Universal Credit – doff your cap

Welfare bill £192bn

Savings from universal credit cap, about £270m to £330m depending on which year you look at.  Let’s say £300m a year.  Sounds a lot doesn’t it?  That’s until you put the zeros in and then see what they mean.

£192,000,000,000

£300,000,000

See the difference – that’s a £3 saving on every £1,920 spent.  That’s right three pounds in every one hundred and ninety two thousand.  Or put one more way less than 0.2%.

Makes you wonder why the Government is so keen to push ahead with it doesn’t it?

Of course, it’s sold on a fairness argument.  Nobody on benefits should be able to earn more than the average wage of £26,000.  Sounds reasonable.

Only …..  it isn’t just about earnings.  It takes your housing costs into account too.  £26,000 is about £500 a week and this has to cover your housing costs and your general living expenses.  In London you would be lucky to get a one bed flat for that – and you wouldn’t be getting change.  A 3 bed house would set you back more like £800 or £900 in Central London.  In outer areas, somewhere like Brent, you might get it for £450 to £500 – but that’s all your benefit gone.  Nothing to live on.

Oh but they say.  Those on benefits shouldn’t be able to live in areas that others can only dream of (I dream of Brent – hmmm).  Well that’s alright if you think it’s OK for London to be for the rich only; a ‘too good for you’ area; where all the cleaners and shopworkers ,and more than likely the nurses and teachers too, commute in each day because they can’t afford to live there.

Already the difference between London prices and anywhere else is growing rapidly and this, along with many other policies will make that divide worse.

The benefit cap doesn’t apply to working households.  But if you are in work and are then unfortunate enough to lose your job, and you live in London, you will have to move.  Once the impact of the changes work through, the migration happens (as it already is) and the prices divide more, the chances of ever getting back again become increasingly small.

This policy has nothing to do with fairness and saving money.  It is about moving poor people out of London

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