Who are the benefit scroungers who rip off Housing Benefit?
Obviously, the people to whom the multi billion pound benefit is paid!
But who it is actually paid to?
Despite what the Daily Hate Mail says, the benefit is not paid to unwaged people who live in rented accommodation, it is actually paid to the owners of the rented properties, some of whom are very rich individuals and most of whom make a killing from their property portfolios.
It is still possible to buy a 3 bedroom house in my area for £150K, a 25 year mortgage on such a property would be approximately £800 pcm. If we forget the 13th month for the sake of simplicity, that's £200 per week. Even with Cameron's cap on housing benefit a landlord can still scrounge a 100% profit out of a buy to let housing benefit house bought today, a good investment.
As time goes by house prices rise and rents rise too. Mortgage costs fluctuate but not by a huge amount. So if I had bought a house for £60k 12 years ago my mortgage repayments would now be about £250 pcm, £65 a week and I could be scrounging a 400% state profit from my investment, without taking into account the increased value of the initial investment. If my investment term was coming to its end I would probably be paying a mortgage of about £10 a week – and still be getting £400 per week rent – nice work if you can get it!
Many of the homes that are being rented for these giddy profits are former council houses, many of the people for whom the rents are being paid are the people who would have been housed by councils in days gone by - if the council housing stock hadn't been sold off.
Council House / Housing Association rents in this area are about £70 a week.
It is not rampant socialism or un-conservative to suggest that if the state is paying for housing the poorest in our communities that the state should get the best bang for its bucks. Paying Rachman type landlords to become multi millionaires from state benefits is not good stewardship of the public purse.
The £11 billion paid in housing benefit each year would build a hell of a lot of social housing. Using it to provide social housing would be the best economic answer to this part of the benefit overspend.