Social Justice and the Housing Benefit Cap

The Labour left and the Guardian are getting very worked up about the perfectly reasonable housing benefit cap proposal

“for example Louise Ryan, 41, who lives with her husband and two children in Islington, north London, will see the £438-a-week benefit, which covers the rent, reduced to £340 under the changes to housing benefit introduced this month.”

To just afford that £438 rent those of us who work would have to earn as below:

Yearly Monthly Weekly
Gross Income £30,000.00 £2,500.00 £576.92
Pension Deductions £0.00 £0.00 £0.00
Taxable Income £22,525.00 £1,877.08 £433.17
Tax £4,505.00 £375.42 £86.63
National Insurance £2,733.00 £227.75 £52.56
Student Loan £0.00 £0.00 £0.00
Take Home £22,762.00 £1,896.83 £437.73

That rent alone is higher than median wages. It takes the taxes of four people on median wages to cover Louise’s rent. Add on her other benefits and Louise has a household income equivalent to a working family with a household income of over £40,000.  Where is the social justice in paying welfare benefits to people that are higher than the majority of the tax paying working people’s take home pay? This simply cannot continue.

To be fair the Labour shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne recognises this, so the Labour left have begun excoriating him as “a reactionary”. The ubiquitous Owen Jones, author of “Chavs, is representative of the Labour left. He thinks it is “progressive” to pay out to welfare recipients more in benefits than the majority of working people earn:

The Guardian reckons thousand of benefit recipients will have to move out of Kensington and Chelsea. Doesn’t your heart bleed? Guido really hopes that Owen Jones succeeds in getting the Labour Party to go into the election with a manifesto commitment to reverse the cap. It will be a huge electoral liability on the doorstep…

Don’t Unseat Ed Miliband Association

Back in the heady days following the election of Ed to the leadership of the Labour Party the conservative journalist Iain Martin warned us all not to underestimate Ed Miliband, he even jocularly formed DUEMA, the “Don’t Underestimate Ed Miliband Association“. On Twitter he would highlight hope for the leadership of Ed Miliband which he warned was much underestimated by among others, David Miliband. As the year wore on the DUEMA membership dwindled and eventually Iain accepted the inevitable following the last PMQs:

Guido is happy to announce that a private sector solution has been found. This blog has bought the association off the bankruptcy trustees and is rebranding it the “Don’t Unseat Ed Miliband Association“. It will remain a not-for-profit, now with an added Big Society social enterprise dimension. This new direction will result in no loss of #hashtags and we have a business plan to see the association run until 2015. In a sign that this is not a hostile takeover the new management is inviting Iain Martin to stay on as Chairman Emeritus.

Our first goal is to shore up support  for Ed Miliband from the left of the Labour Party. So we recommend that he promises to go into the next general election opposing the government’s proposed £500-a-week cap on housing benefit. Luxury flats are a human right!

Guardian Makes Thirty-Eighth News International Correction Claimed Sun Had Charlotte Church “Countdown to 16 Clock”

Yesterday the Guardian published an article by former burlesque dancer Laurie Penny which claimed that

“Charlotte Church was 15 years old when Britain’s best-read daily newspaper began a public countdown to the day on which she could be legally f****d.”

The claim is totally false.

It was corrected after the Heresy Corner blog pointed out the false claim. This takes the number of corrections to stories published by the Guardian about News International tabloids to 38. All sense of proportion and indeed sense has gone out the window. The allegation was designed to deliberately characterise The Sun in the worst possible light.

UPDATE: They have managed in Grauniad style to cock-up the correction.



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Quote of the Day

John Curtice on fiscal policy:

“Attitudes to taxation and spending are basically counter-cyclical. If a government comes in and tries to reduce spending and taxation, after a while people will get worried about the state of public services. If a government increases taxation and public spending, after a while they’ll get concerned about increasing taxation…. In as much as there are lots of ideologues out there who think the state should be this proportion of GDP, they’re all wrong. Because the public’s view is counter-cyclical to the recent experience. It’s basically impossible to satisfy the public.”

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