Social landlords expect cuts to trigger new wave of homelessness

Social landlords expect cuts to trigger new wave of homelessness 

Report based on survey of English housing associations and councils suggests government moves to restrict benefits will result in a surge in tenant evictions

An empty property
High numbers of evictions are leaving housing associations in some areas without tenants. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Social landlords are expecting a surge in rent arrears, tenant evictions and homelessness as the government pushes ahead with more welfare cuts and changes, according to new research.

The continuing impact of the bedroom tax, together with moves to extend the benefit cap and impose further limits on housing benefit, will put further financial pressure on tenants, predicts a report by consultants Grant Thornton.

It concludes that the ability of councils and housing associations to mitigate growing arrears has been severely eroded, and increasing numbers are issuing possession orders to tenants who have fallen behind with the rent.

Grant Thornton’s survey of English housing associations and local authorities revealed that a majority had seen a rise in average rent arrears over the past two years, with over a fifth reporting a “sharp increase” in eviction notices being served.

Last week, official statistics showed that tenant evictions reached a six-year high in the first three months of 2015. Over the same period, social landlords made 27,000 possession claims – the first stage in the legal process leading to an eviction.

Councils are also feeling the strain of increased evictions in the private rented sector, with 59% reporting an increase in applications for social housing from tenants who had been ejected by private landlords.

The threat of further evictions will rise after a cut in the budget for discretionary housing payments (DHP) from £165m to £125m this year, the report says. DHP grants, which help tenants with rent shortfalls caused by welfare reform, were originally intended as a temporary measure to enable tenants to stay in their home while they got a job or arranged a move to a smaller property.

Social landlords expect cuts to trigger new wave of homelessness  

Street Democracy writes: 

‘We hold our doors so they attack in vain, 

but the dissposses can never reign, 

The Tories darkness to desolate our inner peace

Our societal tolerance of this must now cease!

Tory bullies set a furious expedition of fierce hosting with frowning scorn as they devise with fanatical commitment social housing benefit cuts that do not match the ‘real’ agenda of living.

Like a book of hideous horrors, ravenous eyes of blue will rip apart the welfare state budget and the knock on affect will be catastrophic, a real cataclysm of hardship and homelessness.

Feeling powerless is exalted to highest when you have no base, no home and are at the mercy of the state. 

Its cold, void of empathy. 

It’s frighteningly undignified and humilation upon the face of the mother who has no front door key, who holds her child without cover and stands in front of housing officers who follow the tail of the one in front.

An unwelcome forced intimacy of front line reception housing, is filled with love abandon policies, evil in print and administrators unwilling to disobey and put humanity first before unclean wisdom and policy.

You face a plethora of hostile dialogues of conditions and financial sanctions before you are shunted off to unsuitable temporary accommadation and for what.

How many empty properties are there, and how many unscrupulous rich landlords are there?

Always a corrupt capitalist society will put profit before people and this is no exception and it helps only the wealthy.

By Debbie Simmons-Street Democracy.

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Iain Duncan Smith hails success of benefit cap as evictions hit record levels

Iain Duncan Smith hails success of benefit cap as evictions hit record levels 

24DASH.COM Logo Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Bill Payments, Central Government

Friday 15th May 2015 – 9:46am

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Iain Duncan Smith hails success of benefit cap as evictions hit record levels 

Iain Duncan Smith hails success of benefit cap as evictions hit record levels

Iain Duncan Smith has hailed the success of the benefit cap – on the same day that the Ministry of Justice reported a record number evictions among renting households.

The Work and Pensions Secretary said the cap provided “a clear incentive to people to get into work”, as figures showed thousands of capped households were now claiming working tax credits instead.

But Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said the government’s welfare cuts combined with “sky-high housing costs” had forced thousands of people out of their homes.

According to the latest figures from the Department of Work and Pensions, 23,100 households had their housing benefit capped during February with over 60% being single parent families.

Of the overall total, 83% were capped by £100 or less a week; 59% had between one and four children, and 63% were a single parent with child dependants.

 

For more click here for 24dash.com

Iain Duncan Smith hails success of benefit cap as evictions hit record levels  

 

Or read : http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/

Evictions of rental tenants hit a record high as homeless charity Shelter calls for Government to act

 

 

 

Street Democracy writes:

 

The Tory’s dynamic force of bullying expeditions shunting the poor from place to place is a monumental mechanism to disempower, humiliate and trash further the poorest from society.

 

Home’s for the poverty stricken are temporary short term glorified B & B’s, in fact you needn’t bother unpacking.

Volleying evil and smashing it down upon the poorest is social and political disempowerment as the ‘dissposses cannot reign’, minds full of survival techniques there isn’t room for much else.

