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Do the planned caps on housing benefit go too far?

17:56 UK time, Thursday, 28 October 2010

Boris Johnson says the £400 a week cap on housing benefit will force families out of London. Should the government go ahead?

The Mayor of London said the new limits could lead to less well off residents being pushed out to the suburbs, and that he would not accept "Kosovo style social cleansing."

His comments have been criticised by ministers. Business Secretary Vince Cable accused Mr Johnson of using "inflammatory language on a difficult and sensitive issue." The Mayor has since said his words were taken out of context.

It's estimated that 21,000 people across the UK will be affected by the new caps, which reduce the amount families can claim for five, four, three, two and one bed properties. This includes 17,000 people living in London.

Will you be affected if the new caps go ahead? Do you think the government should continue with the plans?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

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Comments

Page 1 of 10

  • Comment number 1.

    The benefits should be capped because why should the rest of us pay for someone who cant afford to live somewhere?

    I fancy moving to somewhere nice on the south coast, will the government rent me and my family a nice place down there?

    In addition why should companies get away with paying people so little they cant afford to live?

    All the buy to let landlords greed coming home to roost, they are the on ones who have benefited from housing benefit!

  • Comment number 2.

    Well, I do not like to admit it - but I totally agree with Cameron on this issue - It is just totally irrational that folk receive housing benefits that amount to more than many hard working people can earn! How can taxpayers possibly be paying some folk up to £50K a year for housing costs?? It just bonkers -

  • Comment number 3.

    "Do planned cuts on housing benefit go to far"? is the HYS question.

    There are several issues with housing benefits:

    Those who work in high rent areas.

    Those who live in, and don't work AT ALL in high rent areas.

    Those who HAVE to live and work in high rent areas because they are nurses, paramedics, trainee doctors, cleaners, refuse collecters, shop workers, street cleaners, students. However, MPs claim for rentals!!

    It would appear that housing benefit has only risen and matched landlords' demands - yet not the other way around?

    For example: Nurses and students share housing - yet most occupy properties not fit for animals.

    Most major cities in the UK have the best hospitals in the world. However, most staff and students live in over-priced and disgusting rental accommodation and rarely claim housing benefit at all as they don't know they can claim at all.

  • Comment number 4.

    Whatever Boris says is usually nonsensical or just ridiculously stupid!
    If you are in receipt of Housing benefit and cannot find somewhere to live for under £400 per week you are insane! I am sure many students manage to live in London for a lot less as do many old age pensioners!

  • Comment number 5.

    A free market? I don't think so. Landlords have had a blank cheque for too long knowing they could charge what they liked and the local authority would have to divvy up.

    But the answer is to have social housing with the local authorities as landlords. A finite resource - yes, a prioritised one - yes. A time limited one - yes - why not?

  • Comment number 6.

    I don't believe it? I agree with Boris

  • Comment number 7.

    Tricky one this. The only real beneficiaries of huge housing benefit payments are the rich landlords, not the tenants as they don't keep the money. We are paying these wealthy people out of public funds.

    So the answer is to cap the rents.

  • Comment number 8.

    Unrealistic for Boris to say that the rich & poor can share the same patch of real estate. Unfortunately, Boris is right to set a cap because those who really benefit up to now are those paid for by Local Councils to the tune of £5000.00 plus per month to stay in London. And these are asylum seekers! We have got our priorites up the creek! This is an attempt to redress the issue.

  • Comment number 9.

    Here we go again, the HYS fascist rabble rants, if the Mail or the Sun said shoot all benefit claimants they would agree, why, because they are incapable of attention spans longer than the 20 seconds it takes to say all benefit claimants are scroungers.
    For once Johnson got it about right. This is an attack on people who are on low incomes and benefits. It positively discriminates and turns the clock back a century! Most people claiming housing benefit are working, did you hear that bit?
    The questions are not “why should tax payers fund housing benefit”, its about why do unscrupulous landlords get away with charging extortionate amounts knowing that the tenant is a claimer? The question is why have wages not risen in-line with everything else? Why is it the fault of workers that there are few jobs?
    Imagine if you have a family and got kids in school, other family in the neighbourhood and all of sudden you have to move, totally outrageous.
    This coalition is totalitarian, of that I have no doubt.
    Cameron’s Big Society, I finally now understand, is a big society to be ripped off by a minority. Stick this coalition, stick the Tories, and stick the libdems somewhere underground, a place near Drigg in Cumbria would be most suitable!

  • Comment number 10.

    £400 a week sems like more than a reasonable rent for a 4 bedroomed property. How high would be too high for Boris or is the sky the limit?

  • Comment number 11.

    £400 a week!!! That's a lot of money. I mean there are people claiming a £1000+ per week in housing costs, it's madness. No wonder so many immigrants head to London.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    The unfair part is that we can't use it to pay for our mortgage; even though our income is low enough. This is a big loophole.

    This benefits policy is useless to help unemployment people in recession.

  • Comment number 14.

    Just remember, it's not those on benefits that get the money. It's the landlords who pocket the cash.

  • Comment number 15.

    How about capping the amount landlords providing social housing for those on benefits etc can CHARGE as rent? Seems to me that the problem is that landlords know that they can charge whatever they want to local authority tenants as the authority will simply shrug and pay it.

    What's that? The landlords are loaded and vote Tory? Ah yes! It makes sense now!

  • Comment number 16.

    Why not cap the amount landlords charge for rent?

  • Comment number 17.

    Well Boris and Dave are quarrelling. I suppose Boris will replace Dave as leader one day so Boris might as well find something to stick Dave with. Probably, like Maggie the milk snatcher, the title for Dave will be Cameron the cleanser, or something similar. As so many posts on this subject are indicating: facts and reasons are irrelevant when soundbites and imagery replace argument and discussion.

  • Comment number 18.

    I agree with Cameron. The trouble is the benefit system has got so entenched that people just expect it as a way of life.

