Antisocial housing (reprise)

Posted: June 9, 2012 in Uncategorized
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So Londoners living on housing benefit are currently being told they must move to more affordable areas:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/04/24/housing-benefit-cuts-londoners_n_1449242.html

Although the housing benefit cap will also affect others in many parts of the country, it will be felt most acutely in our great Capital, such is the concentration of wealth in such a relatively small metropolis. Many objections have been raised to this scheme, with regards to children facing GCSEs and having to leave all of their friends. Another consequence of this policy will be for poverty-stricken people to lose their own support networks. Where middle-class children rely very much on parents for career contacts amongst other things, so people lower down the socio-economic scale will rely on their own family and friends for job assistance and emotional support when times are tough. Perhaps single parents will need to rely on family and friends for babysitting should a job be taken up. From a vulnerable position, this cap will remove all potential support from people who may also be in a precarious mental state.

And what will be the final outcome of this plan? We all know that employers will be less likely to employ a long-term unemployed person, no matter the circumstances, so the likelihood is that this move will simply heap more misery onto the already downtrodden. Unless of course they are indeed all ‘on the fiddle’.

A worrying bigger picture is starting to emerge, where villages are mentioned as becoming ghettos for semi-retired rich people, while London is chiefly a rich person’s playground already. Are we heading for an extreme dystopian scenario in a generation or two, where the poor are all herded into economically dead regions with pitiable infrastructure and law enforcement, where social disorder is rife, whilst the rich live it up in flourishing rural urban areas inside gated communities with armed patrols to prevent the poor getting in?

Of course, the sensible way of saving a lot of state money in the long-term would simply have been to build far more social housing and introduce rent controls, eliminating the need for this social cleansing. But the narrative seems not to be cutting state expenditure as much as punishing the poor for being poor.

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