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Thursday, 21 January 2010

Welfarism drives inequality, Harman will be told

Professor John Hills' report for Harriet Harman is being flagged in the Guardian today as the new 'equality bible', but those who know Hills' work of old will expect something of a two-edged sword, and I shall read the report with great interest. If Hills is on form, the research will be shocking and the attribution to policy failure will be open enough to ascribe inequality to Welfarism. This, of course, is the last thing Harman wants. She may recall how her colleagues in the local government department buried Hills' last report on social housing because the findings effectively damned Labour's culture of Welfarism for ingraining poverty, worklessness and ill-health for those living in social housing.

Hills' housing report showed that:
  • 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 housing 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.
Amongst those of working age on welfare estates, around half are without paid work. Two groups predominate amongst these; those on incapacity benefit, and single parents. The higher-rate disability benefit is the holy grail of the long-term claimant.

The system itself, including welfare housing, actually creates the disadvantage and deprivation it is meant to tackle. The LSE report finds that if you have no qualifications, you will be 43% likely to be workless if you live in non-welfare housing, but 70% likely to be workless if you live in welfare housing. 35% of single parents outside of welfare housing are without work, but 64% of those in welfare housing are out of work.

Moving from benefits to paid work should be very much easier if your rent is only £35 a week; common sense suggests that those in private rented accommodation paying 3 times this at market rates should be the ones 'trapped' on benefits. Yet it is those in welfare housing that show a minimal propensity to make this move.

The Guardian says of the new Hills report that [Harman will argue] "that the evidence shows socio-economic background, not parental warmth, is the main determinant of an individual's success."

By rolling back the reach of Welfarism, by moving more people out of welfare housing and out of the benefit culture, by encouraging people to share in the dignity and belonging of work and self-responsibility, we can break the iron shackles of socio-economic background and move towards a nation where equality of opportunity, equity of life chances and real reward for real merit lifts the lives of all our people from the drear Welfare prison in which Labour's perverse policies would entrap them.


marksany said...

Time to put the rent up

Vetnurse said...

And it took an expert to tell them this? It is obvious that people all round the world have lost their ability to do things for themselves only take as they are always being given.

Multi national charity's are a big business and their business is the poor and down trodden who it is in their best interests to leave there by ensuring that everything they want is given then there is no need to work...just hold out the hand. While this goes on the money rolls into the big multi and also fills the government taxes.

Governments are a similar thing only they use their abilities in different ways like all the welfare and doing so fills their power hunger.

There is cases to help at times but not as is done at present.