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Is the cap on welfare - well, fair?

(81 Posts)
Notsoyummymummy1 Mon 15-Jul-13 20:28:41

A £500 a week cap on the total number of benefits that households can received (not including disability benefits) is being rolled out today across the UK. The cap applies to parents and single parents whereas single childless people get just £350 a week. So basically you're better off living separately from your partner rather than living together! It's supposed to be motivating people to get back to work but it still doesn't deal with the problem of the lack of jobs, the cost of childcare and the fact that £500 goes a lot further in some places than others. It just seems to imply that most people are on benefits as a lifestyle choice when it's not the case - people are usually on benefits as a last resort and lots of families are going to seriously struggle now.

CharlieAlphaKiloEcho Mon 15-Jul-13 20:36:58

IMO it is not fair in every case no.

We are living in temporary housing after being made homeless last year and the rent here is classed as emergency rent and over 3x the normal rent of my LA.

I had no choice about living here (very grateful don't get me wrong) and have no chance of moving to a cheaper place either.

We are over the cap and the next couple of years are going to very very very tight for us. I am starting a job in september so it won't apply to me anymore but the very high rent is still going to cripple my minimum wage packet each month sad

The problem with the cap is that it doesn't allow for differing from the norm that they are apparently basing this on.

caroldecker Mon 15-Jul-13 21:03:21

£500 a week is equivalent to earning £35k a year pre tax - vast numbers of people live on this.

here shows that a couple with 2 kids on this income is in the middle income band (over a third of households are poorer)

pointythings Mon 15-Jul-13 21:46:19

I feel there should be a differential related to cost of living - i.e. the cap should be set higher in very expensive areas like London.

I also think something should be done about the private rental sector, it is at the root of so many problems in the UK.

Notsoyummymummy1 Mon 15-Jul-13 22:02:34

Yes but Caroldecker it's fundamentally unfair when housing and rental costs vary so widely across the country. £2000 PCM wouldn't cover your rent in London!

Meglet Mon 15-Jul-13 22:08:08

Probably not. But the Tories don't care about being fair, unless its to their banker mates.

TabithaStephens Mon 15-Jul-13 22:08:27

Yes it is fair.

caroldecker Mon 15-Jul-13 22:22:07

notsoyummy well move out of London - my partner and I both work and cannot afford London, so why should I pay for someone else to?

You cut your cloth to suit your means.

pointythings Mon 15-Jul-13 22:22:52

I also think it would be better if we had a living wage instead of a minimum wage - the benefit cap does nothing to address the fact that some people work full time and still need benefits from the state to make ends meet. It's mad.

The benefit cap as it is being implemented now is a political tactic to set people against each other. If it had been handled fairly and in conjunction with measures to make work really pay - such as addressing the cost of housing and childcare - it would be a different matter.

RonaldMcDonald Mon 15-Jul-13 22:31:15

it's all a smoke screen

most people don't get anything near that in benefits
good job Tories

purits Mon 15-Jul-13 22:32:00

London is sucking the lifeblood out of the rest of the country. I strongly object to my money being used to subsidise and perpetuate this system. I would be very pleased if more people thought that London was unaffordable and moved out. No way should there be a 'special case' for London rents.

lottieandmia Mon 15-Jul-13 22:35:31

The problem is that in the areas where this has been piloted there is zero evidence that more people are getting into if they are affected by the cap. So it's not doing anything except punishing some people and their children.

lottieandmia Mon 15-Jul-13 22:35:54

getting into work*

purits Mon 15-Jul-13 22:43:22

It's not only about getting people into work. If tenants know that they won't get an expensive rent covered in full then they won't take on that tenancy. Multiply that effect several times over and rents will have to drop, which means that house prices will drop. Everyone will end up with cheaper housing.
Which is what I thought everyone wanted.

RonaldMcDonald Mon 15-Jul-13 22:58:16

I'm unsure about the cap driving rents down
Where I live there is a huge amount of competition for rented property.
Rental prices have continued to rise year on year

It isn't people on benefits that are renting the majority of this housing, as there has always been a local housing amount agreed by the housing benefit office which always fell far short of the rent charged for decent areas or properties.

