "Oh it won't affect us, it's the career claimants who will be affected and it's about time they were dealt with".

And you know why this is all happening? To achieve ideological change, a "culture shift". So that "the poor" understand they will have to think twice about having children they can't afford. This is a matter very close to the Tory heart. Doesn't anyone remember Peter Lilley, with his "little list"?

It's not the adults I have sympathy for - they have choices, and in most cases can use their judgement. It's the kids I feel sorry for.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 19:27:42

From Lilley's "little list":

There's young ladies who get pregnant just to jump the housing queue / And dads who won't support the kids / of ladies they have ... kissed

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Thu 14-Feb-13 19:29:35

Olgaga - there are still plenty of rubbish landlords & properties.

Not every decision people make is based on economics and some people do not understand economics that well anyway.

Auntmaud Thu 14-Feb-13 19:30:36

How patronising to suggest poor people can't budget or pay their bills.
How very nu Labour.

TheSecondComing Thu 14-Feb-13 19:31:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 19:32:00

The moey the average claimant has to spend (on food & day-to-day living costs) will not come anywhere near to £1000 per month, whatever their rent.

Yes, isn't that the whole point? If you live on benefits, you have to live somewhere really cheap otherwise you'll have to use some of the benefits you need for living costs out of your maximum £500pw. And that's not going to be possible.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Thu 14-Feb-13 19:38:51

I think TSC has just summed it up in a nutshell.

JakeBullet Thu 14-Feb-13 19:43:22

I think many people WILL budget and manage. The issue is going to be for those who cannot do so for whatever reason.
I will be okay....if I need UC as I am used to being in work and being paid monthly. For those with mental health or other issues there may well be more difficulties.

I am a volunteer with a charity which offers family support...we are used to helping people with budgets for rent etc.....we are expecting many more referrals when things change as those who can't cope for one reason or another start to struggle.

JakeBullet Thu 14-Feb-13 19:44:02

.....and YES to what TSC just said

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 19:45:52

Well I think you'll find that most BTL landlords understand economics rather well, as SecondComing has noticed.

AuntMaud It's actually Shelter which has expressed concern about the direct payment of LHA to claimants. There's nothing patronising or "NuLabour" about it. Many people who receive HB are the most vulnerable in society. Shelter points out:

Payment methods:
The Government must allow claimants to
decide how their LHA is paid, either directly
to them or to their landlord.
This would help to prevent rent arrears, unplanned
moves, and ultimately homelessness, but would
still allow people to keep control of their finances
if they so prefer. It would also increase the supply
of landlords willing to let to benefit claimants.

CarersUK are also concerned about it.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 14-Feb-13 19:45:53

Except that BTL landlords are offering a service, taking a massive financial risk, and actually working for their money. Whether a ll pays a mortgage with their rent or not is irrelevant.

Yes there are shite landlords, but then there are shite tenants. One is not morally superior to the other.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Thu 14-Feb-13 19:47:24

But olgaga there isn't anywhere 'really cheap' is there?

IWishIWasSheRa Thu 14-Feb-13 19:49:38

If I were in charge I'd make the train more affordable so it was more financially viable to commute to London- my dh has a 1.45hr commute each way (we're in Kent) it costs £450 per month in addition to running the car and parking at station
We can't afford to live in London and for years it would wasn't really financially viable to commute but through promotion he now earns a salary that counteracts it- my career on the other hand didn't have the same prospects !

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Thu 14-Feb-13 19:50:06

Oh, come on! BTL landlords are not offering a service, I have never read such tripe.

FelicityWasCold Thu 14-Feb-13 19:56:10

THE ONLY PEOPLE GETTING A FREE HOUSE ARE BUY TONLET LANDLORDS. They are having their mortgages paid on an asset that they will eventually own having done fuck all (bar cobble together a deposit/tart it up a bit) That is what's sickening. And who do the wankers indignant 'wash wah wah we can't live in Chelsea either' mumsnetters get angry at? The poor hapless fuckers with no options...

This is so offensive. By to let landlords are not doing anything morally repugnant. They are running a business. Making money is not legally, morally or ethically wrong.

Yes the fact that there are a significant number of people who can't earn enough to keep themselves is a shocking and uncomfortable fact.

Blaming it on landlords, who are making money is ludicrous.

TheSecondComing Thu 14-Feb-13 20:00:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Viviennemary Thu 14-Feb-13 20:02:38

I don't agree with subsidising out of control rental prices with public money. It is making the problem worse and worse. I totally approve of this new housing benefit cap. Lots of people on quite good salaries have had to move out of London over the years because of high costs.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 20:03:01

How hilarious to say that poor people "will have to budget for the first time"!

How the Hell do you think we stay alive?? I have fucking spreadsheets worked out to the penny.
So do most people on low income.
AND these poor people who apparently have to budget for the first time in their lives-what makes you think they have always been poor? Are these the "generations of feckless unemployed" we hear so much about?

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 20:04:44

And what TSC said, with bells on.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 20:09:45

Housing benefit is a subsidy to landlords, just as tax credits are a subsidy to emplyors.
This is very convenient for those in charge. It means that rather than paying people real wages, they get discretionary payments which enable them to survive, and they can be threatened with the removal of said benefits if they don't comply with what they are told.
The real problem is super low wages in this country (the wage for an admin job I did ten years ago is only about 2 k more a year than it was then) and insane rents.
And we should be pathetically grateful that our extortionate rented house has a bit of laminate floor and a £900 kitchen. Lets forget about the rising damp the landlord cba to fix (it's too expensive he says) which sets of your kids asthma and turns your furniture mouldy.

TheSecondComing Thu 14-Feb-13 20:16:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 14-Feb-13 20:21:05

Landlords sponging off tax payers??


It's not the landlords that are claiming the benefit paid for by taxes, and the vast majority of BTL landlords won't take tenants on HB anyway because their mortgages prohibit them from doing so due to the fact that HB claimants are more likely to fail to pay their rent!

