campaign to stop the capping of housing benefit in England
The capping of housing benefit in England will see thousands of families made homeless when their benefit no longer covers the rent.
Hi Shelly, great idea! We’ve already started this. You can get involved here: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/dont-make-more-people-homeless
I agree with Kila Millidine. fighting for a cap on rent would make more sense and have more chance of getting through.
Kila Millidine commented
If Housing Benefit is cut, tenants bear the brunt. If rent levels are reduced & controlled, landlords bear the brunt. It's true that the HB bill has risen wildly & is a problem that needs tackling, but I propose that our campaign should be for the re-introduction of rent control, rather than against HB cuts.
Rent control used to exist in the UK. Does anyone remember 'fair rents' or 'registered rents'? From memory, I think they were abolished in the late1980's. Since then, rent levels have escalated hugely because landlords can now charge whatever they want, so HB levels have risen hugely too.
If a tenant's HB is cut, their contractual rent remains the same, leading to rent arrears, other debts, poverty, harassment, lawful & unlawful eviction, loss of deposit & homelessness.
If a tenant's rent is controlled, their HB is also controlled. So, if a landlord charges £200 a week for a property, but the rent is controlled to £60 a week, the maximum amount of HB payable will be £60 a week. But the tenant will not bear the brunt because the controlled rent level applies to the property, so there is no point in the landlord replacing the tenant with another tenant, because the maximum contractual rent will remain at £60 regardless of whether the tenant has a HB entitlement or not. Obviously this benefits all tenants, not just those claiming HB.
The UK's private rented sector has grown expeditiously over the last few years for a number of reasons, but one major reason is the abolition of rent control, because that has lead to landlordism being very profitable indeed, largely at the expense of the public purse. Our enormous HB bill is benefiting landlords, not tenants.
If you look at any developed country that has a thriving and successful private rented sector, it controls rent levels. We do not, yet increasing numbers of us, particularly our young and our poor, are forced into the private rented sector. Now [with high house prices, a sluggish property market, a generation of indebted young, a decimated public sector housing sector & an ever increasing homelessness problem] is the ideal time to tackle this issue.
I urge 38 Degrees members to look into the re-introduction of rent control & mount a positive campaign to back it, rather than support a negative campaign [& one that we will not win] against HB cuts.
Perhaps time to update this and have a new petition. Concessions have been made for those fleeing domestic violence. But with councils now having to look at housing people wherever housing costs are lower, usually because no jobs etc, which will have the effect of creating ghettos for the poor, with all the implications for crime and gangs etc that we have seen before. Also, ripping people from all their social support, making them much more likely to cost the state with all the social problems that will cause, recreating the North South divide etc. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/22/2013-boom-year-bailiffs-slum-landlords for a better summary.
Great work Shelly ;-)
Zoe Bremer commented
We need proper rent controls so this cap would not be necessary.
to those who oppose this campaign i say rubbish we NEED TO STOP THIS EVIL PLAN from ever happening so well done johnny and keep it up
Frances Mulraney commented
It is outrageous that there are so many empty homes in the uk & yet so many desperate people needing decent housing. The issue on squatters rights needs to come into this campaign also. I firmly agree with Channel 4 highlighting this issue in their recent documentary (See: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-great-british-property-scandal/articles/about-the-campaign/ ) & feel strobgly that a national campaign to look at cutting through red tape & making more homes available by utelising & doing up the hundreds of thousands of empty houses we have. A campaign needs to be set up to look at the whole scandalous housing crisis that we have including: Empty Properties, Sqautting Laws, Second & Holiday homes, Buy-to-let schemes & low-cost funding.
Caroline Bowes commented
To reply to the criticisms of this campaign - what about those who do low paid work in expensive cities - where the work inevitably is? If they can't live within the area then they are forced to pay expensive travel costs which they can't afford on their low incomes or move to areas without employment and hence be less likely to get a job. Capping housing benefit is not the right answer. More affordable housing is the long term answer in my opinion. In the short term it would be fairer to cap the amount landlords are able to charge rather than cap housing benefits.
Still, saying that, I don't understand why 38 degrees have taken on this campaign while ignoring those with considerably more votes, such as the one's for retention for DLA.
That doesn't seem very democratic.
Not a great idea Johnny Chatterton!
So good to see so many common sense comments against this suggestion. NOBODY should be assisted to live in an area of their choice by the state. Nobody is entitled to live in a property which costs more to rent than the average person can earn. Nonsense!
im glad this as started keep it up
I agree with capping of housing benefits - people who own their homes would have to sell up and move if they didn't get another job / pay their mortgage so why should people renting just have tax payers pay very high rents for them to stay put. They will have to move elsewhere. However the capping should be looked at carefully and should vary from region to region,
the english man commented
Yes no problem let every one have loads of kids and claim benifit and we all can live in big houses and get everthing paid for, sounds good to me. Would be good to know the percentage of british familys claiming this. Not a lot me thinks.
Suits where the cheap houses are in the country is the same places where there is the highest levels of unemployment. Forcing people to quit their homes and move their just because they have lost their present job in the cuts is not going to help them get another job. For many on low incomes owning a house is impossible- losing their job could mean losing their house in many areas. It may not even be their fault they lost their job- just the cuts.
I notice the picture of the homeless man with a shopping trolley above the campaign info. Pathetic.
If you're under 35 in this country it's likely you will be living in a privately rented house or flat. You can be made homeless with just 8 weeks notice for any reason.
Seeing as NewLabours economic policy was entirely dependant on populist rentier capitalism, the tenancy laws never changed during their spell in office.
I agree with Chris. Instead of organising marches, students should organise Rent Strikes, flash mobs for if bailiffs come round.
keep the cap..
Chris Hemmings commented
The major problem here is that one of the major drivers of house price inflation was the fact that Housing Benefit has allowed a long surge in rents charged. If rents were drastically reduced house prices would follow and housing would cease to be the issue it currently is.
OK, so rather than a cap on HB why not organise a National Rent Strike for, say, six months. Force rents down. Unity, friends, is strength.
Terrible idea, which shows a complete lack of understanding as to the cause of the problem. Each year, landlords receive £21 billion in HB from the taxpayer. This number massively increased over the tenure of the last labour government. The reason for this was the massive mis-allocation of capital into residential property, fuelled by labours economic mis-management in allowing the biggest credit bubble in our history. Over a trillion pounds of extra mortgage debt was created, and we have nothing new to show for it. HB increased on the back of the bubble, landlords became rich and the voting home owners 'felt' more wealthy.
Landlords are not going to make money from empty properties. The sum number of properties is not going to change and the idea that on the horizon are hundreds of families who will move into and pay the inflated rents the landlords are currently receiving as a consequence of housing benefit is just a mirage dreamt up by those with a vested interest in maintaining the current system.
There are other campaigns to vote for in relation to the damage the NewLabour housing bubble has caused more worthy than this. I encourage people to hunt them out and vote for them.
I doubt 38degrees will support these campaigns, as it will involve criticism of the last labour governments economic policies.