IN his emergency budget Chancellor Osborne made it crystal clear that the Housing Benefit of those struggling to exist under crisis-ridden capitalism was one of his major targets.
He said about Housing Benefit: ‘Costs are completely out of control. We now spend more on housing benefit than we do on the police and on universities combined…’ This is to be resolved by a ‘Re-setting and restricting of Local Housing Allowances’, by ‘Up-rating deductions; Reducing certain awards; and Re-adjusting Support for Mortgage Interest payments’ while ‘Limiting social tenants’ entitlement to appropriately sized homes’.
He pledged ‘introducing, for the first time, maximum limits on housing benefit, from £280 a week for a one-bedroom property to £400 a week for a four-bedroom property or larger’. And claimed that, ‘Our package today reduces the costs of Housing Benefit by £1.8 billion a year by the end of the Parliament, or seven per cent of the total budget,’ adding that, ‘all these measures…will save the country £11 billion by 2014-15.’
He estimates the gains for the bosses’ and bankers’ system to be £11bn. Yesterday, the National Housing Federation (NHF) added up the price to be paid for Osborne’s £11bn Housing benefit cuts.
The NHF found that, ‘More than 750,000 people are at risk of losing their homes in London and the south east because of caps being introduced on housing benefit from April next year.’
It added that the benefit cuts could effectively force low-income families out of large parts of London and the south east and that its research showed that 425,000 people in London are at risk of losing their homes, while 326,250 people in the south east are at risk of losing homes.
The Federation is calling for the government to set up a poverty commission to look at the impact of housing benefit cuts on the poor. It forecasts large-scale evictions and people ending up living on the streets.
They are to suffer to save the bankrupt capitalist system and its bankrupt ruling class! As far as Osborne is concerned, mass evictions are a price worth paying to save capitalism.
With the Welfare State about to be knifed, the NHF has called on Cameron and Osborne to set up a ‘poverty commission’, no doubt to supply tents to the homeless.
The Evening Standard has been moved to establish a ‘Dispossessed Fund’ ‘to help Londoners out of poverty with life-changing support and advice’. This fund is not dedicated to providing soup kitchens for ‘down and outs’. It is a pathetic attempt to try to replace the Welfare State by supporting charities to provide hundreds of thousands of people with advice. Many of these people are hard-working professionals, with great ambitions for themselves and their children, who are now being crushed by the economic catastrophe that has been produced by the crisis of capitalism.
They are living a hand to mouth existence under capitalism, and cannot continue without housing and other benefits, and the other rights that the Welfare State provided, such as the right of their children to a university education that would ensure them a decent life and future.
All that is now under full-scale attack, and many of them are going to end up on the streets if Osborne and his LibDem pals have their way. In fact, the Standard’s fund is an absolutely futile attempt to bail out oceans of capitalist anarchy with a teaspoon. It is an attempt to try and placate the ‘Middle Classes’, but will only increase their fury that they should have been reduced to charitable advice by Cameron and Osborne.
However, they will be quick learners of the main lesson about this crisis. This is that there is no future under capitalism and that they will have to ally themselves with the mass of the working class to overthrow it with a socialist revolution if they are to have a future.