Viviennemary Thu 14-Feb-13 20:24:34

If the subsidies stop and interest rates rise the buy to let landlords won't cover their costs. Will be forced to sell their property portfolios and house prices will come down. That is the solution. Not subsidies, subsidies and more subsidies. Imagine if food was subsidised like this. A lot of people wouldn't afford to eat only people getting the subsidies. It's crazy.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 20:24:43

It's a total myth that LL dont take HB claiments.
Landlords know full well that many many working people are claiming HB.
Given that more tan 60% OF ALL RENTERS claim some HB, it would be ridiculous to suppose that HB claimants are any less likely to pay their rent than anyone else.
Every time I move I never mention that I get (some) HB. They know I do. I'm a single parent. My rent is high. I don't tell and they don't ask. The rent gets paid, and thats that.

FreyaSnow Thu 14-Feb-13 20:25:07

Where is the evidence that there are families where all adults have been unemployed for three generations? That would mean a family where nobody had worked since the Second World War. I find that hard to believe.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 20:26:40

Yellow do you mean free? No of course not. But there are cheaper places to live than Inner London!

IfNotNow It's not just poor people though is it. Stop looking at life through your own narrow prism.

Some housing benefit recipients are some of the most vulnerable people in society. That's why Shelter and CarersUK are concerned.

If you think it's patronising to be concerned about whether all claimants will be able to cope with this change, I suggest you use your energy to write to the organisations concerned.

Did you bother to read the Shelter comment? It's not just about budgetting. It will mean landlords are far more reluctant to let to people on benefits, which will lead to more homelessness - thus clearing even more properties.


If you want to sponge off the taxpayer by renting houses to people on benefits

Well that problem will soon be sorted - see above. Will you feel happier when they stop renting to benefit claimants? There are plenty of people looking to rent in London and avoid the commute!

chandellina Thu 14-Feb-13 20:27:45

The government can buy housing and build new social housing. It usually finds it preferable to let private investors take the financial risk. But you can scarcely claim private landlords typically fleece tenants or get free houses.

TheSecondComing Thu 14-Feb-13 20:31:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheSecondComing Thu 14-Feb-13 20:32:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sunflowersfollowthesun Thu 14-Feb-13 20:36:02

having done fuck all (bar cobble together a deposit/tart it up a bit)
Well if its that easy why can't everyone just do it?

Bowlersarm Thu 14-Feb-13 20:36:22

theSecondComing move to Russia?

CloudsAndTrees Thu 14-Feb-13 20:39:02

This shows that many landlors view HB tenants as high risk.

This shows why, and also provides a link to balance itself out.

chandellina Thu 14-Feb-13 20:39:27

Last time I checked it would need at least a 30 percent deposit to buy a house to let. I take the risk of losing all of that equity. Plus prices are still high enough in many areas that I may struggle to cover the mortgage payment. I also eat the cost of any vacancies, repairs, refurbishment, etc. It's by no means a sure bet.

TheSecondComing Thu 14-Feb-13 20:39:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Catrin Thu 14-Feb-13 20:40:34

I work in Central London - cannot afford to live there. 2 families I had been working with have recently been rehomed from the borough I work in because there were no more 7 bedroom homes available. They made the decision to move to get bigger homes, rather than wait until any came available.

JakeBullet Thu 14-Feb-13 20:41:12

TSC....I know you made a serious point just then but "Ker-fucking-Ching" made me giggle,

TheSecondComing Thu 14-Feb-13 20:41:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lastsaloonNelson Thu 14-Feb-13 20:42:25

thesecondcoming have you ever owned a property? Or had to take out a mortgage? You sound like you have absolutely NO idea what is involved in owning a property and the cost of the upkeep of said property. There's also unexpected costs like being unfortunate enough to have a tenant who damages the property or doesn't keep up the payments and then vanishes.Why would they have to rent it out without making a profit at the end of it?

Bowlersarm Thu 14-Feb-13 20:44:31

No TheSecondComing sadly not.

But we live in a capitalist country not a communist one. Hopefully ...

sunflowersfollowthesun Thu 14-Feb-13 20:44:53

TheSecondComing, if you can't recognize an expression of exasperation at a ridiculously simplistic statement, I doubt you'd have anything to say worth debating.

JakeBullet Thu 14-Feb-13 20:45:44

I have owned a property AND been a LL at one time. I still mostly agree with TSC though. A LL advertises rooms in shared houses regularly in our local paper with "Housing Benefit welcome" and ending with "deposits available from the job centre". Nobody can tell me that this is ONE landlord who knows the system.

I am not tarring all LL with this brush but there are some out there.

TheSecondComing Thu 14-Feb-13 20:46:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lastsaloonNelson Thu 14-Feb-13 20:46:54

Woops TSC just read you are a property owner. Still don't get your argument about the free house though.

JakeBullet Thu 14-Feb-13 20:46:56

Agh....bloody typos. One LL who definitely knows the system.

TheSecondComing Thu 14-Feb-13 20:47:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JakeBullet Thu 14-Feb-13 20:48:22

I get what you mean TSC....don't think all LL are like this though....not all are getting their rent from HB. many cannot take tenants on HB.

sunflowersfollowthesun Thu 14-Feb-13 20:54:27

Well, to be fair, I have been known to do that too, TSC. grin

maisiejoe123 Thu 14-Feb-13 20:55:49

A relative lives in very central London in a one bed ex council flat. Within his block there are a number of single people in 3 beds who will have that flat for life. They are not working. Some are early retirees. But they are being paid for by the taxpayers. His neighbour has never worked and now in retirement (from what I wonder!) she is able to stay in her 3 bed until she dies.

Is this right. Yes, they have lived there for a long time but we all need to move for various reasonsover our lifetime.

HotPanda Thu 14-Feb-13 21:10:21

I know a few landlords. In this area you'd be looking at a mortgage of £500 per month against a rent of £650. That is broadly on a 2 bed property with 75% deposit. That is on an interest only mortgage.

After rental agency fees are paid that doesn't leave a lot. Maybe a bit to save up to allow for void periods or repairs.

I don't see that is going to pay landlords mortgages to give them a free house. The landlords I know are all in it for the long haul, looking for capital gains. When they are done they will sell the house and realise the gain in that way. Probably they will have made on the original investment (the deposit) but they do not have a free house!

