Monday, October 08, 2012

Housing Benefit

Half of homes are a burden on the state: Benefit payments and services now outweigh taxes in 53% of properties

That is the headline today and the Government is right to show concern and highlight Labour’s mismanagement but refusing Housing benefit for the Under 25 may sound a vote catcher but it needs some thought. For example at 24 I was married with 3 children that was in 1974 and there was full employment but move that example to today and I had lost my job would I not be entitled to housing benefit? I can not remember if there was the same thing in those days all I can remember was getting unemployment benefit luckily enough after a few months my mother decide to employ me on a low wage to run the Martial Arts Club. Interestingly enough you can see the difference in the Martial Arts Club fortunes in 1980 there was enough being generated for me to get a small wage, today I subsidies it. So the sensible thing is not give a blanket ban but to offer the following:

1)    Those married with children sharing the same house should be allowed Housing Benefit. The reason I say married is that it has a degree of legality in that they can prove they are in a relationship. Cohabiting couples do not have that proof, so there is less chance of falsifying a claim with a married couple
2)   Those under 25 who may be at risk and who have been alone for sometime but they should only be offered low cost accommodation like Bed Sits
3)   The government should offer some form of Compulsory Insurance scheme that pays for rent when out of work; they are compelling us to have a pension scheme, so that should not be a problem.

The best way forward is to get full employment and one way to start the ball rolling is to replace the foreign workforce with British Labour on a decent wage. The other thing I have often wondered it is often reported that foreign labour often rent a house and fill with beds and share the costs so they can live in a cheaper manner, this way they can work for less but still have a larger income to themselves, which makes good economic sense. Yet I have a House which I rent out 4 rooms as bedsits and have to register as a HMO (House in Multiple Occupancy) I have to abide by some strict laws by having fire alarms in every room, fire resistant walls and ceilings, each room has to have cooking facilities, food preparation area, sink, fridge etc. plus the shared toilet has to be of a certain dimension and standard etc. Now I believe all these conditions are just but why do I have to do all this and others do not? Plus what about the health and safety aspects is the house insured for an excessive amount of people living in it?

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