London is seeing an exodus of poor people because they are unable to afford the reduction in housing welfare that comes with having a spare bedroom in their government subsidised property.
According to a report by The Independent newspaper, around 50,000 families were “quietly shipped” out of Britain’s capital since 2012, after the governing Conservative party implemented a radical change to the way and how much people would receive in housing related welfare if they lived in a property with spare rooms.
In Britain, people can apply and receive a place to live anywhere in the country if they are either homeless, jobless or earn too little to afford to pay rent on the private market. In 2012, the government implemented a limit into how much the local council would pay towards a property for
The act is dubbed the “Bedroom Tax” but it is actually an under-occupancy charge and a reduction in benefit payments. It touted to alleviate the housing shortage in Britain and cut the total spend on welfare on the UK’s balance sheet.
For example, if you are a couple with a child but have a three bedroom house, you would be liable to either have a reduction in the amount your receive in housing benefit or be relocated to a smaller property. Therefore, if you want to stay in the same place you have to pay the outstanding rent yourself.
If you have one spare bedroom, the ;amount of rent you can claim as housing benefit will be reduced by 14%. This would be further reduced by 25% if you have two or more ‘spare’ bedrooms.
So, if you were deemed to be living in a property with one spare bedroom and your rent is £100 ($US154) a week, the council would pay for £86 ($US133) and you’d have to pay £14 ($US22) yourself.
The Independent newspaper’s report said that between July 2011 and July 2014, councils relocated 49,789 families from London.
Some 2,707 families were moved out of Greater London to locations scattered across Britain, including Manchester, Bradford, Dover and Plymouth. The remainder were relocated to areas that are not in central London, and could take at least over an hour to commute into London.
In 2010, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson promised that welfare reforms would not lead to “Kosovo-style social cleansing” in the capital.
In response to the Independent’s report, Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said:
“It’s shocking to see in black and white the sheer volume of homeless families being uprooted and sent miles away from their local area. Imagine losing your home and then being forced to pack your bags and wave goodbye to schools, jobs, and everyone you know — this is the reality for thousands of families in London.
“It’s the housing shortage that has created this crisis, and the only way to escape it for good is for the next government to build the affordable homes we so desperately need.”
However, there is a divide over the necessity or the consequence of the Bedroom Tax when it comes to London. The average cost of renting a property in London is £1,413 ($US2,179) per month, according to Homelets data, for a private occupant with no subsidies. Some people have pointed out that relocation is not necessary a negative result of the Bedroom Tax.
However, judging by the tweet below, this opinion has raised the issue over “social cleansing” in Britain’s capital.
does it make sense for state to fund social housing in most expensive areas? Role of state as houser of last resort…But in zone 1?
— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) April 13, 2015