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 21:27:40

Jake-more than 60% of all renters claim some HB, so whether ll's know it or not, a very significant proportion of their income comes from HB.

The problem is the whole buy to let bonanza. The WORST landlords are the little ones, who have jumped on the property bandwagon. In my extensive experience anyway.
The whole property bubble of the last few years inflated house prices to beyond a realistic level, and the cost of this has been passed to the government, very directly, by virtue of the fact that people cannot pay for the roof over their heads with their wages alone.
If I had been earning the equivalent of what I earn now I could have bought a small 2 bed 15 years ago. Now? No chance.
House prices have to come down. Way down.
This would bust a whole lot of buy-to-let prospectors, but then investment generally does carry a risk, no?
Pre 2000 there was a bubble, when people were hoping to get rich quick. In 2000 it burst, and a lot of speculators lost their shirts.
That is the natural consequence of actual capitalism.

With housing it is more complicated, because, actually, housing is about more than just "property". It is about homes. So the government has been propping the market up artificially.
And while the government prop up the landlords, they can pass the blame onto the poor sods who can't afford to pay their rent on pitiful wages.
And the "hard working taxpayer" (conveniently ignoring the tax paying, HB claiming renters) can come over all indignant about scroungers being "undeserving" of reasonable homes.

janey68 Thu 14-Feb-13 21:53:41

This is one of those issues where it's easy to be emotive and talk about the 'poor' being 'expelled from the south east'

But as many others on the thread have pointed out, this is no different to the hundreds of thousands of people who aren't in receipt of benefits who have to move because they cannot afford to live in a certain area.

The benefits cap is £24000 per annum ( actually higher than this in real terms once other fringe benefits are factored in) So what's that? - the equivalent of at least 30k gross salary. I don't see how anyone in their right mind can argue against a cap which is significantly above the average earnings.

I entirely concur with those who have said house prices are way too high compared to earnings, and that we need more housing and social housing in particular. Abso-bloody-lutely.

But within the situation which currently exists, its unreasonable to expect non recipients of benefits to move if they can't afford to live in a particular location any longer, yet protect a benefits recipient from that.

TheSecondComing Thu 14-Feb-13 21:58:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

janey68 Thu 14-Feb-13 22:09:47

TSC - blimey, aggressive or what?!

I didn't say the benefits recipient receives all the 24k to spend how they like. Obviously a significant proportion is going to the owner of the property. Just as a wage earner who isn't on benefits is paying out most of their income to the landlord (or council for council tax etc....)
The point is, it's been possible to benefits recipients to live in areas which many non recipients are priced out of. I don't see how anyone can argue that that's an equitable situation. If you're saying the govt should protect people from having to move from an area they can't afford, then let them do it for everyone. Though I would be interested to see an analysis of how that's affordable

TheSecondComing Thu 14-Feb-13 22:18:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Shagmundfreud Thu 14-Feb-13 22:26:22

TheSecondComing - people will still do these jobs. They will commute in from outlying parts of London where they will live in cheap accommodation. Maybe a bit like this: slum

If they have children they won't see them, as they'll be out the house from 5am to 8pm. If they're single parents they'll have their children in breakfast club and after school club, or nursery, mostly paid for by the tax-payer. If their children are secondary age they'll be spending hours alone at home, waiting for parents to get back from work.

Those people who will be moved out of central london will have to take their children out of school, no matter how close they are to doing GCSE's or A-levels, and regardless of whether they can find a school place in the places they get moved to.

Really, it fucking stinks.

TheSecondComing Thu 14-Feb-13 22:29:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 22:39:47

As I've said before, this will only affect around 1% of the population. There will still be plenty of housing benefit claimants who live in social housing, of which there is plenty in Camden, Haringey, Hackney and most other London Boroughs.

It's not as though all benefit claimants are being moved out of London. Only those whose capped benefits will no longer cover their private sector rentals.

There will still be plenty of people living in London to do NMW jobs.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 22:41:03

There is a lot of confusion about how benefits work.

Housing benefit is worked out by assessing how much landlords are charging for the lower third of rental stock in an area.
At the same time every person is considered to need allowed a set amount to live on, by law.
For example, say a single person with one child is deemed to need £125 a week to live on and buy food, pay bills etc after their housing costs.
That £125 can come from any source-earned income, JSA, anything.
The local housing allowance for a single person with one child is £500, for a 2 bed flat.
If the person can only find a flat for £560 a month, they are left with around £110 a month, and so on.
The amount a person is entitled to is the same for everyone, whatever their circumstance, number of children are the only variable.
All benefits are worked out to allow this minimum amount, although most people actually pay a proportion of their minimum towards rent, because in most parts of the country the LHA doesn't quite cover what they can find to rent.

Now say the person starts to earn more money. A proportion of Housing benefit will be deducted , but only based on 65% of their earnings. This allows the person to be better off working than not.
As they earn more and more, HB is deducted until they no longer get any (as it should be.)

This nonsense about people pulling in 30 k on the dole is just that-nonsense.

Fact 1. You are better off employed, free school meals or not.
Fact 2. The more you earn the better off you are.
Fact 3.A family earning 30 k would still be entitled to some housing allowance IF their income did not meet minimum requirements after their rent up to the local housing allowance had been taken into account.
The rules are the same for everyone.There is no gaming the system, beyond actual fraud.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 22:43:07

Sorry, that should have said "£110 a week"

chandellina Thu 14-Feb-13 22:44:50

Oh come on, there are many parts of London where low income people can and do live and make ends meet. This issue has so much hysteria around it, I'll believe in the so called social cleansing when I see it.

racmun Thu 14-Feb-13 23:00:31

My life is far from shit. My point was merely that I don't expect other people to subsidise us living in an area we can't afford.

Lots of people are moaning about private landlords, but it's all about supply and demand. The HB culture has created the demand and landlords have supplied the properties.
If HB wasn't as high in the first place then the landlords wouldn't have been able to charge as much. If capping it drives HB claimants away then at least over a period of time rents will stabilise to reflect what people earning can actually afford to pay instead of bring artificially inflated with tax payer's money.

