Some stereotypical slimy landlord, moonlighting as a Tory MP, sat in his four bedroom townhouse in Kensington. He has some connections here and there, which means sometimes his tax might slip by unnoticed, or he can go on a nice holiday, bill the taxpayers. Enjoy a lobster.
Down the road in Brixton, there’s a family of five struggling to pay rent. Mum works fifty hours a week, and Dad’s at home looking after the five and two year old. The older kids look for work, but there is none. Their rent is going higher. They might face eviction in the next five years. The building, a reclaimed council estate, has caught the attention of a developer. A gallery, some cafes, maybe a swimming pool.
The news today of the new Tory government cap on benefits couldn’t come at a more difficult time. Markets are uncertain because of Brexit, with the pound falling and rising, and inflation only going higher. 4% by the end of next year. Almost double what it is now. And they decide to cap benefits. By “they” I mean those in the Tory government who have refused, and still continue to refuse, to force large companies and individuals to pay their taxes. 5% of the population benefits, whilst the rest suffer.
Yet, I am in two minds about the situation. On it’s own, I wouldn’t see a major issue with capping benefits. There are surely some in our society that use this money in a bad way. We’ve all seen it. Or heard of it, from the right-wingers. If a more comprehensive and efficient system could be put in place, I wouldn’t be against it. In fact, benefits are still scrapped at 23k a year. Average salary in the UK is 26k. Arguably, the incentive to work is reduced.
What scares me is what this cap might set precedent for, and what unseen effect it might have on those that are most vulnerable.
What makes this cap intolerable to me is the lack of a rent cap to go alongside it.
How can you justify taking away, in some cases essential, money from the masses, when prices and rent continue to soar? It’s sheer stupidity. Complete blindness. A lack of understanding. A disconnection from the public. Almost unbelievable. Then I remember what year it is. What else we’ve seen so far.
The threat of forced homelessness is real. Reducing the benefit cap only places more strain on an already buckling welfare system. This screams shortsightedness. A short-term benefit for the rich at the expense of the most vulnerable.
On another note, I read that the Queen’s “salary” is going up next year.
I wonder how many school dinners and new shoes that could pay for.