Apologies for the continuation in blatantly political UK-centric blogging, but I couldn’t pass on this one:
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has defended planned cuts to housing benefit after Labour accused the government of “threatening people’s homes”. He said the changes, announced in the Spending Review, were “fair”. And it was not fair that people who went out to work got less help with accommodation than those who did not.
Nick Clegg does give the impression here that he doesn’t know that being without a job isn’t a condition of eligibility for housing benefit. You can work like a draft horse and still get housing benefit: the principal eligibility condition is low income. Details of this are widely available. I wonder if Nick could come to see a mild irony in that the only way to guarantee that people with jobs always get at least as much housing benefit as those without is either to pay everyone housing benefit, or to cut it completely for the unemployed (or both, of course). I don’t know, maybe it’d be worth it, if we could avoid a situation where upon getting a proper job (one that pays Â£145,492 p.a., say) a person suffers the appalling unfairness of having to see someone on a lesser income get more help with the rent.
As a side-note, yes, this does mean that we don’t just subsidise fields and hedgerows here in the UK, we also subsidise some of the roofed-over parts. Not only that, it’s been arranged so that those who benefit from this housing subsidy are all mixed in with everyone else. That’s because – historically – we’ve preferred this arrangement to townships and bussed-in labour.
See also this.