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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 July 2015

Low-income tenants face rent hikes

Cap rents, not benefits

Cap rents, not benefits   (Click to enlarge)

The Tory government intends to slash housing benefit (HB) for low income households. And because rent controls have long been abolished, it will mean a substantial cut in people's living standards, already struggling to pay household bills. It will also increase evictions and homelessness for tenants unable to pay their rent.

This vicious measure will destroy people's lives. It was drawn up by millionaire welfare minister Iain Duncan Smith - who lives rent free in a country mansion and claims thousands of pounds in expenses. IDS had also introduced the hated 'bedroom tax' and slashed council tax benefit to millions of people.

The Tories, while beating up on the poor, keep quiet about the real beneficiaries of housing benefit - private landlords. The overall HB bill has doubled over the last 20 years but the number of claimants has remained fairly constant indicating that it's private landlords, by charging excessive rents, who have grown rich on this benefit.

One in four private sector tenants in England have to claim HB - a rise of 90% in the last six years. Private landlords scoop a whopping 9.3 billion in HB, 38% of the total. In addition they get huge tax breaks and grants amounting to a staggering 27 billion a year in public subsidies - the equivalent of 1,000 for every household.

If this money was instead invested in social housing then the acute shortage of affordable housing could easily be solved. But with this mob in power it's clear that the interests of private landlords comes first and those of low-income tenants last.

'Housing subsidy' hypocrisy

Osborne also intends to make social housing tenants earning 30,000 a year (40,000 in London) to pay market rates for their rent.

The 'welfare butcher' argues that he is simply "ending the housing subsidy" paid to better off workers.

Hypocritically, Osborne fails to mention the massive public subsidy paid to private landlords, or the subsidy for further privatisation of council housing under the 'help to buy' (ie 'buy to let') scheme. He is also tight-lipped about MPs claiming up to 28,000 a year housing allowance.

The extra rent generated by this 'housing tax' won't, however, be invested in new social housing but instead will go directly to the Treasury to reduce the government deficit - caused by bailing out failed banks and the capitalist system.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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In The Socialist 8 July 2015:


International socialist news and analysis

Greece: Mighty class-based 'NO' shakes bosses' EU


Socialist Party news and analysis

Cuts for us, handouts for rich

Terrorism and classroom spying

Janner case: more establishment child abuse cover-ups

Stop hammering low-paid - 10 an hour now!

ESA under the cosh

Low-income tenants face rent hikes

Them & Us


Socialist Party features

NSSN conference 2015: "We could stop austerity in its tracks"

Migrants flee horrors created by capitalism


Socialist Party workplace news

Hospital porters mop up in NHS pay battle triumph

Tube union: why we're striking

Britain's biggest union could reconsider funding Labour after leadership elections

Education under attack! Reports from the front line of the fightback

Yorkshire firefighters demonstrate against crew cuts

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party campaigns

Socialist Party LGBT group plans fightback against attacks and austerity

Bitter fight to save Bitterne walk-in centre continues

Scotland and North-West England hold TUSC conferences


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Why I joined: 'the Socialist Party has given me political confidence'

TV review: Picasso - Portillo's peculiar perspective


 

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Related links:

Housing:

triangleChristmas redundancy shock at L&Q housing association

triangleEngels and the answer to the housing question

triangleTenants and workers unite to take on landlords

triangleTories reduce winter homeless funding: reverse the cuts,use the empty homes!

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Households:

trianglePoverty rises again - especially for BAME workers

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Homelessness:

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Welfare:

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Council:

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Claimants:

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Council tax:

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Evictions:

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