    Many hard working people HAVE to move out of London and live somewhere cheaper, which means a commute into work every day, while benefit claimants, some of whom don't work at all, expect their needs to be met with no effort from themselves.

    If someone lives in London and loses their job then they should be fully supported with all rent & mortgages etc paid for (say) up to a year. After that they move and look for work elsewhere.

    All my life I have had to go where the work is and move accordingly. I have had no choice, yet I see benefit claimants moaning when they are asked to move or find a job elsewhere.

    The Country benefit system desperately needs sorting out and the people complaining are - you've guessed it - benefit claimants. I wonder why??

  • Comment number 19.

    I do not think the limit is LOW enough, it should be no more than £200 per week and that is being generous.
    The Labour politicians are saying that the cuts will lead to 82000 households being kicked out and homeless, which raises the question of what will all those buy to let landlords do with their empty properties ??
    I am sure that eventualy they will either lower the rents they demand or flood the property market by trying to sell those homes.
    While standing empty they are a drain on the landlords resources.
    If they all try to sell it could well lead to a dramatic drop in house prices especialy in the London area which will benifit everyone except the greedy landlords.
    A lot of landlords are profiteering by continualy raising the rents they demand, knowing full well that the state will provide.
    Well its time the state placed meaningful limits.

    While being in favour of capping housing benifit I think another of the governments proposals is rather silly and will prove to be counter productive.
    This is the proposal to make single parents look for work when the youngest child reaches 7 years old.(I notice the BBC HYS has avoided this topic)
    Dont politicians realise that the unwelcome side effects of this will be that in a lot of cases, once the youngest child is 5 they will just get themselves pregnant again so they get another 7 years.
    The average woman can therefor look forward to at least 21 years living on benefit if she is so inclined.


  • Comment number 20.

    Sounds a bit excessive an amount there, even for London. It's meant to be a benefit to help those at the very bottom, that amount suggests it's helping those at the bottom with the basics plus enough for a few pints a night, if you can't manage on £400 a week you're probably doing something wrong.

  • Comment number 21.

    The government are doing well to get thses issues into the national debate. They are hard decisions but if you don't address them you end up in the situation we are in with massive public spending because nobody wants take those unpopular decisions.

    I agree that housing benefit should be capped. It is ridiculous, the amount of public money some people receive. Welfare should not be funding people to live in expensive locations or expensive property.

    However, the new measures should probably only affect new applicants. It would be unfair to expect people to move, certainly if they are pensioners.

  • Comment number 22.

    No, they don't go nearly far enough.

    My husband and I have worked hard and paid our taxes all our lives, but we have never been able to afford a house in Central London, so why should someone on benefit be given tens of thousands of pounds for the privilege?

    These people do NOT need £400 per week in housing benefit; look on the net and you will find there are many areas of the country where a four-bedroomed house can be rented for less than £200 per week.

    I'm not interested in where people want to live when I and others are paying their rent; if they don't like it they could always consider paying their own rent. Now there's a novel idea.

  • Comment number 23.

    ""Here we go again, the HYS fascist rabble rants, if the Mail or the Sun said shoot all benefit claimants they would agree, why, because they are incapable of attention spans longer than the 20 seconds it takes to say all benefit claimants are scroungers.
    For once Johnson got it about right. This is an attack on people who are on low incomes and benefits. It positively discriminates and turns the clock back a century! Most people claiming housing benefit are working, did you hear that bit?
    The questions are not “why should tax payers fund housing benefit”, its about why do unscrupulous landlords get away with charging extortionate amounts knowing that the tenant is a claimer? The question is why have wages not risen in-line with everything else? Why is it the fault of workers that there are few jobs?
    Imagine if you have a family and got kids in school, other family in the neighbourhood and all of sudden you have to move, totally outrageous.
    This coalition is totalitarian, of that I have no doubt.
    Cameron’s Big Society, I finally now understand, is a big society to be ripped off by a minority. Stick this coalition, stick the Tories, and stick the libdems somewhere underground, a place near Drigg in Cumbria would be most suitable!""


    Amen to that!

  • Comment number 24.

    Why did he have to say "Kosovo"? Once again the mayor of our capital makes us The Laughing Stock Of The World.


  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    Here is a plan. Something that may reduce housing benefit demand.

    Everybody working and paying taxes is granted a notional £1,000 per year into their personal 'Benefit Fund', so after working for 10 years you have £10,000. If you become unemployed or down on your luck you can draw on that fund until the fund is empty. After that you get NOTHING. One you start working again your fund starts getting topped up again.

    If you needed to claim benefits YOU can specify how much the state gives you. £10 per week or £1000 per week. It's up to you, but once the pot is empty you are living in the streets.

    When you reach retirement age a percentage of your fund is paid to you in the form of a 'Good Citizen' bonus. Those who have worked the most and claimed the least will get the biggest pot. The beauty of this is that it's also progressive – someone who spent his whole life flipping burgers at the minimum wage would receive the same as a millionaire. Someone who spent too long living off the state would get nothing. A hard working, tax paying, good citizen would get the full whack.

    There would also be no incentive to cheat on benefits as you'd only be cheating yourself. You could include unemployment benefit, housing benefit, child benefit, and probably many, many more benefits.

  • Comment number 27.

    9. At 7:05pm on 28 Oct 2010, DoleBoy wrote:

    Here we go again, the HYS fascist rabble rants,

    ......

    Stick this coalition, stick the Tories, and stick the libdems somewhere underground, a place near Drigg in Cumbria would be most suitable!


    Interesting plan about sticking them underground, I assume in the pushing up daisies sense, you would make a good fascist.

    What Labour and their apologists don't realise is that they've wasted all the money on giving scroungers £400+ a week to live on, also that extreme left wing ideologies can be just as fascist as extreme right wing ones. Oh dear, nul points.

  • Comment number 28.

