welfare reform

Big words,thin ice. IDS on worklessness and social housing.

More detail than anyone is likely to want on why Iain Duncan Smith's claims to be 'breaking up 'shameless' housing estates' are about as well-founded as you might expect. In the spirit of scrupulous fairness I've looked at two possible data sources- see the update to the article for the second. On balance I now think Mr Duncan Smith is probably guilty of confirmation bias rather than of deliberately selecting the stats to make his case, so please read the update as well as the article.

Housing crisis? What housing crisis?

Here's a chart showing British working age social security benefit caseloads over time, matched up with the administrations of different prime ministers and what seemed to me to be some of the relevant cultural highlights of the time.

'The biggest administrative fiasco in the history of the welfare state'

In which I come a poor second to Jules Birch http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/taking-the-strain/6526460.blog in drawing out the parallels between the problems with the1983 housing benefit changes as recounted by Nicholas Timmins and the current worries about Universal Credit.

Grant Shapps owes us all a correction and an apology

I've invited housing minister Grant Shapps, via Twitter, to correct an inaccurate statistic which he promoted in several print and broadcast outlets over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Benefit cuts and the London rental market: the difference between 'very big' and 'infinite'

Some pictures are worth a thousand words. Not this one: in fact it requires about a thousand words of explanation. But what it shows is quite simple - tenants receiving Local Housing Allowance in London prior to the government's restrictions to the benefit tended, contrary to what has often been asserted, to live in cheaper areas, subject -crucially- to the local availability of rented accommodation. An opener for discussion of the impact of LHA restrictions on London's social geography in succeeding posts.

See what they did there?

A spokesman for Iain Duncan Smith has accused Sarah Teather, the LibDem MP for Brent Central, of being 'hugely misinformed' about the government's benefit cap policy, which she criticised in an interview in today's Observer http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/nov/17/benefit-cap-immoral-sarah-... . The spokesman goes on to say: 'It's not fair or right that benefits claimants receive higher incomes than hard-working families who are striving to get on in life.'

Don't start me talking.......

You know what it's like. You're sitting there quietly minding you own business when two men of a certain age start holding forth about something they obviously know nothing about. You try to ignore it: it's none of your business. But the voices get louder and louder as they become more passionate in their uninformed conviction. The first lines of 'Oliver's Army' are repeating themselves in your head:

'Don't start me talking/I could talk all night/ My mind goes sleepwalking/While I'm putting the world to right'.

Large families, MPs and Hume's test

Large families, MPs and Hume’s test

The distribution of private rented accommodation in London

[Description: An unpublished article from 2010 dusted off in the light of today's coverage of housing benefit cuts in London (word document attached at foot of this post)]

"To live in Westminster is a privilege, not a right, because so many people want to live here," a Westminster council press officer explains in the Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/feb/16/housing-benefit-cap-famili...

The end of the American labour market model?

Only a few years ago the contrast between a dynamic, high-employment American labour market and stagnant, low-employment labour markets in Europe was a major theme in international political economy and labour market economics. While the low wages, inequality and precariousness associated with the American model were recognised and widely deplored, the U.S.’s low rates of unemployment and swift recovery from recessions during the 1980’s and 1990’s led even those on the left to query aspects of the European social model.