TheSecondComing Thu 14-Feb-13 23:06:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 23:11:29

Drives them away where?
Because anywhere in the country where there is work, the rent will be high.
Where are the newly homeless HB people supposed to go?
HB isn't a "culture". It is nessessity when rent costs half your yearly earnings.

And they HAVE cut HB. It has had absolutely no effect on rents at all.
All that has happened is that, since the allowance is less, there is more competition for the lower end of the housing market.
Last time i was going to see a house to rent, the agent called me and said someone had already taken it sight unseen.

Julesnobrain Thu 14-Feb-13 23:29:48

This is a ridiculous thread. £500 a week is £2000 a month. I live in London in a non trendy part of London 20 minutes from Waterloo. £2000 a month would get u a nice family home thank you. What's more I work full time and would LOVE £2000 to spend on housing a month. So maybe they can't afford Camden but there are plenty of areas in London where that is a reasonable rent. Thank god for the cap and some common sense

FayCorgasm Thu 14-Feb-13 23:34:21

We drove through Farnborough today and I commented to DH that it looked so run down and the people really looked "poor". Not what I would expect to find in the South East at all. It reminded me of the towns and put villages in the NE.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 23:35:50

In fact there are just under 27,810 HB claimants in LB Camden.

16,204 are Council tenants.

6712 are Social Landlord (eg HA) tenants. So the vast majority of HB recipients in Camden are in council or social housing.

Just 4894 - 17.5% are private tenants whose housing benefit goes to the "greedy" BTL landlords. Of those, 84.5% will remain where they are. 761, claimants or 15.5% of those in the private rental sector (2816 adults and children - just over 1% of the population of Camden in total) will be required to move somewhere more affordable.

Social cleansing? I hardly think so.

So we can also see that the vast majority of HB in Camden - 82.5% - goes to the Council, or to Social Landlords.

By the way, landlords pay tax on any net profit they make, and when they sell they will pay capital gains tax on their net gains of 18% (or 28% if they are a higher rate taxpayer).

In all, the the UK private rental sector is worth £500bn and contributes £30bn each year to the UK economy.

Just thought I'd say...

cheshiresmile Thu 14-Feb-13 23:41:22

I agree with olgaga's point above. There will be plenty of residents left in Camden and other parts of London to do NMW jobs, because the proportion of social housing is generally quite high in London compared to the rest of the UK.

Some useful data here in Camden's Housing Strategy Evidence Base - 26% of households are in council-owned housing (compared with 13% across England & Wales) and an additional 11% in other Social Housing. These people won't be affected by the cap at all - so over a third of households in the borough who are likely to be on lower incomes and will be able to continue to live there and do the NMW jobs.

Viviennemary Thu 14-Feb-13 23:57:36

Why are rents so high in London in any case. And why are they so heavily subsidised by housing benefit. How can it be right that somebody in another part of the country earning say £12,000 a year is paying tax to help subsidise people on £500 a week housing benefit. It is a totally crazy system and should never have been allowed to develop. It is Labour's fault. I voted for them last time but won't be again for the forseeable future if ever.

olgaga Thu 14-Feb-13 23:57:51

And just for good measure, this is what HM Treasury said in a recent consultation document:

The Private Rented Sector (PRS) plays a critical role within the housing system, helping to meet growing demand and providing a flexible tenure choice. It has also played a disproportionate role in funding new-build supply in recent years. It is important that the sector continues to grow and develop to help meet the housing challenge, and that it is able to respond effectively to changing demand.

It is clear that the level of investment directed by individuals and institutions into the PRS will be key to its future development, and will strongly influence both the volume and quality of supply.

As the housing market recovers, we need to ensure a strong supply-side response to support the recovery. The PRS is an integral part of this - a key issue will be how well the sector responds to changing demand, and the level of investment directed by individuals and institutions into the sector will be crucial to that.

So, is that clear? No PRS, no new building of affordable homes. We need it more than they need us. There are plenty of other investment vehicles which don't involve providing homes for people who can't afford their own.

The (current) govt's response to the consultation:

The Government believes that the best way of supporting the Private Rental Sector is to restore confidence in the economy, stimulate investment, and maintain a stable financial system that supports lending and the long-term growth of the economy.

In other words, there is absolutely no way in the world this or any other govt will try to impose rent controls or any other controls on the PRS. There will be no change to the policy of encouraging investment, tax levels will be left alone, and people should be encouraged to "rent-a-room" to provide more "affordable" accommodation.

You can read the full response here if you like.

olgaga Fri 15-Feb-13 00:10:20

Why are rents so high in London in any case.

Because it's one of the most expensive cities in the world! Depending on which index you read it's sixth, or sixteenth.

There are jobs there, transport there. About 40,000 new homes are needed there every year.

There are 5.1m households in London. I wonder where they would all go if they didn't live in London?

Viviennemary Fri 15-Feb-13 00:16:37

So it's so expensive that people have to be subsidised by the rest of the country to live there. hmm

olgaga Fri 15-Feb-13 00:33:01

So it's so expensive that people have to be subsidised by the rest of the country to live there.

No. Taking Camden as an example, 90% of the population do not claim Housing Benefit - as illustrated in my earlier post.

In fact London and the South East contribute almost 40% of total UK tax revenue. You can read about that here.

Tasmania Fri 15-Feb-13 01:14:08

Well, see it this way - the only other option is to let house prices crash (yes, crash not just "slump), so that it would be more affordable to live in the South.

How many Mumsnetters would like that?

It's not this government's problem that Gordon Brown broke his promise below:

"I will not allow house prices to get out of control and put at risk the sustainability of the future." He said mentioned that the UK should not return to the "instability, speculation and negative equity" of the 1980s and 1990s.

Promises. Pah!

gaelicsheep Fri 15-Feb-13 01:37:17

I'm only about a fifth of the way theiugh, and have to go to sleep, but already I'm reading a major misapprehensiin. The point has probably been made already - if so then apologies - but people are talking like £2000 is the de facto amount families receive, or will receive. It is not. It is a maximum amount, and if people are moved to cheaper areas there is certainly no way a normal sized family would be receiving anything like that amount, if they even are at present.

gaelicsheep Fri 15-Feb-13 01:39:03

Sorry for typing, on phone.

gaelicsheep Fri 15-Feb-13 01:40:42

And Julesnobrain, the £2000 maximum is most certainly not just for housing!