    About time too. I have read too many stories in the press about migrants coming to this country and been given luxury homes in some of London's most expensive areas. I could only dream of living in Kensington and Chelsea. The cost to keep them would support a community centre for old folk and the like. People who have actually contributed to this country'swellbeing. I don't mind helping British people who are down on their luck, but the soft touch Britain of new Labour has to stop. So all power to you Mr Cameron end the benefit culture and stop this madness. After all I don't pay taxes to help those who have not contributed one penny in tax or done anything other than live of the likes of me.

  • Comment number 29.

    Im sure im not alone, in thinking it should be the banks and the landlords that should bear "grrr" the brunt of these cuts, banks by being convinsed to reduse mortgage payments and of course the private landlords who collect most of these benifits ie reduce rents, and apart from legalising cannabis this could go alone way to easing our peoples wohs.

  • Comment number 30.

    Well MPs can claim £400 per month just for food, plus rentals in London on top - and the rest - council tax, heat and light etc., etc. via the taxpayers.

    Do we know what Boris earns and claims for? Actually it doesn't matter. Boris is on a populist PR exercise. Are there some London Mayor elections coming up? Who knows - London, of course, is the only place in Britain - according to Boris et al.



  • Comment number 31.

    The rich have stolen our homes and now are now renting them back to us at ridiculous rents.Councils shoul buy up property and rent them out at affordable rates.They would cover the cost of the house in a few years.

  • Comment number 32.

    There are several issues at play here.

    1. Housing benefit certainly needs to be reformed; just why are people on benefits living in 4 bed detached houses?, all that should be provided by the state id basic level accommodation, nothing more.

    2. Yes, 20bn is an awful alot of money, but it is peanuts compared to the billions needed to bail out a corrupt and dysfuctional banking system and economy. one gets the feeling that the less fortunate in society are being used as scapegoats and made to pay for a failed, greedy, incompetent government and corrupt banking system.

    3. property prices are far too high; house prices were allowed to spiral out of control by both political parties to the point where ordinary working people cannot afford decent homes. A consequence is that rental prices have rocketed too thus costing the taxpayer billions, another government failure one might say. Thus private landlords are getting rich courtesy of the good old taxpayer - needs to be stopped asap.

  • Comment number 33.

    The UK is in a mess!!!!!!

    Soaring populations.
    People living and working longer.
    Housing becoming unaffordable for low earners.
    Job opportunities reducing.
    People relying on welfare as a lifestyle.

    Housing benefit should be reduced massively but who picks up the pieces? Id like to see no housing benefit paid to private landlords FULLSTOP!








  • Comment number 34.

    The cuts dont go far enough, ridiculous high amounts are being paid to claimants

  • Comment number 35.

    Caps are surely needed. 400GBP may be too low for London and it could result in hardship. But it inevitable and it may have a positive side effect. If people are forced out of these expensive places, it may help to correct the crazy house prices in London and thus - ultimately - make housing more affordable. The latter is one of the most urgent things this country needs.

  • Comment number 36.

    Those benefits, even at the lower end are more than most people take home a week.
    And more than I have taken home in a week in the last 39 years.
    Yet I and many more like me subsidize these people.
    Just shows how much the minimum wage is out of touch.
    I suggest you get on your bicycle and get out of London, and stop taken hard working peoples tax.

  • Comment number 37.

    I earn between 20-25K per year (depends how many bank holidays I have to work and overtime I do). I have looked seriously at jobs in and around the London area in the past which I am qualified to apply for.

    I compare the lifestyle I lead now and the sacrifices I (and my family) would be required to make if I attempted to move to London because of higher property/rental prices - sacrifices I am not prepared to make.

    My dreams of a better paid job with a higher profile city-based employer, being close to the facilities and cultural/entertainment opportunities that London offers are never going to come true (I have to drive 39 miles to the nearest multi-screen cinema). I suppose I could attempt to rent on the outskirts of the city - but no, I can't afford that either. I could live slightly further out but the commuting costs would be prohibitive.

    OR....perhaps I should just move in with an unemployed mate who lives in a council flat near the centre of the city. He is claiming well over 20K a year in housing benefit alone (more than my annual salary for a 40 hour a week job). He lives a nightlife that I could only imagine. He goes to the O2 Arena across town a few times a year, and hardly ever misses a good gig.

    He tells me that he applies for certain jobs but isn't prepared to do the kind of jobs available (well lets face it...would you?)- retail, local authority waste disposal (I have actually done that one myself), part-time employment. These jobs would affect his entitlement to benefits which help him maintain his flat (and his capital city lifestyle). He wouldn't be caught dead living the backward life away from the big lights. He would miss the "smoke" and it's "buzzin' atmosphere".

    I suppose, because he has lived there now for so long it would be cruel to ask him to move to a place which he could be comfortable in but on a much lower rent, a rent that would not be such a huge drain on already overstretched public funding. Public funding that, due to no fault of his own, he has NEVER contributed towards. Much kinder to let taxpayers keep stumping up the kind of rent that would bag me a 5 bedroom detached property in its own grounds (including stable) where I have to live.

    I'm just glad that, as the tax office curbs the quality of my family's lifestyle each month, it has the compassion to hand the money over to those who keep my mate in the lifestyle to which he (and many like him) has become accustomed.

    (......I would love to go to the O2 sometime.........)

  • Comment number 38.

    Absolutely not.
    What also adds insult to injury is that many of the people receiving this benefit are living in better conditions than those paying the taxes to cover the cost of their free homes.The priority should be cost not comfort.
    A take or leave it approach should also be used when allocating the properties.
    We have hundreds of social housing properties boarded up throughout the country because people are being allowed to pick and choose where they want to live in a free house.

    This capping plan is long overdue.

  • Comment number 39.

    I've said this before we are going back twenty-five to the Thatcher era here and whether you believe in what maggie done or not I think it's time to move on from those days. but again it looks like to me that its not the scroungers who gets hit most it,s the people who are entitled to it like the disabled etc so we are going back to the days of prejudice against the disabled

  • Comment number 40.

