Meanwhile, the benefits cap just got tighter . . .
Talking of the Budget, someone needs to remind Chancellor George Osborne that there’s a vast difference in rent levels between London and the rest of the country!
Yet another unpopular welfare decision was his announcement that not only is the current national £26,000 ‘budget cap’ to be reduced next year to £23,000 for benefit recipients in Greater London, but it is only being cut by a further £3,000 (to £20,000) for those living in the cheapest parts of the UK, where rental prices are vastly lower than those in the capital.
While a £20,000 cap (on the total annual benefits a household can receive) might just be manageable in Wigan, Wolverhampton or Workington, a £23,000 cap even in outlying areas of London like Kingston is likely to have an impact on some tenants for whom the Council finds private leased accommodation because of the acute shortage of available council homes.
Across London, experts say a major effect will be to force more and more families on benefits to give up their high-rent homes and relocate to areas of cheaper housing. Recent television programmes have featured benefit households in London having to move as far away as the West Midlands and the North East to find a home that can be funded by their reduced benefit payments.