 

The elegant rape of the minds of the poorest, with stress and evictions, with homelessness, with no money for a place to live, assassinates the character of those financially struggling to survive.

 

A bombardment of red ‘you owe money’ letters, hostile dialogues with no empathy is nothing more than ‘evil in print’ land in your home as a warrantless invasion, a forced intimacy of unwelcoming into your home.

 

Homes become dark eerie frightening places with evictions hanging over your head. You cannot relax, you feel unwelcome and your dignity is not sacred. Life is boxed and placed in black bin liners.

 

The uncertainty is agony. A true cataclysmic shattering of the self, who you are, with no stability and social expulsion from society as a temporary homeless person or family of the under class.

Iain Duncan ‘soulless suit’ Smith, will devour the low income earners, the unemployed and disabled people as a form of ethnic cleansing to price the poor out of areas and richer tenants in.

 

He has no conscience and is morally bankrupt for certain.

By Debbie Simmons-Street Democracy

Lord Freud deliberately misleads House of Lords over bedroom tax…again!

Lord Freud deliberately misleads House of Lords over bedroom tax…again!

by joehalewoodPicture displayed by Street Democracy.

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Did you know – according to the ignoble Lord Freud – that:

  1. 200,000 1 bed properties become available in social housing each year
  2. There have been “a matter of more than 100 FTT (bedroom tax) appeals.”

That is what he told the House of Lords this afternoon and he is yet again being totally disingenuous

1)  200,000 one bed SRS properties each year?

The actual and universally accepted figure is 68,000 not 200,000 and so we see Lord Freud tripling the amount of the real figure as is his want. See my blog here from March 2012 with the 68,000 figure.

2) “…a matter of more than 100 FTT appeals?”

Having personal knowledge of over 80 bedroom tax appeals myself just from one small part of Merseyside alone and further knowledge, some first-hand and some second-hand of a further few hundred bedroom tax appeals in Merseyside and hundreds more across the UK we again see Lord Freud knowingly misleading the House of Lords yet again.

There may well be one hundred bedroom tax appeals this week alone in the Liverpool Tribunals now that the large number of appeals from neighbouring Sefton are finally reaching the Tribunal in Liverpool

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Please don’t make the mistake by assuming my comments above are party political; they are in fact apolitical as any politician who deliberately and knowingly misleads Parliament should be censured and brought to book.  If any employee did this act of gross misconduct – which deliberately and knowingly misleading is – they would be sacked. In any other workplace it is called barefaced lies yet we are not allowed to say that Parliamentarians lie are we?  Yet in doing precisely this Lord Freud affronts democracy and the democratic process in overtly and knowingly misleading Parliament and the electorate.

Lords and MPs are public servants and should not be allowed to overtly and knowingly mislead.

For more click here for: joehalewood

Lord Freud deliberately misleads House of Lords over bedroom tax…again!

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Bedroom Tax Debt Enslavement: Study finds ‘fundamental flaw’ with bedroom tax

Study finds ‘fundamental flaw’ with bedroom tax

Inside Housing. Pictures displayed by Street Democracy

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Street Democracy writes:

The bedroom tax magnifies misery.

The social housing tenant has been meticulously weakened both nationally and locally while moral decay has calcified further by blundering local housing agents giving this toxic policy all its power.

The bedroom tax has localised bullying.

It is localising debt for the poor with permanent rent arrears also.

The bedroom tax is a diabolical debt enslavement housing policy raping the minds of the most vulnerable while taking essential life saving money’s away from the poorest families.

How toxic is the bedroom tax?

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This article is a weak argument to put to uncaring Tory, no empathy, greedy, serve to self, psychopathic politicians who enforced this gutter housing policy.

Enforced and enshrined into law without thought or consideration at the social, psychological and economic cost it has had, especially towards the poorest families in the UK.

We witness a catastrophic collapse in democracy.

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We witness a fantastic obliteration of moral standards within the epicentre of Westminster where corrupt capitalist’s strutting about in suits calling themselves MP’s have ignored the hundreds and thousands of voices opposing this putrid bedroom tax.

The social housing tenant is near broken as the Tories rewrite the laws of democracy to exclude the poor, to silence them and disengage them from political activity by ignoring them completely.

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It’s a sham of British justice and social democracy by any standards.

And apparently we’re meant to lead the way for other nations to follow of exactly how democracy works, it’s clearly easy, just exclude the poor.

Disfigured political avenues are now emerging cesspits with mocking towards anyone daring to speak out against the bedroom tax as being responsible for the housing crisis and the collapse of the economy.

