Tuesday, 6 December 2011

DOLE-BY-THE-SEA PART II: THE SEQUEL?

The Guardian have published a nightmarish vision of the future inspired by George Osborne's austerity measures in which Margate gets a brief mention. It predicts:

"The housing benefit reforms of 2012 and 2013 had swept tens of thousands of lower income families out of inner London, to the fringes of the capital and beyond to Margate, Hastings, Milton Keynes and Luton."

Lovely... so Margate will return to being a 'dole-by-the-sea' resort for dumping benefit claimants and low income families, will it? Surely that risks derailing a lot of the great effort being done to regenerate our area and will bring us right back to square one. Even BBC Newsnight recently claimed Thanet will be among the 20 most-affected areas likely to be hit by spending cuts, so this prediction appears to be fitting a pattern of doomsaying. I hope it can be avoided.

Sadly, however, I remember reading a piece on Inside Housing in which David Farmer, Thanet Council's head of housing regeneration, admitted that historically tenants in Cliftonville have been “bussed into Margate by London boroughs as we have landlords who will house them” and that he feared cuts in housing benefit across the south east will only increase their number. “We are aware of it,” he said, “and we are worried.”

Oh well... at least they'll have a nice art gallery to look at...

5 comments:

  1. The once attractions of living by the seaside have long faded for the unemployed and I think you will find that many of these families are immigrants, very keen to stay close to the major cities.

    The cuts are mainly targetted at those who are living in areas, normally the preserve of the better paid and in properties well beyond their reasonable expectation. If living in one of Chelsea's squares and suddenly the level of housing benefit is cut, the family do not have to move to Margate for there are affordable homes all round the outer ring. Boroughs like Wandsworth, Southwark, Lewisham, Croydon, Greenwich and even Bexley have many low income or benefit dependent families living in homes at rents within the proposed cap.

    Obviously in a marginal like Thanet there is political mileage in claiming a whole host of London based people are going to descend on the area, to motivate the locals to vote Labour, whilst secretly encouraging such immigration of tenants who will probably also vote Labour.

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  2. Tom Clarke says:

    "I think you will find that many of these families are immigrants."

    Any evidence to support your claim?

    The rest of your comments are also pretty random and dubious; on what are you basing your assumption that other boroughs of London are cheap enough for those having to claim HB, not only the unemployed but those on low wages? I lived in Hounslow until 2005, lost my job and had to claim HB, I had a shortfall of £38pw, looked to move but couldn't find anywhere within the set HB cap. I ended up homeless and moved to live with friends in Canterbury. My experience, and that of others I have met, was that London is a very difficult place to find rented accomodation where, if you're on HB, you don't have to cover a substantial part of your rent or even find a landlord who will take people on benefits.

    That old chestnut of gerrymandering by moving people to Thanet is a bit conspiract theorist, I'd give it a rest or you end up sounding a bit daft.

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  3. Several years experience of handling lettings in South East London evidence enough for you?

    Hounslow, like most of the west side, is considerable more expensive to rent in than the boroughs I listed. I also have a relative, currently a lettings manager with a housing association based in SE London, who continues to find accommodation for families and individuals on benefits.

    As for the gerrymandering, I would describe it as more like scare mongering for it is not going to happen.

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  4. i think you get alot more HB once you have loads of kids (ive heard £500/week), for single people its only £300-400/month. claimants who have loads of kids can get a lot of HB (or used to before cuts) and find decent places with more landlords willing to rent to them.

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  5. single people getting 300/400 a month - are you joking? £228 allowance can you really rent a room for that?
    I had two lodgers & now the councils want to charge private landlords as HMO for only helping 2 people - I have had to get rid of one of my lodgers just to keep the council happy - one more homeless what do they care?
    They rely on the homeless charities to foot the bill .... saves the council a few quid anyway - roll on the collapse of 'No Longer Great' Britain.
    Im not proud of my country anymore :(

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