Welfare – ‘To change, or not to change?’

THE Socialists and Liberals among us may think that housing benefit is a person’s right here in the twenty-first century. Well, it would seem that most working people wouldn’t agree with you, and as a self-respecting Tory, nor do I. There are now over 50,000 families in the UK living in homes costing the taxpayer more than £30,000 a year. Is that justified? I don’t think so, and that’s because most ‘working families’ couldn’t afford to live in a home that costs that much to keep themselves. Remember, that’s just the rent. Council tax, living benefit (JSA, DLA, IS and ESA), health, education and the no doubt multiple disability cars cost the taxpayer more per year than it would cost to run the building of a police station.

I read an article this week about a lady called Stephanie Demouh, originally from Togo. She was entitled to hand-outs from the state because she claimed she was a single mother to six children and had chosen to reside in the UK. She was allocated a four-bedroom house in Belgravia, near Sloane Square, where she has been living for about three years with her children. She received housing benefit which totalled £1,200 a week, that’s £62400 per annum or more than three times the national average wage in just one year for a single family’s home. However, after the government housing benefit was capped at £400-a-week she was forced to move into temporary accommodation 10 miles away in Edgware by Westminster City Council. Needless to say she was not content with having to move, which on the one hand is understandable due to her large family, but on the other it isn’t fair that the tax payer should spend more than £60,000 per year on a home that they couldn’t afford to have themselves.

Later, it was proved that Ms Demouh had a husband earning a large salary. She had been fraudulently claiming as a single parent, when in fact she was married to a man that could have paid for it all himself. The Government responded to this particular case saying; ‘We will unhesitatingly take court action against those who make false claims to ensure that money only goes to those who genuinely need it.’

A crackdown on housing benefit has seen a massive fall in the number of families claiming over £30,000 a year, the Government say. There has been a 75 per cent drop in the largest claims in three years, new figures show, after ministers pledged to cut the ballooning welfare budget.

Thanks to changes in the law, payments to tenants are now capped at £250 a week for a one-bedroom flat and up to £400 for a four bedroom home. Still a very large amount to most, considering the average monthly mortgage is only £560.00 and rent £495.00.

So, isn’t it time we listened to welfare reform? New changes to housing benefit next month will see the taxpayer getting a fairer price for housing benefit, and out of work scroungers getting less in the ‘something for nothing’ culture in which they seem to thrive. Working people can feel less bitter as they slog along in work.