In London, the Government’s cap on Housing Benefit payments means social cleansing, akin in its severity to the Highland Clearances.
Large areas of the city will become unaffordable for working-class people, and whole boroughs will be gentrified to the detriment of affordable housing.
Under the government’s proposals, 80% of privately rented houses will be unaffordable by 2016. Around 360,000 households are on council waiting lists, and rents are rising about 6 per cent a year because of increased demand for renting.
A two-bedroom flat in London now costs £1,600 a month on average.
Research by Shelter which shows that almost seven million people are relying on credit in some form to help pay their housing costs — payday loans, unauthorised overdrafts, other loans, or credit cards. And as workers are forced into “benefit ghettos”, their chances of getting a well-paid, or any, job decline.
This month the Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) of Housing Benefit, already applying to under 25s, will be extended to all those claiming housing benefit between the ages of 25 and 34. Benefit payments will be set at the rate for a single room in a shared house, as against the rate that would be payable for a self-contained one-bedroom property. Anyone living in a self-contained property will have to make up the shortfall.
Since 2010 there have been significant rises in youth homelessness.
The charity Homeless Link published a survey of charities and local authorities in December 2010, showing that nearly half of homelessness services (44 %) and councils (48%) have seen increases in young people applying to them as homeless or at risk of homelessness.