Here’s Joe Halewood’s excellent SPeye Joe blog putting meat on the bones of the government’s failure to cut the housing benefit bill, as mentioned in a Vox Political article a couple of days ago:

The Tory-led coalition introduced the Welfare Reform Act with many policies collectively aimed at reducing the Housing Benefit bill by “nearly £2 billion per year by 2014/15″.

The actual HB bill has increased by £2.1 billion above the governments target and so is £4 billion above the ‘inherited’ figure in real terms.

This means that all of the welfare reforms (sic) listed below which all aimed to reduce the HB bill have failed:

  1. LHA cap
  2. LHA increase in SAR age from under 25s to under 35s
  3. LHA freeze in 2012/13 and in 2013/14
  4. Bedroom Tax
  5. Benefit Cap

The DWP said in its magazine called HB Digest published in early July 2010 that:

The Chancellor announced a package of Housing Benefit (HB) reforms in his Budget statement on 22 June. Ministers are clear that the overall cost of HB, forecast to be around £20 billion this financial year, must be controlled and reduced. The package of reforms will save nearly £2 billion by 2014/2015

Housing Benefit reforms (1 – 5 above) all aimed at reducing the overall Housing Benefit bill by nearly £2 billion by today in 2014/15.

The House of Commons Library in SN/SG/5699 published in November 2010 gave nominal figures for this estimate of the coalition

141119speyejoe1

As you can see in column 2 we have the government estimates for the HB bill form 2009/10 right up to 2015/16 and these make up the estimated coalition figures – what the government expected to be the overall cost of Housing Benefit.  I have put this is one of those simple graphs together with the actual Housing Benefit cost figures below.

141119speyejoe2

As you can clearly see reader the expected HB cost as at the latest figures for August 2014 would be £21.487 billion yet they are £24 bilion or some £2.5 billion more per year than the government said they would be due to the welfare reforms all of which were welfare cuts to Housing Benefit.

So the HB bill is almost £7 million more PER DAY than the government estimated it would be and that really shows the extent of the failure of the welfare reform policies of the bedroom tax, benefit cap and LHA changes.

The welfare reforms to Housing Benefit cost £7 million more PER DAY than expected.

You need to read more of this fascinating article – and you can do so by visiting Joe’s own blog site, SPeye Joe.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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