Another report, this time in the Independent, reveals the real callousness at he core of the ConDem cuts:
Thousands of people will be made homeless as public spending is slashed because of a dangerous combination of higher unemployment, increasing repossessions and cuts to housing benefit, housing experts have warned.
The retired, disabled people, carers and working families will be hardest hit and charities predict it will trigger the steepest rise in families living in unsuitable accommodation and individuals sleeping rough since the 1980s.
Those in London will be the worst affected, forcing an exodus of poorer people from the centre to outer boroughs, and adding to the financial pressures on local authorities, which are obliged to find homes, school places and social care for the newly arrived families.
The homeless charity, Shelter, said that some households in London currently receiving housing benefit will have to find a shortfall of up to £1,548 a month to meet their housing costs. The result, say opposition MPs, will be "social cleansing" of poorer tenants from richer areas.
Campbell Robb, the chief executive of Shelter, said: "The consequences have not been thought through by the Government. If this support is ripped out suddenly from under their feet, it will push many households over the edge, triggering a spiral of debt, eviction and homelessness."
To put it in context, some facts:
There are 4.72 million housing-benefit claimants and 1 million of those receive Local Housing Allowance, the housing benefit for tenants in the private rental sector. In his Budget, the Chancellor imposed caps on housing benefit of £400 a week for a four-bedroom property and £250 a week for a two- bedroom home. Future increases will be linked to retail-price inflation rather than actual rents, which will further erode the value of the benefit.
Since 2000, average rents in London have increased by 65 per cent while the CPI has increased by just 17 per cent. There will also be a 10 per cent cut in housing benefit for those unemployed for more than a year, criticised by the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies as a blunt and "punitive" instrument to encourage people to find work.
Some fear a return to almost Dickensian conditions in London in particular. James Murray, a cabinet member for housing at Islington Council, said: "In Islington we have thousands of families on the waiting list for housing, many living in desperate overcrowding. It is not rare to see seven or eight people in a two-bed flat – with the children often unable to do their homework, unable to have any privacy, and with the whole family suffering under the stress.
And as James Murray said:
"A cap on housing benefit could put a third of Islington's private-sector tenants who are on housing benefit at risk of eviction," he added. "This will only increase the pressure on social housing, and so more than ever we desperately need more investment in social rented homes. "
The Green New Deal is the only programme to suggest such a policy that I know of.
But instead of investment and enlightened problem solving we have a government intent on creating social division, injustice and poverty – and with every indication that unlike most governments this one will succeed in achieving its goal (bar budget reduction – which is just a cover).