I’ve just read a measured and eloquent piece which demolishes the government’s claims for housing and welfare reform – a piece worthy of Red Brick – courtesy of Eric Pickles.
A formal letter from Eric Pickles’ Office to the Prime Minister details the range of problems with the government’s housing and welfare policies that casual readers will be well aware of:
- Increases in homelessness
- Increases in public spending to deal with homelessness
- Fewer homes being built, especially family homes
- The disproportionate impact in the south and on children
All the issues which ministers have denied point blank will be a problem. They have constantly claimed that criticisms of their housing policy are overblown, extreme or just untruthful. They have exhorted us to trust them, because they have thought through the impacts and have been satisfied that the effects won’t be as bad as everyone is saying.
How about this from Grant Shapps:
“People like me – who set up a homelessness foundation, worked with all the homeless charities, authored probably six of seven homelessness papers – don’t make changes without thinking through the impact of them on the homeless”
And true to his word, he (and Eric Pickles) had done a lot of detailed work to show the impact of their policies on homelessness. As Eric’s letter to the PM says:
“Our modelling indicates that we could see an additional 20,000 homelessness acceptances as a result of the total benefit cap. This on top of the of the 20,000 additional acceptances already anticipated as a result of other changes to Housing Benefit. We are already seeing increased pressures on homelessness services. … It is important not to underestimate the level of controversy that this would generate (likely to dwarf anything already seen on the HB only caps) and the difficulty of justifying this in policy terms as well as implementation.”
They know the impact of their policies, but they just don’t care. It is a price worth paying. Even after this letter had come to light, we hear from Eric that “We are fully supportive of all the government’s policies on benefits.”
I believe him. They support the policies and they support the effects of those policies. The retoxification of the Tories continues apace.