The argument about the housing benefit issue continues unabated.
There are said to be “very real concerns about poorer families being forced out of central London into the outer boroughs” and the Children’s Minister thinks “that’s a very legitimate concern“. Boris Johnson is even talking, in his typically overblown fashion, about the “social cleansing” of central London.
Well, yes. But what about this:
I have been afforded many opportunities in life, some by my parents, some by the State (grammar school, Cambridge University), for which I am very grateful. As a result, and due to good fortune and my own years of hard work, I am lucky enough to be employed and, without looking likely to trouble the 50p income tax rate in the near future, find myself, in the latter half of my 30s, in a position to fund the costs of my family’s accommodation without recourse to State assistance.
I have lived for the last few years with my wife in a small flat in central London. But we now have a 1 year old child, hope to have another baby, and this means that our current accommodation really isn’t suitable any more and we could do with a small house.
And guess what? It appears that I am being “being forced out of central London into the outer boroughs” in order to be able to find one that I can actually afford to buy or rent.
I’ll miss central London, and hate the commute, but this is just the reality of life, isn’t it?
It would be grand if everyone who worked in central London could have a nice family house 10 minutes walk away from work, but given the numbers of people who work here compared with the amount of space and available housing, this aspiration has not been remotely possible for the large majority for a very long time indeed. Given this to be the case, how can it be right that such an aspiration ought to be funded by the taxpayer for benefit claimants as if it were some kind of inalienable right?
I’m still with Grant Schapps on this one.