Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nick Clegg blocks mean-spirited cut in housing benefit

When the government announced its plans to reform housing benefit last year there were two strands to that policy.

The first was a cap on benefit of about £400 a week for a house rented in the private sector. There was outrage at this. There were wholly false stories about London councils block-booking bed and breakfast accommodation and Polly Toynbee described it as "social cleansing on an epic scale".

This opposition always struck me as nonsense. Everyone knows that housing benefit is a bit of a racket, with private landlords being the major beneficiaries. With the economy in a depressed state it is perfectly reasonable to put a bit of a squeeze on those landlords by capping benefits in this way.

There was a second strand, which was to cut housing benefit by 10 per cent for anyone unemployed for more than a year. This seemed to me mean-spirited - a classic example of the Tory instinct to make life harder for the poor.

So I was delighted to hear that Nick Clegg has insisted on this policy being dropped. Another example of the way that the presence of the Liberal Democrats is making this a better government. I do hope David Cameron appreciates this.


Anonymous said...

"I do hope David Cameron appreciates this"

More importantly for Nick Clegg and the Liberal democrats, the difference needs to be seen and appreciated by anti-conservative voters

Mark said...

Can Clegg doing anything about the whole plethora of other 'mean-spirited' Tory proposals, or is this just a symbolic titbit he gets to wave around.