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Not the greedy politicians over claiming and over using, milking the expenses system and claiming for their second homes heating bills, or mortgage payments, or heating their stables.

Not the wealthy stealing the wealth of the nations, hoarding up endless hundreds of thousands of acres of land they don’t use, don’t need and don’t see causing massive land scarcity and out pricing locals.

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For more on this toxic political apparatus click here or continue reading:

Study finds ‘fundamental flaw’ with bedroom tax

Inside Housing.

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More than half of English homes fall short of modern space standards calling into question the bedroom tax, a study from the University of Cambridge has found.

According to the study, which analysed 16,000 homes in comparison to the London Housing Design guide internal space standard, English homes are the smallest by floor area in Europe and the report’s authors argue that in most of the country you have to under-occupy to have an acceptable amount of living space.

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‘Spare bedrooms are a misconception in many homes, as the lack of space means that any extra bedrooms are needed for other uses,’ said Malcolm Morgan, a PhD student in the University’s Department of Engineering, who led the research.

Published today, the findings were that 55 per cent of dwellings fall short of the standards based on floor space alone, and 21 per cent fall short when the number of current occupants is taken into account. Flats and small terraced houses were most commonly below the standard. Dwellings were also frequently found to be under-occupied in comparison with the number of bedrooms, which was most likely due to lack of space.

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It found that households receiving housing benefit were more likely to be undersized, calling into question the bedroom tax.

The UK has the smallest homes by floor area in Europe with the average newly-built home at just 76 square metres. The report argues that the reasons for this are related to the removal of minimum space standards through the 1980 Local Government, Planning and Land Act, the high value of land, and the low number of houses built by public authorities and housing associations.

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Between one-quarter and one-third of people in the UK are dissatisfied with the amount of space in their homes, and yet many homes can be considered under-occupied when looking at the number of bedrooms compared with the number of occupants.

‘When the bedroom tax was introduced, there was a lot of implication that those living in houses with spare bedrooms were doing so out of selfishness,’ said Mr Morgan. ‘But what this research shows is that in most of the UK, you simply have to under-occupy houses in order to have an acceptable amount of living space.’

Click here for more or to go to Inside Housing:

MPs claim more than £5m in ‘housing benefit’ expenses

MPs claim more than £5m in ‘housing benefit’ expenses by Inside Housing

Pictures displayed by Street Democracy.

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254 MPs are claiming more in expenses to pay their rent than the maximum someone in Westminster can claim in housing benefit, research by Generation Rent shows.

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In total, taxpayers paid more than £5 million in 2013 to rent second homes for 335 MPs with constituencies outside London. Half of them claimed more than £1,675 a month in rent, and the biggest rent claim was for £2,467 a month. Monthly rent for the typical London household is £1,300. The highest rent claim, for £2,467 per month, was by North Antrim MP Ian Paisley.

A spokesperson from Generation Rent said: ‘Just living in a rented house doesn’t make an MP an expert on private renting. Because it’s not their money they have no idea what it’s really like to see half your income eaten up by rent, or scrimp together the fees involved in moving home. And because the allowance is so generous, they can afford the type of accommodation most private renters can only dream about.

‘We don’t object to the second home allowance, but if MPs realised how privileged they are compared to other private renters, they might finally take some action to improve a housing system that is failing millions.’

Independent comments:

They would all fit into the many spare rooms within Buckingham Palace. A short walk from the commons. Secure with excellent facilities. Already funded by the taxpayer so effectively doubling the saving. An obvious option really in these austere times when benefit claimants who are not MPs or members of the Aristocracy have to pay the bedroom tax. As well as find the costs of these poor MPs……..

Is Shapps still fuming at being blocked from getting his own little snout into this trough, or did he find a way around his own admission that his constituency home was such a short commute to the commons?

Whilst the more deserving MPs, as opposed to the feckless something for nothing brigade like those in the Home Counties, need a London base if for no other reason than to follow their right to a family life, it is time that the basic allowance allowed for this so they at least could understand the value of the costs they need to meet, like the rest of us. That way they may rethink how they let out their ex-Council Homes for Market Rents to cash in on the Benefits Cash Cow they created.

The likes of Shapps, leading the division of society into deserving and undeserving have opened a Pandora’s Box that will be the ruin of us all.

Perhaps if the grinning money grabber were to apologise and commit to uniting communities instead there may be a gradual restoration of trust. Otherwise, the outcome is frightening.

Watch: Two Liverpool social housing tenants win reprieve from bedroom tax

Watch: Two Liverpool social housing tenants win reprieve from bedroom tax 

By Liverpool Echo

Kirkdale residents Theresa McCarten and Susan Dunne told by judge their bedroom tax bills should be reduced

Two social housing tenants in Liverpool have won reprieve from the hated bedroom tax.

