Back in June, the Government announced that from next April it would be capping the maximum Local Housing Allowance (Housing Benefit for those renting in the private sector) payable for different types of property to £250 a week for a one bedroom property, £290 a week for a two bedroom property, £340 a week for a three bedroom property and £400 a week for a four or more bedroom property.
Under the system that we have inherited from Labour, the limit is an incredible £2,000 a week. Now as an MP I get paid a good salary but there is no way I could afford to spend £2,000 a week on housing. I reckon you would have to earn something like £250,000 a year to be able to afford that. Why should the rest of us be expected to pay for families on benefits to live in properties that we couldn’t afford? How is that fair?
So I think the Government is absolutely right to do something about this, but it must get the transitional arrangements right. Given that rents are much higher in London, particularly in central London, these changes are bound to have a disproportionate impact here. Rather than some of the scaremongering we have seen this week, we ought to be having a sensible debate about the detail of those transitional arrangements.