    The availability of seemingly unlimited levels of housing benefit has forced up rents and property values in London. I would love to live in London but I could not afford to rent or buy property there!
    Why should long-term unemployed people have the right to live in areas where they cannot find work? When I was made redundant, I had to move 200 miles from Kent to the West Midlands to find work, uprooting my family and disrupting my children's education.
    I hope that the cap on housing benefit will actually force down rents and save taxpayers building the fortunes of fat cat landlords!

  • Comment number 41.

    It is dole by the sea all over again, those who were forced out of the cities by Thatcher & co went on to ruin the fabric of sea side towns by turning upmarket guest houses into down market doss houses (Dwellings of multi occupancy), causing all the social problems and crime that goes with it. If there was more social housing built in the cities the rents would not so high thereby not forcing the occupants out of there homes.

  • Comment number 42.

    I find it quite shocking that people can claim £400+ per week in housing benefit, more than around half the population takes home from working full time. I couldn't afford to pay £200 per week for accomodation, and I work full time. Why should I subsidise people to live where I can't afford to? Besides, part of the reason that rents are so high is that landlords can get away with it, because the government writes a blank cheque. It would not suprise me if some people get to stay in their homes with reduced rent anyway, if they are good tenants. There is always going to be some areas anywhere where supply of good housing exceeds demand, and not everyone can afford to live there.

    Capping housing benefit is a start in terms of getting the benefits system under control. I absolutely agree with Cameron on this one, and I really hope he does not back down.

  • Comment number 43.

    This is so bizarre. Cameron, Cable and Clegg (sounds like a firm of dodgy solicitors!) seem to be arguing FOR Kosovo style social cleansing! Boris, unusually perhaps, being the voice of reason and clear thought recognising that chaos will ensue.

    Maybe I'll wake up soon and find Thatcher is still the PM, rejoicing in her vision that her policy of stripping councils of stocks of social housing would ultimately transfer the property wealth of much of this stock to private landlords, make houses unaffordable to first time buyers, fuel much of our recent property bubble etc. Oh, she never mentioned the last bit though as I recall!

    Well it proves the law of what goes around comes around doesn't it!

  • Comment number 44.

    I see from comments number9 and 23 that the lefties are outraged that limits are to be applied to the ammount their scrounging cronies can claim.
    They had it all their own way under 13 years of labour and now that the worm has turned they are prone to slinging the teddy out of the pram.
    I hope to see many more sensible reductions in the benifit system and many of the professional unemployed having to consider working for once in their lives.
    I just hope Cameron is strong enough to stand up to all the comming problems from the left.

  • Comment number 45.

    For probably the first time in my life I agree with a Tory!!

  • Comment number 46.

    "
    35. At 7:43pm on 28 Oct 2010, markus_uk wrote:

    Caps are surely needed. 400GBP may be too low for London and it could result in hardship.
    "

    Absolutely rubbish. £400 maybe low in Chelsea though, but few would be claiming benefits there unless they were dumbed there by some labour council outside the area.

  • Comment number 47.


    The flats will still be there; if not let to people on housing benefit it will be let to other people. I do not expect a massive migration to the country side just a major fall in rental prices.
    If there is some migration it may result in few less people commuting daily long distances to work in the capital, as they can now afford to rent in London. – Hey Presto a New Green Policy.

  • Comment number 48.

    "
    6. At 7:02pm on 28 Oct 2010, paddinton53 wrote:

    I don't believe it? I agree with Boris
    "

    Boris is Buffoon, he's clueless idiot. If Boris said the Sun was going the rise tomorrow morning, I'd have my doubts.

  • Comment number 49.

    They do not go far enough. There should be no such thing as housing benefit, unless you are disabled and unable to work, such as blind, in a wheelcagir etc.

    Not with an ingrown toe nail etc.

    Those of us in the real world commute to work, its time everyone learned that they cannot live where they work, if this happens to be central London.

  • Comment number 50.

    For £1,600 a month you can get a 3 / 4 bedroomed house in Zone 4.

    No-one on housing benefitshould be allowed to live in a house. they should all be put in high rise tiny flats. Give them an incentive to get to a house by working for it, like those that pay for them in society do.

  • Comment number 51.

    The price of housing in this country is insane ,i would object to our tax money going to incomers who have not paid a penny into the fund or else very little it should be pay in for at least 5 years before you benifit , the government should purchase the blocks of flats at a reasonable price ie council housing , and stop the payments for mps who get a very nice salary thank you . what a stupid country we have become .

  • Comment number 52.

    The fault of the lazy culture created by the benefit system has to be fixed.The people i know earn below 18 thousand a year before tax and ni.They buy the coronation street terrace type housing, or live on council housing estates paying full rent because they work.
    The labour goverment had 13 years to build new council houses and scrap the right to buy a council house.They did`nt,they supported private house building instead.Why should those who earn the a bove wage bother getting out of bed to work?The benefit system mocks the low paid working class and those that support the status quo are guilty of causing the neglected working class to turn to extremist parties like the BNP.Why should we be taxed to support those who see the paying of taxes deducted from a working wage as a burden they are not prepared to do.They want tax free,free money from the state.No civilization with out taxation and its no wonder that those in work stereotype and generalise those on benefits as being scroungers with children ruining riot on housing estates,going on the rob and buyin from the blackmarket drugs and counterfeit goods.The change can`t come fast enough.The poor have rich gap has become greater under labour because they gave people on benefits only money.They did`nt give them self esteem or self respect and no mentoring to guide people.

  • Comment number 53.

    "
    30. At 7:40pm on 28 Oct 2010, corum-populo-2010 wrote:

    Do we know what Boris earns and claims for? Actually it doesn't matter. Boris is on a populist PR exercise. Are there some London Mayor elections coming up? Who knows - London, of course, is the only place in Britain - according to Boris et al.
    "

    I cannot understand why the peoples' of London elected such buffoon; well, actually I can. It's great to watch Boris when it's London Mayor’s Question Time because he's so dumb and stupid, think Have I Got News For You, but in real life.

  • Comment number 54.