Kirkdale residents Theresa McCarten and Susan Dunne were this week told by a judge their bedroom tax bills should be reduced.

Both had their housing benefit payments slashed by 25% in the wake of the Government’s controversial 2012 welfare reforms.

But the women took their cases to court and a judge ordered their bedroom tax bills be cut from around £22 to £11 a week – leaving each of them approximately £40 a month better off.

Ms McCarten told the ECHO: “Bedrooms are being called bedrooms just so the Government can take people’s benefits off them.

“You couldn’t even fit a bed in my spare room but I still had to pay the bedroom tax on it.”

Ms McCarten was first ordered to pay the bedroom tax in March last year.

Benefits assessors ruled her home was a three-bedroom property, although there were only beds in two rooms.

But the first-tier tribunal of the Social Entitlement Chamber ruled this week: “She has never used the third room as a bedroom as it is too small and has always been used as a computer room.

“The tribunal therefore decided she had two bedrooms.”

For more click here:

Watch: Two Liverpool social housing tenants win reprieve from bedroom tax 

By Liverpool Echo

BEDROOM TAX CRISIS! UPDATE: East Lancs man threatens to blow up house after eviction threat

UPDATE: East Lancs man threatens to blow up house after eviction threat

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A FATHER-of-four threatened to blow up his home after being faced with eviction after a dispute over bedroom tax payments.

Bailiffs arrived at Michael Hilton’s home in Meadoway, Church, at around 9.20am yesterday.

They reported him to police after they heard him say that if they entered the property – his home of 30 years – there would be an ‘explosion’. The police said they believed petrol and gas canisters were in the house.

Mr Hilton, 52, was last night in police custody after being arrested on suspicion of affray following a stand-off lasting around three and a half hours.

Two fire engines were called to the scene, close to St Christopher’s High School, as well as around six police cars, two police vans, a riot van and later, police dog teams.

Mr Hilton barricaded himself in the house and refused to come out.

The bedroom tax discriminates against the social tenant

The bedroom tax discriminates against the social tenant by SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites)

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Pictures displayed by Street Democracy.

I did not emphasise the real issue when I reported on the Wirral MBC case a day or so ago choosing to seek permission directly from the Upper Tribunal to appeal against a bedroom tax case with a room measuring 36.53 square feet.  My error was in focusing on the decision taken and not what the decision meant as the REAL issue is the overt discrimination the social tenant suffers in the bedroom tax policy and this specific case highlights the general discrimination which is deserving of much more attention than the ridiculous decision Wirral MBC has taken.

In short if a private landlord had attempted to rent out the 36.53 square feet room as a bedroom then: –

  1. The private landlord would not be allowed to deem this room a bedroom, and
  2. Would not receive the higher HB towards rent – a 3 bed rather than a 2 bed HB payment
  3. Likely to be prosecuted (and knowing the facts of this case they would be)

YET because it is a social landlord the tenant gets persecuted and hit with the bedroom tax deduction and that is discriminatory and this case highlights this general discrimination in the bedroom tax policy.

The issue gives rise to further room size bedroom tax appeal arguments and potentially a judicial review of the policy itself and that is where the emphasis should have been.  It comes about for a few reasons and it is useful to compare the social rented sector (SRS) position to the private rented sector (PRS) position to the same situation of a room of less than 50 square feet being deemed a ‘bedroom’ by the landlord.

Firstly, the PRS landlord claiming a property has 3 bedrooms can and invariably has that property inspected for the validity of such a claim by the independent rent officer service.  The Rent Officer comes out to check and the last yearly figures I have reveal 219,000 yearly inspections.  YET such inspections and the opportunity for these to be conducted on social housing properties was taken away by this government in April 2013 when the bedroom tax started.

For more click here:  SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites)

Eviction rate doubles under ‘unjust’ bedroom tax

Eviction rate doubles under ‘unjust’ bedroom tax by 24Dash

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A political iron fist of blue spiteful blame game and demonisation of the poor for daring to hoard a spare room of 6ft x6ft while the rich can hoard thousands of acres of land and property-causing scarcity in both areas and price hikes too!

Street Democracy writes:

The bedroom tax has amplified misery for social housing tenants.

A spiteful venomous political card of blaming and shaming the poor with propagandised political rubbish, dividing communities of those too stupid to see truth are socially condemning social housing tenants for daring to have a spare bedroom.

A humiliating and aggressive housing policy has caused so much hardship and expulsion from mainstream society by this hostile housing law.

