Saturday 20 August 2016

Beyond smug.

From the BBC:

Private landlords in the UK received twice as much in housing benefit last year - £9.3bn - as they did a decade ago, a report says. The National Housing Federation (NHF) study said the increase was due to a big rise in the number of private tenants claiming housing benefit. The NHF said this particular group of people had grown by 42% since 2008…

A government spokesman said it had been taking action to bring the housing benefit bill under control. He said: "Since 2012 the amount going to private sector landlords has actually been falling - something which the National Housing Federation fails to recognise."

That is probably true, the total bill has been hovering around £10 bn for quite a few years.

"We are also committed to building the homes this country needs and investing £8bn to build 400,000 more affordable homes."

That is a lie, or at best a dishonest use of the word "committed", he does not say over how many years. Make a note of the numbers though. They claim they will spend £8 bn (over an unspecified number of years) on building 400,000 homes = £200,000 per home, thus they are vastly overpaying for the land, this is less than what they firehose at landlords each year. Not only that, for every £1 they spend on building new council houses, they will save more than £1 in future because they will have more rental income and/or lower HB bills, so it is not really a cost, it is an investment in the truest sense of the word.

Here comes the stomach churning bit:

Chris Norris, head of policy at the National Landlords Association, said the private rented sector was responding to the increasing demand for homes from a growing proportion of tenants who are being failed by the social housing sector and housing associations.

"The NHF is clearly still reeling from the news that its members have been ordered by government to reduce spending over the next four years, so it comes as no surprise that they are looking to shift the emphasis and point the finger elsewhere.

"However, the private rented sector plays a pivotal role in providing much-needed homes for tenants so there seems no real purpose in the NHF taking a cheap shot at landlords for what is a failure on behalf of successive governments to adequately allocate its housing budget and to incentivise the building of new homes."

That misallocation is precisely what is benefitting his members, every penny spent on HB for private landlords is a penny wasted and a penny not invested in bricks and mortar.

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