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 15-Feb-13 08:29:56

Julesnobrain, your name seems an apt choice given your post grin - It is not £2k for housing, it is £2k maximum claim for all benefits.

wordfactory Fri 15-Feb-13 08:43:11

London can and will have plenty of people living there on low wages. The vast majority do and will live in council and housing association housing.

The minority will live in private rentted accommodation below the cap. Most of it isbelow the cap.

The tiny monority above the cap are generally living in accomodation that is simply not worth the rent paid! But the LLs can charge it because the HB will pay it. Once the cap is in place I suspect the LLs will lower rents below it as, frankly, they just won't get it from non HB renters!!!! No one will pay that money for those properties.

Camden are assuming that the public are stupid and will believe this crock!

Orwellian Fri 15-Feb-13 08:57:22

wordfactory - The private rented sector is no longer a "minority". In London a quarter to a third of ALL households now live in the private rented sector. Nationwide the number of households living in the PRS is now equal to the number of households living in the social rented sector. By 2020 it will be one third of all households in London. This sector needs much better regulation and equality because it will be huge.

Just where are all the households currently renting because they will never be able to afford a home be living when they are too old to work? The government is going to have a MASSIVE problem and the housing benefit bill for all the younger generations priced out of social housing and owning a house is going to be huge. But they are putting it off for a government long down the road to deal with, as usual.

wordfactory Fri 15-Feb-13 09:15:49

Orwellian we are specifically talking about London, in particular the inner city, as posters were saying there will be no one left to do MW jobs. I wa spointing out that the majority (and three quaters is a majority, sorry) live in council and HA owned property.

That leaves a quarter in private rents. Most of these are below the cap.

So the cap will not affect the majority of renters in London.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 15-Feb-13 09:18:52

Wordfactory, it is currently not extended to all areas. If it is extended it will affect many more areas and thus many more people.

wordfactory Fri 15-Feb-13 09:25:08

Yes, yellow and I do feel for the families who need to move, but I think the LLs who rent these above cap properties, should no longer be able to sit back and take their rent.

If they want big sums they need to make their properties top notch and find tenants who can pay it (but will be a lot more demanding)...or they will have to accpet that these properties are not worth the rent they're charging and drop it to below the cap!

I really don't see why the tax payer should subsidise the landlords. And I say that as a landlord.

chandellina Fri 15-Feb-13 09:30:37

Rents are high in London because house prices are high. Buy to let is only a small part of the reasons why, and housing benefit an even smaller reason.

A cap on housing benefit is a no brainer, and should help curb rental inflation on the fringes.

Julesnobrain Fri 15-Feb-13 09:31:29

To echo janey earlier yellow, green etc

The benefits cap is £24000 per annum ( actually higher than this in real terms once other fringe benefits are factored in) So what's that? - the equivalent of at least 30k gross salary. I don't see how anyone in their right mind can argue against a cap which is significantly above the average earnings.

This is not the south expelling the poor. This is some common sense that the welfare state is there to protect people from staving on the streets. Yes it's not perfect but you can't have families on benefits 'earning' more than the average John. The answer is building more social housing and then not letting people buy it at highly subsidised rates to remove it from the system. There are plenty of areas in London where people can and do support families on that income.

Re the slum photo. Disgusting, occupied by illegals with no access to welfare state. That is why we have a benefits system and why we should be fierce in its protection and that means ensuring the man on the street deems it fair. At the end of the day most of us here on this thread pay our taxes to support benefit claimants. I am one and I wholly support both the benefits system and the cap. One reason we are civilised is that we do look after our neighbours in need but we need to be pragmatic about what is fair and equitable. I can't afford to live in many areas of London. That's life !!

wordfactory Fri 15-Feb-13 09:32:44

chandelina I think so.

It's always worth asking why these LLs don't rent their big expensive houses to non HB tenants...

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 15-Feb-13 09:38:05

Julesnobrain - if your answer is building more social housing and ending RTB, why are you supporting movng families out instead?

Orwellian Fri 15-Feb-13 09:39:40

I don't disagree with the cap (at the moment housing benefit goes into the pockets of rich landlords and anything that will stop this is good). However, there really needs to be a complete change to our cultural thinking in the UK regarding housing. If we are going to have a massive private rented sector then it needs to be better regulated, have much better standards, with much better security of tenure and much more consistent rents/rent increases (e.g. no room for retaliatory evictions when a tenant complains about something needing fixing or the landlord just wants to increase the rent). There is no reason why it couldn't be done (see Berlin and New York) but the political classes will not do it because the whole economy is based on a transfer of wealth from the younger generations to the property classes who have the money and the power. This will only change when the younger generation votes en masse for change and the equilibrium can no longer be sustained.

Rhiannon86 Fri 15-Feb-13 09:40:05

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Mimishimi Fri 15-Feb-13 09:43:06

YABU. Expelling the poor would be grabbing the homes that they've legally bought and claiming it for redevelopment. Removing or refusing to subsidise their housing in expensive areas just makes sense, especially if they do not hold key but low-paid jobs (eg teaching, nursing etc).

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 15-Feb-13 09:43:26

HB is rarely paid direct to landlords now unless special circumstances. The landlord is a business, people can either choose to rent his property or not. HB is the tennants claim regardless of what it is spent on, its not the landlords claim.

People all over the UK have to live in areas they can afford, this is no different. If people want to truly stay they will move slightly out of area or take a second job etc.

The cap is ridiculous anyway, £500 a week just being handed to people! Tax free so over £30k gross for doing nothing. Thats not a basic welfare state to provide food and shelter but a generous lifestyle choice that some who work full time wont ever earn. Voters are fed up of people getting far more money and a better lifestyle on benefits than they get doing the right thing and financing themselves.

People will still work for NMW in Camden like students and those who dont rely on benefits as this is a second income in the house etc.

