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The Tory Government have caused themselves further hate with their infamous cuts these past couple of weeks, this time focussing their attentions towards the housing benefit. Their plans to make some dramatic changes to the way housing works, with the main focus being selling off affordable homes, in order to contribute to the housing benefit bill. The plans want to see the sale of low-rent housing, which prompted charities to immediately hit back with concerns that this new venture will mean the loss of 19, 000 council homes as well as 66, 500 housing association homes. obviously, affecting thousands in the process.
With the vision once being that everyone could live, whether it be bought or rented, in an affordable home, it seems that the extreme cuts from the ‘Tory’ government will make living on a lower income and in a home, even more difficult. There are concerns that if the sale of affordable homes goes ahead, lower income families will only be forced to move into more expensive homes, thus meaning the benefit bill would need to be higher in order to support them. There has been several warnings that the ‘Tory’ housing bill will destroy social housing as we now know it.
A five day long debate in the House of Lords, it seems that David Cameron had a lot to answer for when the argument is returned to the House of Commons, with many issues of his ideas being highlighted. One issue that caused a stir, was the introduction of ‘starter homes’, sold at a 20% discount. Whilst this may aim at helping young, first time buyers, it is a replacement for units that are newly built by homebuilders, and rented at below market rate. This new way of thinking would mean that the Government would be offering 85, 000 less affordable homes. Despite concerns and almost guaranteed loss, the bill has been forced through parliament.
The Housing Planning Act
The bill is now known as the Housing Planning Act and it has been warned by Labour that the biggest losers will be those looking to find low-cost homes due to low income. many who saw the cracks in the legislation to begin with go one step further and warn that it will be the homeless who suffer the negative effects. The number of homeless people has already doubled since 2010 and those that are considered to be statutory homeless, by the Government has increased by a third.
The Conservatives have been warned that if they want to reduce further rising statistics, they need to address specific areas, including housing benefit. Cuts to housing support that amounted to £5 bn, and if continued could see the closure of homeless shelters, move on housing and hostels, occurred during the last parliament. Labour have warned it is about time the Prime minister ceased making vital cuts to homelessness support, as he has done previously.
As a new parliament session looms, it’s time to see if the ‘Tories’ have taken on board the effects of their actions, and can think of a way to effectively help those in need.