    Having watched BBC Panorama which showed the disgraceful conditions of the properties that some people have to live in I am at a loss to understand how local authorities do not have a system in place where properties are inspected before tenants are moved in and before a penny of Tax Payers money is handed over to deplorable landlords. Furthermore, I just do not understand why individuals with a history of not paying rent continue to receive Housing Benefits only for them to spend the money on other non essential items. I really can't find words strong enough to express how angry I feel to learn that people are in receipt of Housing Benefits in excess of my weekly wage (I work a 56 hour week and you can add on another 7 hours for getting to a from work and £60 in expenses). I really don't care who these people are or what situation they are in, if they cannot afford to live in the 'Big Smoke', move somewhere else, find a job and stop sponging of the likes of me.

  • Comment number 55.

    Do like most working people do if they have work in a high cost area.

    They live in a cheaper area and commute.

    It's not rockect science

    I'm sure thats what cleaners do who work in london.

    So why can't people on benefits?

    Why should a person on benefits live in a larger house in a expensive part of town when the average working family can't afford the same.

  • Comment number 56.

    "
    31. At 7:42pm on 28 Oct 2010, valtos wrote:

    The rich have stolen our homes and now are now renting them back to us at ridiculous rents.
    "

    Yeah that's right, of cause they have. They also eat babies, boil kittens and make human scarifies of the unemployed to Mrs Thatcher.

  • Comment number 57.

    What if Tower Hamlets was the setting for a blockbuster film and the area became a trendy place to live, with soaring house prices? Would be under-priveleged then be forced to live elsewhere?

  • Comment number 58.

    It is a sound idea, buy to let landlords have made gross profits at the taxpayer's expense. People haven't gained from it. However to apply it needs a lot of joined up thinking and there is no place for David Cameron's schoolboy political theories.

  • Comment number 59.

    I think there should be a limit on what you can claim. Like if you are on benefits and have another child why should you get a bigger house.

    I know of least 3 people who have down this, they had another child forcing the council to house them in a bigger house, and all of the 4 beds in our area are nice houses over 450K

  • Comment number 60.

    Housing benefit is not just paid to unemployed people but also to people on low incomes. The rich in London are going to suffer: where will their cleaners, personal trainers, waiters, sandwich makers and shop assistants come from when all those who are on benefit because of low incomes have to go to the suburbs and won't be able to afford to commute into the city!

  • Comment number 61.

    The reason Housing Benefit is so high is because there is a lack of Social Housing.
    Had the Gov's of various colours not let the housing stock dwindle (sell offs) there would not be a shortage, and the rents would be reasonable.

    London has a rate that is set to reflect the local market and the needs of the claimants, the same as the rest of the UK, however where I live the average rent for a 2 or 3 bed house is £400 a MONTH not £400 a week.

    Only people on benefits can afford (because they get the rent paid for them) to pay £400 a week. A shop worker or low wage earner has no hope of affording that sort of rent out of £200 a week wages.

    The people this will affect will be people on benefits, and that will mean they have to move out on London completely or possible out of southern England.
    Do we really want to exclude that many people from living in London, and dividing families?

    Boris was correct as were a few others, this is ethnic cleansing by any other name, only the ethnicity is being applied to a social class not an ethnic group.

  • Comment number 62.

    I agree with Cameron 100% and it is past time that benefits were cut and housing benefit capped. Me and my husband can never hope to live in such luxury as these people in London are taking for granted and the landlords are laughing all the way to the bank. Enough is enough. Why should people like us living on minimum wage, scraping a living and struggling to pay our mortgage on 3 days a week work, have to pay taxes to fund their lifestyle. If we become unemployed and were going to lose our house, the government would care not a jot or the local housing department and if we had kids that would make no difference either. there again we are workers which is a dirty word in this benefit culture society.

    Why is London a special case? These people should never have been housed in these over priced properties in the first place.

    I will be disgusted if the government and David Cameron back track on this policy due to the pressure from some MP's.

    Time to consider Taxpayers for a change ! Long overdue in my book!

  • Comment number 63.

    We cannot afford as a society to pay housing benefit at this level. Even £400 a week cap is crazy. We need more social housing built in every authority now to help stimulate the economy and provide income for councils. Thatcher's right to buy which helped fuel the credit boom in the first place has delivered another huge bill we are paying for and inhibits the movement of people to find work.

  • Comment number 64.

    At 7:11 Cogin wrote: Just remember, it's not those on benefits that get the money. It's the landlords who pocket the cash.
    Not quite right on that one mate. Housing Benefit can be payed to the individual. I know a number of individuals who have been evicted from social housing due to non payment of rent. BBC Panorama highlighted this very fact.

  • Comment number 65.

    The proposals don't go far enough.

    A cap of over £1600 a month is more than generous. Notice that the BBC always say £400 per week because it sounds more reasonable. Personally I would cap it at £1000 per month.

    It is ridiculous to expect everyone else to pay for people to live in expensive areas.

    And BBC while your at it, why not get Panorama to look at the concentration of sub-letting of social housing in expensive areas of the country.

    The Conservatives should stick to there guns.

  • Comment number 66.

    When will MPs stop claiming housing benefit? Oops sorry, housing allowance, food allowance, council tax allowance, private health allowance, travel to work allowance, subsidised House of Commons restaurants and bars.

    Seriously, we know that MPs, MEPs, Lords and Ladies are STILL taking the rise out of the taxpayers.

    Sadly, this debate is about cuts in housing benefits. Housing benefits are abused by landlords and claimants alike. Unfortunately, those low paid workers in essential services, invariably never claim because they don't know they can.

    Plus, 'professional' benefit claimants in high/medium/low rent, or any rate rents areas that are self-employed and run various undeclared business, yet don't work according to their housing benefit or any other benefit claims. Mostly, young and healthy males?

    Am I being sexist about young and healthy males living on benefits and running undeclared business. Yes.

  • Comment number 67.

    "
    57. At 8:10pm on 28 Oct 2010, timbo1961 wrote:

    What if Tower Hamlets was the setting for a blockbuster film
    "

    What like Notting Hill?

