The Housing Benefit budget has spiralled out of control since the 1988 Housing Act prevented a legally-enforceable rent being set by tribunal.The effect has been for Housing Benefit to drive up the cost of rent for everyone,and to transfer huge sums of taxpayers money into the pockets of landlords as a hidden subsidy,raising the realisable value of property and making all forms of housing more expensive.

Recent half-baked attempts to address the Housing Benefit issue have focussed upon squeezing the tenant on benefits…the one person least able to influence the cost of housing….by imposing caps on how much benefit is paid,regardless of what the rents actuall are.

The only solution,if we are to get the budget under control,is to have legally enforceable rent levels agreed at tribunal,as was the case before 1988,enabling the Government to budget effectivel and in the long term,for Housing Benefit.

Why is this idea important?

We are told that we "cannot afford" Housing Benefit as a nation,and that budgets must be cut.The current arrangements are simply a way of giving a substantial proportion of the Benefits bill to landlords who,by definition,are not poor enough for benefits.It is,in fact,a way of transferring money from the general taxpeer to the realtively well-off.an anomaly which must be addressed.

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