Rhiannon86 Fri 15-Feb-13 09:47:07

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M25Meltdown Fri 15-Feb-13 09:50:15

When you are dependent on someone else, then you have already surrendered your choice.

This country is going to hell in a hand cart, too many people depending on the State to fund their lifestyle.

I blame Nu Labour.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 15-Feb-13 09:52:59

Rhiannon - thatwill not be necessary now the government gives them free labour. Also with 3m unemployed, someone will always work for low wages.

sausagesandwich34 Fri 15-Feb-13 09:54:51

am I the only one that is amused that this was on the wright stuff this morning?

Rhiannon86 Fri 15-Feb-13 10:02:02

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fromparistoberlin Fri 15-Feb-13 10:37:37

suprise it all got political

and yet again anyone who sees this as common sense is a "chav hating, cameron loving TORY Daily Mail loving cunt", to maybe paraphrase a tad!
and "I cant afford to live in Chelsea, so why should BENEFITS"
such a simplistic view,,,,

yawn, yawn, yawn

Its Westminster. A high cost area in a high cost city.
London is huge and has a massive tube Network, people could find more affordable rent in most places Zone 3 outwards

and it would be a hell of alot greener than Camden too I dare say

JakeBullet Fri 15-Feb-13 10:53:13

too many people dependant on the state to find their lifestyle

Or perhaps just to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table eh? Many people would need less support if they were paid a living wage.

The State funds my the parent of a disabled child.
It finds my friends lifestyle to care for her disabled child while she works part time.

I don't have holidays
I don't live in Chelsea
I DO live in the south east near my family who support my care of my son

I am not affected this rent cap but I would be mightily pissed off if I were because my support network is vital. I can bet there are others in the same position as me in the areas people are discussing.

It's fault of successive Government .....and this one is tackling buggar all and ignoring the warnings of respected organisations and people who are telling them this is wrong.

Rhiannon86 Fri 15-Feb-13 11:08:51

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Viviennemary Fri 15-Feb-13 11:22:49

The simple fact is this. And it has already been said. You just cannot have people on benefits receiving a substantial amount more money all tax free than people who work and don't qualify for benefits and pay tax. That is why this Government is trying to do something about the unfairness. Young people are stuck in rented accommodation because they cannot afford to buy. Or are stuck at home with parents because they can't afford rents.

StormyBrid Fri 15-Feb-13 11:30:15

Viviennemary - I think we'd all broadly agree with "You just cannot have people on benefits receiving a substantial amount more money all tax free than people who work and don't qualify for benefits and pay tax".

What I and many others here don't understand is why some people think the logical response is to decrease benefits. Benefits are set at the minimum level required to survive. That means people who earn less than they could get in benefits (and I am not suggesting such people exist in any great number or at all) are working for less wages than they need to survive.

Why are people happy to work for such a pittance? And why do so many of you think that it's right that we should all be happy to work for such pitiful wages?

Rhiannon86 Fri 15-Feb-13 11:32:11

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myrubberduck Fri 15-Feb-13 11:41:55

plenty of people on benefits are in work ( legitimately!) . At the moment the benefits system subsidises low wages in the private sector and subsidises private sector rents keeping them high

That cannot be right. But I feel very uncomfortable about simply letting 'market forces' correct the problem because in the short and probablly medium term it is the low paid workers who loose out by being forced to move. And not being able to live closer to their work until either (a)wages rise to make it economical to live in London or (b) private sector rents fall as they ineviatably will once the HB 'prop' is partially removed.

Not sure what the solution is really.

Viviennemary Fri 15-Feb-13 11:43:50

I agree with Rhiannon86. You do not need £2000 a month plus to survivie. You need that amount to make a lifestyle choice to live in what (someoby else said it) is one of the most expensive cities in the world. And minimum wages won't rise to £36,000 a year.

Paying out those colossal amounts in housing benefits in London has made the situation much much worse and has made people too dependent on the state. And has fuelled house prices. And has encouraged property developers. And has driven ordinary working people on reasonable wages out of those very areas these other people think they are entitled to live in on public money. Sorry but it's one of the best things this government has done.

wordfactory Fri 15-Feb-13 11:49:06

stormy the logical response is to decrease benefits because the claimant is actually benefitting! The landlord is.

These properties are simply not worth the rent. If the LL had to get a non HB renter there is no way he would get that level. Why should the tax payer line the LL's pockets?

wordfactory Fri 15-Feb-13 11:50:25

Soory the claimant isn't benefitting. The landlord is.

StormyBrid Fri 15-Feb-13 11:52:56

Depends entirely on how many dependants you have and what your rent is, Rhiannon86. As has been said repeatedly, most benefit claimants don't receive anything like £2000 per month. And while I fully agree that tax credits prop up low wages, I can't see how removing them would cause wages to increase. Do feel free to enlighten me on that one.

cantspel Fri 15-Feb-13 11:56:25

The whole country is screwed.
Wages are driven down due to the plentyful supply of eastern europeans willing to work mw and below but they all need housing even if they are prepared to live in substandard housing and over crowded.
A large number of these young men will flock to the south east and london as that is where there is more work.
Then you have people moaning about the lack of affordable housing and the lack of jobs paying a living wage.
The simple truth is we cannot afford to keep letting more and more people into the uk. We cannot house the ones who are here nor can we supply jobs.

The country cannot afford the benefits system as it stands, nor can we afford to offer the same benefits to everyone who wants to make their home here.

Sits back and waits for the all the calls of racist.

Rhiannon86 Fri 15-Feb-13 11:57:34

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StormyBrid Fri 15-Feb-13 11:58:00

Wordfactory - agreed that the landlord benefits. But capping housing benefit doesn't bring rents down. If you decrease housing benefit because rents are high, then people reliant on housing benefit cannot afford to rent privately. There isn't the social housing available for them. So where are they supposed to live?

wordfactory Fri 15-Feb-13 11:58:49

But stormy HB and Tax credits and all the rest allow the likes of Starbucks to pay piss poor wages. These benefits subsidise big business!

wordfactory Fri 15-Feb-13 12:01:27

Capping benefits will bring certain rents down, becuase those LLs will not be able to charge that rent to the non HB market.