  • Comment number 68.

    Usual Tory tactics of playing one group of lower paid off against another. The low paid on housing benefit are not all out of work scroungers as we are led to believe. Many, in fact the majority, are in work.
    The whole problem has arisen largely due to the fact that Thatcher sold off the council houses in which these people lived, this caused a shortage of cheaper housing and so private landlords could increase rents.
    There is a need for low paid workers in all areas to do essential work, many will not be able to afford to travel if they are forced to move away. The next thing will be a shortage of workers in more affluent areas and in order to find staff travel expenses will have to be paid by councils and employers.

    Many comments here support the proposals as they object to paying these astronomical rents for people in a similar situation to themselves. The fact that the rents are so high is not the fault of the tenants, they are often asked for huge rents for substandard housing.
    Our anger should really be directed at all the members of the cabinet who dodge paying taxes with the use of tax havens and all the other scams they get up to. We are constantly told we must save money, fair enough, so why then are we being told it must come from the lowest paid.
    As a tax payer I am far less annoyed at assisting the poor to have a reasonable house rather than facing homelessness than I am by the super rich who do all they can to find every tax dodging loophole going. If the government really thought we are in a desperate plight then they would close all these loopholes and stop using them themselves

  • Comment number 69.

    Quote "33. At 7:42pm on 28 Oct 2010, LINEnLENGTH wrote:

    The UK is in a mess!!!!!!

    Soaring populations.
    People living and working longer.
    Housing becoming unaffordable for low earners.
    Job opportunities reducing.
    People relying on welfare as a lifestyle.

    Housing benefit should be reduced massively but who picks up the pieces? Id like to see no housing benefit paid to private landlords FULLSTOP! " /end quote

    And where would the millions of homeless go to be housed?

    There are no Council Houses the Tories sold them off (the ones worth buying) and the ones that were left were handed to Local Housing management companies and Housing associations.

    The waiting list for a House in Leeds or Bradford is over 2yrs long, Doncaster, Barnsley, Sheffield and Rotherham do not even operate a list, you cannot get a house unless your referred by the local council as in "need" and homeless.

    I can imagine that the areas around London are similarly short of housing stock.

    There will be a lot of homeless people if your way of thinking is implemented, but that's OK you can spit on them as you drive past in your big flashy car.

  • Comment number 70.

    Whoah,whoah, whoah, sweet child of mine!!Was it not the case in the 1980s that a Mr Norman Tebbit told us plebs from the Midlands and the North to get on our bikes to find work and move south? Surely the same principle applies here; If someone who isn't working is claiming over £400 per week for a property in London, or wherever for that matter, ( do I hear Sandbanks ?) and that is capped ,then they should do what probably millions of my compadres did and move their butts to somewhere more appropriate.Did those economic migrants from the 80s have someone defending their corner ? I think not.There has to be a caveat though, for either those who are working, or maybe those on a pension, although loads of retirees who have property sell up and move to a less expensive area to maximise their income.

  • Comment number 71.

    Boris is a very bright bloke - he's no buffoon - but he's dead wrong on this. Although I think he's just electioneering; it'll do him no harm at the polls to see to oppose Cameron. Four hundred quid a week is four hundred quid a week too much - and please, Leftie morons, try to remember where the money comes from? TAX. Every family on two grand benefits a week is keeping another dozen *working* families in hardship. I know people - KNOW people, not a Daily Mail story - who do not work, have never worked, and this half term are holidaying in Mexico. That's wrong, full stop. That should never happen. It is simply *wrong* that my family is seeing half our income grabbed by various taxes, and that those who contribute nothing live like kings...

    I'd vote for the total and instant abolition of the welfare state. And I dont' give a damn if crime were to explode, 'cus at the same time I'd like the Bill of Rights put above ever subsequent scrap of repressive legislation.

    T'won't happen, Cameron's a social democrat, not a conservative. We're under lefties in blue rosettes, and it says something that they quiver and whimper at the idea of creating the "hardship" of moving out of Kensington...

  • Comment number 72.

    Now lets see; £400/week = £ 20 800/year in housing benefits.

    Minimum wage; £5.95 / hr = £ £12 376 / year for a 40 hr week.

    Far better to sponge of Boris and enjoy the housing benefits.

    Cheers Boris. Oh, forgot, cheers to all you honest hard working tax paying citizens. Fancy standing for Mayor of London ?

  • Comment number 73.

    The Tories sewed the seeds of this housing mess with their 1980 Housing Act. By significantly reducing social housing they both created this issue and undermined local government finances in one go!

    If you don't remember that far back, do some research!!!

  • Comment number 74.

    If the housing benefit can be paid to a landlord to buy their house by paying the mortgage for them why not just buy the house then when the family in it moves on the government owns a house by not having wasted it on buy to let landlords as the middle man.

  • Comment number 75.

    No-one rants with more indignant vehemence than those who appear not to have a clue about what they're talking about. Of the housing benefit claimants in London many are in fact working, many are disabled, many are elderly and only about 12% are technically 'unemployed'. It is the lack of affordable accommodation, the absurd level of private rents - many of the properties that are available to Housing Benefit claimants are of very poor quality - if anyone is creaming the system it is the landlords. Typical of the Tories to punish the victims, whilst the guilty get a pat on the back.
    NASA is currently considering sending colonists to Mars on a one way trip - do we get to nominate?

  • Comment number 76.

    Mr Kuradi Vitukari - no they do not eat babies or boil kittens but they have invested in buy to let property because its a better investment than the stock market.Whats worse is the government sat back and let it happen.That is why the housing benefit has doubled in the past few years.

  • Comment number 77.

    no the cap goes no way near far enough, and as for benifits being capped at £255000 a year thats a disgrace as well, someone who works would need to earn well inexcess of £35000 year to get this level of income, benifits should be capped at 35% of national average wage

  • Comment number 78.

    Sounds like the life of Riley at the moment : London 4 bed house, tax free benefits. People retiring early don't get that standard of living!


