The storm around the benefit cap to start in April 2013 made some good headlines this week. The expense of living in rented accommodation at that price is hard for everyone.
We welcome the comments made by Sarah Teather, Lib Dem MP for Brent in London in Sunday’s Observer. A brave decision to voice real concerns and takes some conviction and an empathetic understanding for the families she meets.
Some of the free London papers were full of letters denouncing all who find themselves on benefits and living in expensive accomodation, when hard working people can’t afford rents at over £500 per week.
There is no escape that this is a considerable rent charge. But is it the only answer, not to pay people benefits. Most of the rented accommodation is private, the owners are the real economic winners. When there was more social housing, for example, accommodation was easier to find and at a more realistic rent, or could there be a cap on rents to be charged?
Certainly the consequences in April will be large, the thought of disrupting family life by a major move to lower rent areas across the country is hugely problematic with moral concerns for all those in the implementation.
Schools in many areas are already being affected, large increases in pupil numbers in areas where children and families have been moved.
A winter of considerable discontent ahead for many.