[Ben Reeve Lewis explains the cap …]
I’m increasingly getting enquiries at work from both landlords and tenants about how the benefit cap will work.
Due in July, few seem to have gotten their heads around it, including the staff who have to assess it.
Benefit rules – an example
It works like this for a typical family with two children occupying a two bed house in my area:
They would receive, per week
- £240 in housing benefit
- £71 Income support
- £165 Child Tax Credit
- £36. Child Benefit
- Total £512
The cap will hold them to £500 per week maximum including housing benefit. Regardless of family size, so a two bed family will lose £12 per week on what they currently get overall.
If the family has 4 children in a 3 bed property the cap will lose them £79 per week. That’s a £342 per month drop in income.
Many landlords I am talking to have no problems with their tenants but with the cap coming they are not renewing the tenancy.
For their part the tenants I talk to have been looking for somewhere else to live but because of the cap, nobody will touch them with a bargepole.
So where will they go? The homeless unit of course. Benefit bill goes down, homeless bill goes up. What triple idiot dreamed that one up then?
Frazzles takes the commonly held view, why should they be earning more than someone who is working? Fair point but the issue I raise here is one of practicality.
Whether you are for or against the cuts on moral grounds the simple question is, where are they going to go when the landlord evicts them? Who is going to be paying to re-house them? We all are.
The Independent this week ran a story about how councils are now spending a fortune using Travelodge hotels to temporarily accommodate the homeless.
In the past year alone the cost of housing the growing numbers of homeless families has risen 25% to £91.1 million.
We are all paying for this
If the stated aim of benefit cuts is to shave £10 billion off the bill, their attempts to do so have driven the temporary accommodation bill alone up by around £20 billion, and this doesn’t even take into account the money spent on re-housing permanently. (Apologies to Joe Halewood if I got the numbers wrong).
This notion of cuts is completely daft in that there are no cuts, the costs just get pushed elsewhere.
Things are getting desperate and grim at the front end of housing services where I spend my days and its wearing me down frankly. So this week I’ve decided to look at what the posh people are up to.
Problems for posh people
Spare a thought for poor old Mr Gianni Versace who has been suffering a cap of his own, having to drop the selling price of his 24 carat gold lined swimming pool by $50 million . What’s the world coming to when a gold swimming pool isn’t enough to attract a buyer eh?
But if that isn’t enough to pull in the prospective purchaser how about the offer of a free Bentley? Estate agents Preston Bennet are advertising a 6 bedroom house in Stanmore @ £1.875 million with a car as an inducement.
In order to counter the abject misery I have to deal with on a daily basis I subscribe to American property portal Curbed, who send me a ‘House of the day’ by email, so I can see how the other half lives before I go into interview room number 7 and speak to a tearful woman who is about to lose her home who is being hounded to a point of suicide by payday loan companies.
This week they sent me a lovely charming little cottage in Key West at only $2,998 million.
Loads of money but no taste
The thing that always amazes me about seeing the homes of the rich on Curbed or in magazine’s like Hello is how fantastically tasteless so many of them often are.
Witness the weird pink reception area in the Key West cottage, all chandeliers and rugs.
And it isn’t just the Americans, Rat & Mouse spotted a lovely item this week in the advert for a property for rent in Sale near Manchester. The 4 bed house boasts a charming sculpture on the bedroom floor of a couple …….. well ………. shagging! Not to put too fine a point on it.
Forget the Bentley, I want the statue.
I was intrigued to see that the Kensington roof gardens have been sold to a German family who owns department store Liberty and more surprised to read that Richard Branson has been renting it since 1981 to host his pre Wimbledon tennis party.
A golf bore?
Back in the mid 1980s I was in the music business and attended a party there with a brace of rock legends, including Queen, whose manager Jim Beech also managed the band I was in at the time.
I was mightily impressed to find myself striking up a conversation by the buffet table with living legend Alice Cooper who I loved as a kid, only to spend 15 minutes bored to death as he wittered on relentlessly about Britain’s golf courses, a game I loathe with as much passion as he adores it.
Years of teenage fan worship reduced to glancing at my watch and looking over his shoulder for someone to rescue me.
Of course in these days of mobiles I could have discreetly sent a text to Frazzy saying “Quick, call me and say it’s an emergency. Alice Cooper is getting on my tits”. How many people could boast of such a message?
Finally back to Planet property who inform us that a decent penthouse apartment in London currently goes for around £140 million. The statistics on the sale of prime properties are also illuminating.
Apparently the price of all penthouse properties being sold in London right now is over £1 billion, which is double the government’s ‘Get Britain building’ fund and these sales bring in £70 million in stamp duty.
But if you think it would be lovely to be in the income bracket that could net you one of these things just think on the list of essential extras that these apartments come with;
- Bullet proof glass,
- Panic rooms,
- Air purifiers to counter poison gas attacks.
I’ll stick with my 1 bed flat thanks, although a panic room would be handy. I could hide in there when Alice Cooper drops by unannounced for a chat about golf.