If they could, don't you think they would be doing so?

These tend to be large old houses...for which there is much less demand in London.

StormyBrid Fri 15-Feb-13 12:01:36

I know! We appear to be totally in agreement on that point! So what do we do about it? I would suggest that merely capping benefits while taking no action to address the issues of low wages and high rents is not going to solve the problem.

Viviennemary Fri 15-Feb-13 12:48:11

I haven't had a single Starbucks coffee since the scandal about their tax emerged. And won't be having one. Benefit should not be subsidising private business. And that includes landlords. I don't care who is benefitting from these subsidies. It isn't me that is for sure. I want benefits to go to the needy and that doesn't mean people living in expensive areas that most of us can only dream about living in. And if that's envy then so be it.

If people are needed to work in London then the employers should be paying them sufficiently not robbing other people to pay them.

maisiejoe123 Fri 15-Feb-13 13:25:47

Can I please understand - some people are being paid £1500-£2000 in their bank accounts to cover their rents in London, some of these people are not working at all. It is the equivilant of earning £35k without doing a stroke of work


What stops them pocketing the money and allowing the rent to just stack up. Landlord trieds to evict, all the pressure groups come out saying you cannot evict, 2 children etc etc. Renter finally leaves having trashed the house....

Surely capping benefits will force the prices in London down? And realistically if you are not working and havent been for a while there must come a time where you lose the option to live in London. If and many others lost their jobs we wouldnt be able to afford to live there. Full Stop. Why is it any different for people claiming benefits

maisiejoe123 Fri 15-Feb-13 13:28:46

And what about people coming from Romania and Bulgaria next year... Take a typical scenario - Family plus 3 children present themselves at Heathrow. They are homeless and unskilled. They would like to try and live in London. Thats where all the jobs are apparently.

So, are we going to agree to this with them having paid NOTHING into the system?

Still just checking that this couldnt possibly happen could it....

gaelicsheep Fri 15-Feb-13 13:39:32

Can we please please separate the outrage over the amount people have to pay in private rent, necessitating huge housing benefits payouts that go into the pocket of private landlords, and the actual amount that the average family actually sees to live off? People are not being "paid" £2000 a month tax free to sit and do nothing. It is a ridiculous thing to say, it is not true and never will be. There may be a few exceptions for very large families, but that is what they are - exceptions, unusual cases.

Housing benefit and the amount people have to live off are two totally different things. Later on I will try to look up some figures, unless anyone else would care to do so/has done so.

Rhiannon86 Fri 15-Feb-13 13:44:05

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maisiejoe123 Fri 15-Feb-13 13:47:17

They are being given a certain amount of money to 'pay' for where they are living. If the money goes to the landlord they are gaining the benefit of living in a house that are way beyond the dreams of most working families.

I am of course talking about people who have no one working for their household, of course they are looking but have for example not had a job for 12 months. When does the council start to look at moving them out of the area? Others would need to leave if they lost their jobs. I am wondering what is so different about people on benefits. Do they need protection in some way?

gaelicsheep Fri 15-Feb-13 13:48:06

Some people are implying that if moved to a cheaper area families on benefits will still be living the life of riley on £2000 a month. It is crap.

And I don't know how many times it needs pointing out that most housing benefit claimants are working people, in the case of London many of them are the people doing the essential public service jobs that you rely on.

I bring home around £2000 a month after tax. Why am I not up in arms about this like so many on this thread? Because I try to inform myself rather than allow kneejerk jealousy to take hold.

maisiejoe123 Fri 15-Feb-13 13:50:19

I agree with Rhiannon. Why are people on benefits a special case? Its not necessarily their own money which is funding where they live so should they be protected.

I have heard the argument 'well they have lived their for 20 yrs, need to help relatives with childcare or other such reasons.'

A family working and finding that they are then unable to afford to stay where they are due to loss of jobs will have no such protection and of course will have those reasons to stay too....

gaelicsheep Fri 15-Feb-13 13:52:34

You're happy for all essential public service workers to be chased out of London and the south east then?

maisiejoe123 Fri 15-Feb-13 13:54:27

My DB lives in central London - at nearly 50 he has brought an ex council 1 bed in a very central location. His neighbour - early 60's has never worked, she has the 3 bed next door to him for life. Occasionally she has a grown up son to stay overnigt. They are asking DB to help see if she can pass the flat onto her son when she passes away....

Surely this cannot be right.

maisiejoe123 Fri 15-Feb-13 13:56:21

Actually my brother is an essential public sector worker but it has taken him to the age of 50 to afford a flat in a central location that his neighbour has got for free and who wants to pass onto her son. I suspect it wont be allowed but honestly!

gaelicsheep Fri 15-Feb-13 13:57:08

Surely it's none of your business? Anyhow the bedroom tax will soon put paid to that.

You can't blame individuals for the flaws in the system. Yes it probably isn't right that a single person gets to keep a 3 bedroom house for life when there are families desperate for housing - that's a whole different argument - but that is not her fault. She probably is aware of the nightmares her son will face finding affordable housing in London and is trying to help him.

gaelicsheep Fri 15-Feb-13 14:00:46

Is he earning too much to qualify for housing benefit? I don't know what the thresholds are, but I expect there is a large number of people earning too much to qualify for help and too little to afford it one their own. That's the same elsewhere in the country too. Again though, that isn't the individuals' fault and that particular argument is purely about housing costs.

I am contesting the point that has been made that families on benefits de facto get £2000 a month for nothing. That is completely untrue.

wordfactory Fri 15-Feb-13 14:05:26

gaelic the majority of renters in London will be unaffected by the cap, so how will this mean public sector workers will be chased out?

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Fri 15-Feb-13 14:09:33

We moved north from a town 20 minutes outside London. Left behind friends, family everything. Why? Because we couldnt afford to live there. Rent was shockingly high and hard to manage on the crap wage at the job my DP had every single month would have been a struggle. We were just a little bit too high to be able to claim any HB (or at least any to make much of a difference).

