In the budget, Gorgeous George announced many things to tackle the appalling state of the countries finances owing the effects of a global recession and having a prime minister called Gordon Brown.
One of the things he announced was changes to the housing benefit scheme, that will in effect cap the amount of benefit you can receive to pay your rent. People who see families with no working adults and six or seven children housed at taxpayers expense in a seven bedroom mansion in Notting Hill will of course be guffawing their approval - wont you...
But only around 30% of people in receipt of housing benefit are unemployed, the rest are on low incomes and need a little bit extra to help them pay for somewhere to live. Those living in council homes have their rent subsidised and so by and large are not affected but those renting in the private sector most definitely could be.
Private rental rates vary, depending on property location, condition, size and so on, so its hard to compare, but average monthly rental rates in this borough range from about £800-£2000 for a studio to £3500-£5500 for a three bed property. Of course one and two bed properties lay somewhere inbetween and some properties will come below and way above these amounts too.
What is known, is that housing benefit is now going to be capped on a sliding scale based on the number of bedrooms from April 2011. But critically it goes a little deeper, the number of bedrooms the benefit is based on is capped at four, and the rate at which the benefit is calculated on is based on one third of average rents, instead of one half as it is now.
Affected tenants in K&C stand to lose up to £640 in benefit as a result of these changes.On average, tenants will need to find £200 per week from their own income in order to top up their housing benefit to pay their rent. The vast majority of these are not workshy filthy layabouts sitting on their arse all day aspiring to make an appearance on Jeremy Kyle they faithfully watch every morning before collecting their giro to spend down the pub.
By and large they are decent honest pensioners or families on a low income, single parents, and just those down on their luck, maybe with two or three low paid jobs stuggling now to make ends meet with rising fuel prices and inflation.
What will happen is social cleansing on a massive scale the likes of which we have never seen before where people simply cannot afford to live in affluent areas. Come April when the changes happen the eviction notices will be flying out as people fall behind in rent, or private landlords refuse to let to tenants on benefits. But where do the people go? The exodus will descend to cheaper areas, where there is less investment, more deprivation and no jobs.
The new super London Borough of Royal-Kensington-Chelsea-Hammersmith-Fulham-and-Westminster will become like the Vatican City, a walled enclosure full of gold and splendour, with raggety beggars waiting at the gates only able to gaze inside in wonder. Those inside will only venture out in their bullet proof 4x4's with a private security escort - and only then to go to Heathrow...
Nice work, if you can afford it.