- The economic cost to the country of subsidised welfare rents is £6.6bn a year
- We (the taxpayer) own £400bn in capital value of welfare housing, but our return on capital after management and maintenance is barely 1% per annum
- It's a myth that council tenants all want to be owner occupiers; given the choice, 39% would prefer to stay as subsidised tenants
- Barely a third of heads of welfare households are in full time work
- One in eight private house moves are work related, but just a very few thousand moves a year amongst 4m welfare tenants are for employment reasons
- Welfare tenants stay put in the same house for a very long time. Over twenty years, they will enjoy the benefit of subsidised rent worth £65,000 at Net Present Value.
- Despite subsidised rents meaning that in theory it's much easier for a welfare tenant to move from benefits to work than for a private tenant, very few do so.
The reality is that welfare housing has become a trap for the unemployed, that 5m welfare recipients are also largely locked into outdated welfare housing tenure. In terms of equity, of Brown's much vaunted 'fairness', one must also ask why, long after mortgage tax relief has been abolished for homeowners, welfare tenants continue to enjoy tax breaks that cost the country £6.6bn a year, £65k for each tenant at NPV?
This issue may break the fragile coalition, but it needs an open and honest public debate.