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Cameron not budging on Housing Benefit changes

Against strong opposition from Labour MPs and risking backbench rebellion Prime Minister David Cameron said ‘I know you don’t like we’re speaking to our plans, but we’re sticking to our plans!’ These changes have been met with both approval and disapproval by different sections of the public; one of the most vociferous being Mayor of London Boris Johnson who clashed with the Prime Minister over the ‘Kosovo style cleansing of London’

Here are the rules as they currently stand:

A benefit cap of:

  • £250 for a one-bedroom property
  • £290 for a two-bedroom property
  • £340 for a three-bedroom property
  • £400 for a four-bedroom property

The coalition have also planned to limit housing benefit at £400 a week for a four-bedroom home, and cut payouts by 10% when people have been on jobseeker’s allowance for more than a year.

Although these measures are likely to cause upheaval, particularly families living in London the ConLib Coalition have called the new rules ‘fair’.

Leader of the Opposition Mr Miliband told the prime minister: “You are about to make 500,000 people redundant. Your policy on housing benefit is a complete shambles. In London councils are saying 82,000 people will lose their homes. How many people do you think will lose their homes as a result of this policy?”

To mitigate the disruption the coalition has put forward the following proposals:

  • A commitment to build an extra 150,000 social homes in this parliament
  • Ending the right to a council house for life with new shorter tenancies for families on waiting lists
  • Higher social rents which could be 80% of the market rent
  • A cap on housing benefit of about £400 a week for a house rented in the private sector
  • A 10% cut in housing benefit for anyone on jobseeker’s allowance for more than a year

From April 2012 the age threshold for the shared room rate will rise from 25 to 35.

It would appear some of us are in for a rough ride, particularly the working family on low income, perversely, it may even mean the pressure on housing stock will ease as a result of people being unable to pay the higher rent or move away from cities.

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