Cameron is playing on the myth all housing benefit goes to the unemployed

In a move heralded as ‘the end of compassionate Conservatism’, David Cameron will today announce drastic cuts to housing benefits.

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In a move heralded as ‘the end of compassionate Conservatism’, David Cameron will announce today drastic cuts to housing benefits.

David-ThatcherThose most affected will be under-25s and families with three or more children, as the government plans to cap benefits for big families and almost all under 25s will lose entitlement to housing benefit, on the assumption by the government that young people can return to their parents’ home.

Child benefit will also be limited to three children.

The Guardian reports:

The prime minister will claim there is now a damaging and divisive gap in Britain between those enjoying privileges inside the welfare system and those resentfully struggling outside. It is likely to be seen on the left as the death-knell for Cameron’s brand of compassionate conservatism.

He will also single out lone parents of multiple children as a focus for cuts and insist the welfare system should be a safety net available only to those with no independent means of support.

George Eaton, writing for the New Statesman, says Cameron is exploiting the myth that only the unemployed gain from housing benefit:

Cameron is perpetuating the biggest myth about housing benefit: that it is a benefit for the unemployed. The truth is that just one in eight claimants is out of work (not a statistic that you’ll find reported in most papers). The majority of those who claim housing benefit, including the under-25s, do so to compensate for substandard wages and extortionate rents.

recent study by The Building and Social Housing Foundation showed that 93 per cent of new housing benefit claims made between 2010 and 2011 were made by households containing at least one employed adult.

The inflated budget, which will reach £23.2bn this year, is the result of a conscious choice by successive governments to subsidise private landlords rather than invest in affordable social housing.


See also:

Why do ministers refuse to invest in a housing boost that would be great for the economy? 13 Jun 2012

Fraser “see no evidence” Nelson wrong on UK benefits generosity 8 Jun 2012

Britain 2012: Some families have only £2 per person per day for food
8 Jun 2012

Why child benefit must be removed from the benefit cap 23 Jan 2012

Exposed: The six myths of IDS’s benefits cap 23 Jan 2012


Meanwhile in the Independent, Owen Jones explains there is an alternative here:

If the government was serious about taking down the housing benefit bill, it would build social housing, phase in rent caps and introduce a living wage.

Gone are the days of Cameron’s insistence that “we are all in this together” as he unashamedly steams ahead with plans to favour the rich (in this case, private landlords who continue to increase rents without a state-enforced cap in sight) and turn his back on the poor. Perhaps we should be relieved that Cameron’s true colours are eventually shining through, as people begin to realise the true consequences for a country under a Conservative-led government.


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37 Responses to “Cameron is playing on the myth all housing benefit goes to the unemployed”

  1. Anonymous

    You’ve missed most of his “proposals”.

    * Removing benefits entirely from younger people who haven’t yet paid in
    * Removing some benefits from people who emigrate, even when they’ve qualified for them
    * Removing cash payments and replacing them with “in-kind” benefits
    * Massive additional slave labour “workfare”
    * Raising benefits by the LOWER of wages or prices
    * Time-limiting benefits
    * Kicking people out of council houses when their salary rises
    * Applying all changes to all claimants, not just new claimants
    * Slashing welfare payments outside London

    These changes will KILL by essentially making benefits, which are already VERY low not provide the basics of food and shelter to, potentially, millions. It’s going to trap people in abusive relationships too.

  2. Ash

    The figures relating to Housing Benefit are a bit bamboozling. We’re told only one in eight claimants is out of work; but according to the study linked to above, only 17% of claimants are *in* work. I think what must be going on is that c. 70% of claimants are pensioners etc., and therefore neither in work nor ‘out of work’ (in the sense of being counted as unemployed).

  3. Blarg1987

    Granted the benefits system needs reform, but so does that tax system to prevent loopholes, shame that the coalition and conservative policy is not to introduce carrots as well as sticks in any reform i.e. with the recent reduction in housing benefit to include a cap on rents and a more regulated area on private landlords as well as a new social housing building programme.

  4. Cookie Monster

    Cameron is playing on the myth all housing benefit goes to the unemployed, writes @LFFKatie:

  5. C Mueller-Stewart

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron is playing on the myth all housing benefit goes to the unemployed

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