It's not the worst thing that has ever happened to us. It was a struggle especially for our 4 year old who was home sick and missed Nanny but we did it and we're happy now.

Cant say I've got loads of sympathy for those living in Camden and other expensive areas who have to move now because their HB has been capped. I do sympathise of course but really it isnt the end of the world. It isnt inhumane. 100 years ago or less if they couldnt make the rent and had no money they would be shipped off to the work house. There are a lot more options to choose from now, thankfully.

maisiejoe123 Fri 15-Feb-13 14:29:08

I thought OAP's were exempt from bedroom tax. Maybe she has her hand out to gain even more having not EVER worked in her life.... Maybe she is teaching her son that you dont have to work to get a central London flat.... He doesnt work either - looking of course!

Why are we protecting people on benefits from moving and not giving others the same protection. If you cannot afford to stay where you are you have to move. If you cannot afford your mortage you have to move. Why so different for benefit claimaints.

And who ever offered council houses for LIFE should be shot! Surely they must have thought that a 5 person family once the children had grown up would go down to 1-2... Or maybe they didnt....

maisiejoe123 Fri 15-Feb-13 14:37:04

And just in case some are thinking I am making assumptions. I'm not, they are struggling to understand what they can and cannot do regarding passing the property over to her son therefore have asked DB for help in how to apply/write letters. They have said 'if you dont ask you dont get'. She doesnt see the irony in passing over a propery worth say £700k to the next generation who will do what she has done all her life - nothing!!

She also sees the property as her home. I do understand this bit. She has been there for over 30 years. However she is failing to grasp apparently what she has been given and would like to pass over to her son because actually according to her the flat is hers!

Gomez Fri 15-Feb-13 14:58:42

Some facts from the Building and Social Housing Foundation here

Key things to note

It is not possible to directly derive stats on working v. Non-working claimants. However using passported benefits and data where no applicant other benefits suggests a minimum of 17% of housing benefits claims had on working applicant. Someway from the majority often quoted on MN.

Also 1/4 of renters who are in work claim HB therefore 3/4 of working families who rent do not claim HB.

The same report however confirms both these proportions are rising fast.

Split between social tenants and private is approx 3.2 million social to 1.3 million private.

Typical HB claim is therefore for social housing in a non-working household.

Not the working poor being ripped of by a greedy slum BTL landlord as often portrayed.

gaelicsheep Fri 15-Feb-13 15:02:38

If it is only a small number of people affected, which does not surprise me, why do some people think all families on benefits get £2000 or more a month? Do they not understand the concept of maximum? If only a small number are affected, clearly there are NOT thousands of families living in luxury at the taxpayers expense. Who'd have thought?

chandellina Fri 15-Feb-13 15:05:59

Well fwiw the Camden councilor in the Guardian today denied that there will be any relocation to the north. The usual hysterical reporting by the Guardian.

NUFC69 Fri 15-Feb-13 15:34:23

The housing problem in London and the South East is simple to understand: what was the population in the 1970s in that area, and the number of houses? And what is the population now, and the housing stock? I could be wrong, but I guess the figures do not add up. It's simple - a matter of supply and demand, not that that helps, just saying .... And then, of course, there are much higher numbers of single people living alone too.

maisiejoe123 Fri 15-Feb-13 18:29:43

Really fed up of people saying that benefit fraud and the sense of entitlement some people have is only related to a few people.

Not worth worrying about.

People who choose never to work, choose to have child after child with no financial means of looking after them, who enter this country with the sole intention of having their handouts given to them witout any contribution. Who feel it is their right to stay in a council house long after their children have grown up because 'its their home' who choose not to work because its not worth it and benefits are more.

Those are the people we need to address...

And I speak as someone whose parents were not born in the country.

olgaga Sat 16-Feb-13 01:26:37

It's a real shame that people's ire is provoked by a tiny minority of non-working claimants who are living in properties they could never afford without huge state subsidy. These are not the "lifelong" residents of an area. They are people who realised they could live anywhere they chose through the LHA.

That's about to come to an end. There are very few people in this position, as the statistics I quoted upthread show.

As gaelic has pointed out, it's all a bit of a fuss about nothing.

Let me tell you something else - moving people out of London has been going on for decades. In the early days of the welfare state there was slum clearance. You didn't get a choice where you ended up. That continued through to the 1970s. In the 1980s young homeless families were routinely moved out of London to places like Margate, Hastings, Southsea, Medway Towns, parts of Essex etc where there were many existing cheap, empty properties - or estates were built for that express purpose, such as Thamesmead, Leigh Park nr Havant etc.

Until the LHA allowed people to rent privately wherever they chose, it was never an option to live where the hell you liked as a council/social housing tenant. You got what was available, whether you fancied it or not.

The whole point of the LHA was to allow people the freedom to live and work where they wanted to, and could find work.

It meant a tiny minority of people could abuse the system by choosing to live in areas regardless of expense or employment. But who cares about the statistics when there's an attention-grabbing headline and byline to be had?

Yes there will be families who are uprooted or disrupted as a result of these changes. but people's employment and family considerations are taken into account in the criteria for assessment. Many of those affected do not work and have no family in the area they chose to reside in, and they are the ones who will be moved - if any.

I really can't see that as any kind of outrage in the way it has been presented.

There will certainly never be a shortage of NMW workers in London. London has the highest proportion of council/social housing in the whole country - and in any case, it's full of students and immigrant workers for whom a spacious flat in a nice area just doesn't figure as a necessity.

People with disabilities, people who are carers who will get caught by the "bedroom tax" and the requirement to pay council tax, and the new regime of being paid directly on a monthly basis - these are the people who will really suffer from Universal Credit.

Sadly their lives are too mundane to catch the attention of Guardian readers.

JakeBullet Sat 16-Feb-13 05:16:19

Good post Olgaga.

Yeah dont get me started on Bedroom tax and how its going to affect those with disabilities etc.

merrymouse Sat 16-Feb-13 06:44:33

Personally, I am quite happy not to be paying over the odds to some dodgy landlord to live in a damp flea pit or living on a crime ridden estate, however handy that estate might be for shops and theatres.

London: it's not all nice.

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