Ealing and Northfield

Department for Housing Misinformation and Fear

Cllr Withani really is a bit of a comedian. Why does he think he can tweet nonsense and have people believe him?

According to the Guardian article he quotes rents are going up by 4.4% pa as reported by and 4.1% as reported by LSL Property Services. I don’t know how authoritative these sources are but the Office of National Statistics reports that CPI was 4.2% in June and RPI was 5.0%. So far from “soaring” rents are barely keep pace with inflation on these measures. In any case Local Housing Allowance is linked to market rents so will go up with them.

What he says is nonsense twice over as many of the changes in housing benefit are not due to come into force until April 2012 or even later. Those that have come into force only did so in April 2011 so would not have any visible impact on rents yet, either upward or downward.

Cllr Withani is beside himself with glee at the idea that the market will fail and that people will be seriously inconvenienced in large numbers so that he can say I told you so. In the meantime, in the real world, taxpayers are relieved that housing benefit is to be capped at £500 per week and that young people will have to make do with sharing houses – just like those who pay the bills have to… To be able to earn enough to pay rent of £500 per week you need to earn about £50K.

At the last council meeting Cllr Withani got one of the Labour councillors to ask him a tame question about housing benefits so that he could wring his hands dramatically and frighten people. The Tory housing spokesman Will Brooks asked him a question I have twice asked before on here: “How many people lost their homes as a result of Labour’s James Purnell limiting LHA to the five room rate in April 2009”. Yet again Withani failed to answer.

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