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A sophisticated method of social cleansing-moving the poor out of social housing into rented accommodation. The evictions are happening forcing the poor out of their homes.

It isn’t solving the housing crisis and it won’t ever.

Larger homes are being left empty for young families fear of the bedroom tax re-creating over crowding.

A young couple with one child, where the husband has 2 older children from a previous all live in a 2 bedroom flat as his older children don’t live with him full time, only part time.

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It is a ‘Punishing State’ for daring to be poor. We are witnessing a propaganda strategy to divide communities and out cast the poorest. The bedroom tax is unfair and toxic by far.

An amputee from Crawley needs his spare room of 6ft x 5ft to house his bed, and life saving disability equipment. He won’t share a room with his much loved wife because he would keep her awake at night.

His body crippled with pain, he needs his spare room and is hit by the bedroom tax and labelled as a social annoyance just like all other victims.

The poor are witnessing society turning into a ‘Punishing State’. 

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Evict the poor into small privately rented homes. Large proportion of private landlords are Tories. The bedroom tax is an aggressive form of social cleansing.

The social housing tenant, many of whom are innately decent sensitive poor, are seeing the localisation of bullying, blackmail and the localising of punishment, demonisation and social outcasting.

In perpetual rent arrears, life is miserable. In perpetual debt life is filled with uncertainty and full of fear too.

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Out of touch-disconnected liars from Westminster have declared a silent war upon the poor. The bedroom tax is to shock the poor into survival mode and cause this group to become socially excluded demonised as the reason for the housing crisis. In reality no social housing is being built and land is hoarded by corporations and the wealthy.

It is a housing policy that is choking to death the most vulnerable of people in a most degrading and humiliating manner by the Tory’s iron fist of blue slamming down upon the poorest.

Their disdain for the poor is most apparent.

The bedroom tax is a DNA damaging pursuit.

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It is causing social, mental and psychological stress, strain and trauma upon social housing tenants who are victims of the ‘children dare not leave home tax’.

Or don’t dare become out of work, ill or sick or even dare become disabled and be dependent upon the welfare state benefit ridicule system, or you will be penalised.

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Localising humiliation, bullying and the demonisation of social housing tenants. A Tory spiteful political agenda.

For more on this most aggressive, vile and cruel housing policy click here for 24Dash or continue reading:

Eviction rate doubles under ‘unjust’ bedroom tax by 24Dash

A council’s eviction rate has doubled since the government’s controversial bedroom tax came into effect last April.

A freedom of information request found that Norwich City Council evicted 16 households due to rent arrears between April 2013 and January 2014, compared with eight in the same period the year before.

Green Party councillor Ash Haynes, who made the FOI request, said: “This is further evidence that the coalition government’s welfare reforms are not working. Their impact is being seen in evictions figures and lengths of food bank queues. While evictions are caused by multiple factors, the tax adds to the burden many face.

“Eviction is the worst fear of many tenants, many of whom are sacrificing all they can to make ends meet. Nobody should have to live with this fear, so I repeat the Green Party’s calls on the Labour city council cabinet to make a written public commitment that nobody will be evicted due to the bedroom tax.

For more: click here for 24Dash 

Housing Benefit – the myth and the facts and how IDS dupes the Grauniad!

SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites)

Joe Halewood writes about welfare rights and welfare reform

Housing Benefit – the myth and the facts and how IDS dupes the Grauniad!

Yesterday the Guardian Housing Network – usually a very reliable source of housing and other data – became the conduit for the Tory led coalitions strategy of saying they have controlled the ‘burgeoning’ HB bill. The HB bill has increased sharply under the coalition despite the bedroom tax, despite the LHA caps, despite the overall benefit cap and other welfare ‘reforms’ introduced by this government to reduce the bill.

Below is a simple graph of the HB costs from 1997 and using official government figures:

The above can highlight a number of simple ‘knowns’ such as:

  • The HB bill has been allowed to ‘take the strain’
  • The HB bill increased from £11.64bn which the Blair government inherited in May 1997 to £20.44bn when they left office. An increase of 75.6% in 13 years and a yearly increase of 5.8%.  It did not double under Labour as has been claimed by Shapps, IDS, Freud, McVey and Hopkins (he is the scarlet pimpernel and the current housing minister in case you want to know) – Though it did triple in the 10 years before that under the Tory governments of Thatcher and major from 1987 when it was £3.8bn
  • The overall cost of the HB bill has increased and increased more under this coalition who maintained in June 2010 that their welfare reforms would reduce the HB bill by £2bn per year by 2014/15.
  • The HB bill is currently £3.5bn per higher than when the coalition took office and therefore £5.5bn over the coalition target!

For more from SPeye Joe Halewood click here…