  • Comment number 79.

    For once it seems that people on this HYS are on the right track. It is the private landlords that are the root cause behind these excessive rents. When my daughter was at university the private landlords would charge right up to the full amount of the student loan leaving nothing for food or books, of course the parents would have to stump up to cover these items. Some of you may say that is only right, but on my daughters course and my sons course there were many gifted students from poor backgrounds who had to quit university as they could not afford to live, and part time jobs are not easy to find in university towns, these students were denied a future for themselves and ultimately us as society lose out because of private greed. Not only do private landlords charge excessive rents there are some who own whole streets of accommodation. So I'm glad for once with the Condems taking this course I hope it will go some way to getting the U.K. on a balanced footing so that we all can benefit in the long term. A step in the right direction.

  • Comment number 80.

    Neighbour of mine brought a house to let in Birmingham.He will only let it to people on benefit as he knows he will get paid and can charge what he likes.

  • Comment number 81.

    Right behind you on this one David,can you not make it £400 a month.

  • Comment number 82.

    Dave 1506 your comment is too logical

  • Comment number 83.

    The cap is not low enough!

    The cap needs to be set on a regional basis to reflect the level of rents in each area.

    A cap of £1000 per month for inner London and £600 per month elsewhere would be enough.

    I had to rent out a 3 bedroom property I could not sell due to the property market collapse and only got a rent of £595 per month so £1600 per month is way to high for areas outside London.

  • Comment number 84.

    Unless a lot of people on both sides tone down their language and attitudes, there will be a social disaster in our country.

    It is wrong that non-working people can have thousands paid in housing benefit on their behalf, enabling them to live in accommodation and areas that most working people can't afford.

    But it will also be wrong if working people on housing benefit, including their children and old and sick relatives, are evicted from their homes, probably losing their jobs because they have to move away.

    The answer is compromise, the blunting and blurring of rigid principle - unpalatable to many, but the way forward for our country. As a start, I hope Cameron and Johnson have already begun talking seriously to each other.

  • Comment number 85.

    Of course the benefits should be capped. Just because I would like to live in an expensive part of the country does not mean that my fellow taxpayers should subsidise me. I had to enter the housing market many years ago in one of the cheapest areas of the country where prices were affordable and took it from there. Rents went up in the capital because landlords realised that unlimited housing benefit would pay them the higher rent!

  • Comment number 86.

    I worked like a madman to pay off my mortgage, which I managed to do a couple of years ago. Commuting 74 miles each and every day to and from my place of work for 15 years, until I was made redundant in 2009. Only to discover that someone I know from way back has not worked for 8 years and as a better lifestyle than me, all paid for by you and I, including the rent for a nice city centre flat. Why doesn't he work despite been perfectly fit. Simple. All his benefits would go, he'd be worse off in the pocket and he would have to move out of his flat. Now who is the mug here? Don't answer the question. I think I know the answer.

  • Comment number 87.

    "78. At 8:41pm on 28 Oct 2010, hudjer wrote:
    Sounds like the life of Riley at the moment : London 4 bed house, tax free benefits. People retiring early don't get that standard of living!"

    Now Fred the shred Goodwin born 17th August 1958 retired from the Royal bank of Scotland with a much higher standard of living! thus we can all choose arguments to support a different point.
    The only thing that bothers me is when they move someone out of a property where it is actually cheaper than a rented room for the person to stay there.



  • Comment number 88.

    The state, and the dependence on of MILLIONS, has to be radically reformed to force and/or encourage people who can to take responsibility for their own lives. The safety net must obviously be there for the genuine in need of state support. This will involve short term pain, but WE as a country CANNOT go on like this and give out money which we don’t have. The tales of the Magic Money Tree that Clown Brown and the last incompetent 'government' told us stories about are for children, we have to grow up and growing up involves pain, sorry but that’s the truth. The delusional left heads must be removed from their posteriors. This must just be the first dose of the new medicine and the new politics that is of the 21st century, not last century socialism.

  • Comment number 89.

    If the housing benefit can be paid to a landlord to buy their house by paying the mortgage for them why not just buy the house then when the family in it moves on the government owns a house by not having wasted it on buy to let landlords as the middle man.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    No Fault Found.

  • Comment number 90.

    It infuriates me that whenever this subject is brought up, the immediate response is "Benefit scroungers should just get on their bike and move to where there is work."

    This argument doesn't work for two reasons;
    A) There is no work ANYWHERE for the most part, so how would moving help in a lot of cases? My partner's workplace recently shut down, and as the industry he works in is dying slowly due to the recession (it's a position in the leisure industry, which few people are willing to spend money on right now) jobs are few and far between.
    B) How can people who have no money in the first place afford to move? Especially if there are no council/HA places where you live. About 50% of private landlords/estate agents refuse DSS automatically, the rest charge astronomical deposit/initial fees - I looked at a house the other day and was asked for nearly £2000 upfront on a 500-a-month house! How is someone on benefits supposed to get that sort of money without getting hugely into debt they can't afford?

    I was very worried about the cuts when they were announced, as our HB literally only just covers the price of a two-bedroom house in our area, but as it's nowhere near the massive amount of 400 a week we're going to be fine.

    Personally, I'm much more worried about the potential capping of HB if the claimant is on JSA for over a year. My partner's workplace shut down not long ago, and we live in a rural community so unless you drive, work is scarce. The other day, I applied for a job that had nearly 300 people apply for it. How are either of us meant to find a job in a year?
    When I was younger I was on JSA for FOUR YEARS because no matter how many jobs I applied for, nobody would hire me as I was 18 and had "no experience". And I imagine it's much, much harder to get a job now, with sometimes hundreds of people applying for one position ...

    The 400-a-week cap is fine by me, imo nobody should be charging that much unless it's some sort of mansion.

  • Comment number 91.

