Archive

Archive for July, 2010

Housing Benefit Staff have not been leaking stories about extortionate rents to the papers.

July 16, 2010 1 comment

There have been a lot of stories about extremely high levels of Housing Benefit being paid to some poor feckless oik in the papers recently (have you noticed that the landlord never gets it in the neck?). (I will add it is also rather sad to see a once great paper become the new Daily Hate because of their continued support for Neo-Con Labour).

Firstly, all contracts for HB staff require non disclosure of personal details. Disclosing personal details of a claimant is gross misconduct in all 32 London Authorities and I would expect all other LAs as well.

Secondly the levels of HB paid are based on current rent levels. A claimant is paid £2000 a week because his rent liability is £2000 a week (or more). These rents apply to pretty much the whole of Central London.

These rates are not being paid because Council staff are incompetent.

These rates were higher under the previous reference rent scheme and under the old restricted rents schemes. It has nothing to do with the new Local Housing Allowance a scheme that even despite an increase in demand for private rented properties has, unlike all other previous HB restriction schemes managed to keep rent levels stable. Something that has not happened since 1989.

So who did leak the stories?

Well the DWP and in the vast majority of cases HMRC (some LA’s turn down the demand from HMRC) receive an extract of all Housing Benefit cases – despite the fact that this is at best questionable under law. In the case of the HMRC extract it is actually unlawful.

Who can match claimants moving from one borough to another? Not a London Borough.

Good for Ministers though. Both the previous Neo Con Labour and the current ConDem lot to show they are tackling the problem when in reality they are not. Rents for non luxury homes in London should not be £2k per week.

If the restrictions make London property prices crash then good but get ready for the squeals.

By the way read the reductions in benefit levels and in many cases either sigh with relief, unless you are someone who needs to cry.

http://www.voa.gov.uk/LHADirect/LHA-emergency-budget-news-2010.htm