I think it will just make everything even more us and them iyswim

kilmuir Mon 15-Jul-13 23:02:42

plenty of money, if not enough to pay rent then find somewhere where it does

NiceTabard Mon 15-Jul-13 23:17:41

No it's not fair.
The answer to making work pay is to make work pay a living wage. Not cut benefits.
The cost of this will be much more in even the short term let alone the middle and long than paying the benefits.
Placing homeless families in B&B is more expensive than having a more permanent home. People will have to move away from eg family who they are helping (elderly relatives & neighbours etc) and working in the community. All that will be lost + support networks for people will be gone leading to problems. Children will be moved from schools poss to far away from eg GPs and other parents, friends and so on which may well not do much for them esp. if in poverty and being moved to less permanent accommodation without cooking facilites etc. Cost of moving presumably means people will have to leave lots of stuff behind? Not sure what happens with that. And of course housing is cheaper in places with high unemployment what is the point of moving unemployed people & their children to places with even less chance of getting a job?

Whole thing sucks.

I believe that society should be mixed, rich & poor, different religions colours politics all of it so that people know people who are not in the same boat and thus segregation and the eventual awful outcomes of "them & us" attitudes are avoided.

HorryIsUpduffed Mon 15-Jul-13 23:30:31

It's a nice headline but I think so many people will be excepted that it will be essentially meaningless.

You will still get the DM headline families whose benefit income is like a stockbroker's (because six of their children have disabilities) and people will still be starving.

Chippychop Mon 15-Jul-13 23:33:11

I do think £500 is a lot in bens and feel for the working families on less that. If I was on benefits in London yes I may consider moving out to a cheaper part of the country but if everyone did that who is going to do the low paid shitty jobs the rest of us don't want to do?!! They should not have sold off the council housing - all it's done is to make create a social
Housing problem.

edam Tue 16-Jul-13 00:02:42

There's a lot of spin around this, used to distract everyone from the truth.

One important aspect: out-of-work benefits are a tiny proportion of the overall benefits bill. Most of it goes to pensioners, and much of the rest to people who are in work but on poverty wages that don't cover essential outgoings, like keeping a roof over your head.

Another key point: the 'savings' generated by this scheme will be minimal in terms of the overall welfare bill. And largely illusory, as the costs will just crop up elsewhere in the system - it's far more expensive for councils to dump families in B&Bs than to pay housing benefit, to take just one tiny element of this mess. This policy won't benefit taxpayers in any way at all - it will very probably end up costing more.

Another important fact: the cap applies to households, the 'average earnings' figure the government is fond of quoting applies to individuals. They aren't comparing like with like - they are twisting the facts. (And people in work on low wages who have families are entitled to in-work benefits such as tax credits, so the total household income comparison is flawed in another direction as well.)

Another fact - there is a severe shortage of social housing and affordable housing, while rents are at record levels. This is not the fault of people who just want somewhere to live, and I'm not sure why they are being punished for the dysfunctional housing market and the failures of politicians. Well, I can guess, but I don't know why anyone who isn't a member of this government is prepared to fall for it.

I'm lucky I've got a mortgage and have had one for donkey's years - I couldn't afford to rent. I really feel for people who are stuck in expensive rented accommodation.

edam Tue 16-Jul-13 00:05:13

Oh, and moving to a cheaper part of the country sounds very sensible, until you realise that if lots of people move, prices will go up. And they will struggle to find jobs. Great idea, moving people out of work into areas of high unemployment!

TheSecondComing Tue 16-Jul-13 00:15:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

longfingernails Tue 16-Jul-13 00:22:51

It's certainly not fair. Cameron's liberal guilt - his fervent desire to appear likeable to the Toynbee and Huttons of the world - is no doubt responsible for the astronomically high level of the benefits cap.

Instead of trying to convert Islington luvvies, he should instead adopt a firmly working-class Tory agenda, focussing only on the swing voters in the swing constituencies who will decide 2015. He should certainly stop trying to court the BBC/Guardian/Mumsnet and other bien-pensant types.

Also, why is the attack on Labour so muted? Labour should be painted as the welfare party at every turn. They voted against even this ginormous cap; they should be derided for it loudly and often.

It's certainly worth voting UKIP in non-general elections, just to force Cameron's hand.

BMW6 Tue 16-Jul-13 00:23:25

Of course it is fair. No-one should be better off on benefit than working.

TheSecondComing Tue 16-Jul-13 00:25:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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