    "Just remember, it's not those on benefits that get the money. It's the landlords who pocket the cash"

    Agreed, but this is all the more reason to cap the payments. I expect once they do that rents will actually fall as landlords will not be able to get £2000 per month from the private sector. After all, anyone working who can afford £2000 per month is likely to buy not rent. Housing Benefit and especially Labour's disasterous Local Housing Allowance scheme has been a charter for greedy landlords to charge well over the going rate for poor quality houses in the knowledge that the taxpayer will pay (again not the tenant's fault).

  • Comment number 92.


    Lord-Mayor Boris's landlord friends in the rip-off rental market must be rubbing their hands after his latest statements.
    He'll ensure they don't lose out under proposed legislation to save the taxpayer billions.
    Maybe Londoners should be looking for a new lord-mayor sooooooooon.

  • Comment number 93.

    The whole point of giving support is to subsidise people who cannot afford the basics, not the luxuries! I came from a country where the income support is only around GBP400 a month for a family of 4, if you don't think it's enough, you need to find the money elsewhere.

    We are Chinese immigrants living in London for several years already. Me and my partner live in a 2-bedroom flat on the edge of East London. We travel to work everyday and pay tax like everyone. Our rent is 850 a month - much less than the cap proposed by George. We can't afford to live in Chelsea or Hampstead, so East London is equally good for us, and we feel proud of being able to live independently of any state benefits, no matter how people feel about us as foreigners.

  • Comment number 94.

    Why should an ordinary bloke, struggling to pay the mortgage on his two bed house in South Croydon, be forced to pay for anyone unemployed to live in an area he himself could never afford? Is that fair?
    All of us would live off the Kings Road or in Covent Garden if someone else was paying the rent. Alas, they are not.

  • Comment number 95.

    How much??? I don't get paid that much and I work for it. Something wrong somewhere...

  • Comment number 96.

    27. At 7:38pm on 28 Oct 2010, betahail wrote:
    9. At 7:05pm on 28 Oct 2010, DoleBoy wrote:
    Here we go again, the HYS fascist rabble rants,
    ......
    Stick this coalition, stick the Tories, and stick the libdems somewhere underground, a place near Drigg in Cumbria would be most suitable!
    Interesting plan about sticking them underground, I assume in the pushing up daisies sense, you would make a good fascist.
    What Labour and their apologists don't realise is that they've wasted all the money on giving scroungers £400+ a week to live on, also that extreme left wing ideologies can be just as fascist as extreme right wing ones. Oh dear, nul points.
    ....................................................................
    You missed the point “Here we go again, the HYS fascist rabble rants, if the Mail or the Sun said shoot all benefit claimants they would agree, why, because they are incapable of attention spans longer than the 20 seconds it takes to say all benefit claimants are scroungers.” To complex for you I guess! You amplified my point perfectly, that you ignorantly believe that all housing benefit claimants are scroungers, when in fact most housing benefit claims are from workers!
    As for a deep hole in Drigg there is plenty of room. As for your point \\ that extreme left wing ideologies can be just as fascist as extreme right wing ones.// exactly right, and I'm neither.

  • Comment number 97.

    I know the situation here in Britain 2010,is no perfect analogy for the situation in Germany in the 1930s.
    But there are similarities.
    The German people blamed the Jews for all of their problems.The politicians told them so,and had the perfect solution.
    What is so different from Germanic people and British people?
    We believe everything we are told,everything we read.
    The Jews caused all of the problems facing Germany.
    People living on State benefits are,so we are led to believe,are causing all of our problems.
    Have you got the idea?
    Not our Financial experts,our Politicians fault.
    Do not blame people who have money.
    Just blame people who do not have money.Target them.They need to be punished.

    God forbid,we ever elect a Politician,prepared to say,he/she resents obscene Salary /Benefits/Pension packages? And is prepared to do something about it.

    Greed is good.Claiming benefits is bad.

    End of story.

  • Comment number 98.

    The only beneficiaries of the current policy are landlords. Of course it would not be a problem if there was a plentiful supply of council housing and councils could buy more as the demand for them arose. Then they would only be subsidising themselves.

    Boris is right however, the policy is intended to force all sorts of poor people into out of town ghettos. I can see the argument about being unfair to those in work but there is nothing fair about making those who have put down roots in a community being exciled until they secure a work permit to return.

    Maybe the Councils need to use this as an opportunity to buy and improve run down housing and become landlords again. But somehow I feel that this might offend the party supporters. Shame on the Lib Dems for supporting Social Cleansing of this kind.

  • Comment number 99.


    The vast majority of Londons workforce, do NOT live in London they can't afford it, they commute.
    They've had to buy grotty properties way out in the sticks in places like the Medway and sit for 2 or 3 hours a day stuffed into cattle wagons travelling to and from work.
    Feeding the evil GREED of the train companies investors and incompetent management.
    So why should these low wage taxpayers fund others to live in Million pound properties, even TORY Westminster council think its a disgrace.

    Boris wants to get a brain, he sure as hell did get born with one.




  • Comment number 100.

    I will feel very sorry for folks who are trying their hardest to support themselves in fairly low paid jobs who are claiming housing benefit and happen to live in a decent area. There are some people who are trying to make ends meet in difficult circumstances. We shouldn't all be so willing to condemn everyone on state support. I just wish we could do something about the totally feckless individuals and families who refuse to work, cause trouble for their neighbours and laugh at the rest of us for supporting them and their problematic offspring. On my street it is mainly owner-occupiers apart from about 8 or 9 houses that are converted to flats and are housing a few dubious characters. Their untidy front gardens and the noise pollution that emanates from within their walls identify them as the local riffraff along with the litter and fag ends that lie on the ground by their gates. These are the people who clearly do need to be booted well and truly back into the sewers they managed to crawl out of. The councils, local Police, social services and private landlords know exactly who they are. They are the ones who don't deserve to live in the nice areas. David Cameron wants to make it pay to work. We need people to be in these low paid jobs so I have no problem paying my taxes to help them out a little. I don't however, want to pay able-bodied work-shy dropouts live the life of Riley.

 

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