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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?

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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