Combine Housing and Council Tax Benefits with Job Seeker's Allowance.

Reduce JSA by 50p for every £1 earned.

Require at least half of all housing stock built over the next decade to be social housing, and give Housing Associations the right to compulsory purchase of any property suitable for social housing which has stood empty for six months or more.

Why is this idea important?

Just about everyone agrees that the benefits system isn't working as effectively as it should. Many people are stuck in a poverty trap, unable to find work because many jobs would leave them worse off financially than they are already, because the system does not currently account for the additional costs associated with having a job, such as commute costs. This is a particular problem for single parents and those who live alone.

A key part of the problem is the way benefits are scaled back once a person finds work. Reforming JSA as described above would make part-time work more financially viable for single parents and those who live alone, reducing the number of people likely to fall into long-term unemployment. It would also provide the work-shy with a better financial incentive to work than at present. Increasing the amount of money available to the poor would have a significant positive effect on the economy since the poor are more likely to spend than save. Also, combining the three benefits as described will reduce administration costs, helping off-set any increase in benefits payments.

Another key problem faced by the poor is the chronic shortage in social housing due to the idiotic policies introduced by previous governments which saw huge amounts of social housing sold off while far too little was built to replace it. There needs to be a massive program of social housing construction over the next decade to make up the gap – a program which would provide thousands of much-needed jobs. Giving Housing Associations the right of compulsory purchase would also help reduce the social housing shortage. This will increase the disposable income of the poor, both improving their quality of life and providing a long-term boost to the economy.

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