Housing benefit cuts have not been a 'final solution' for the poor

Very few policies have been condemned in more lurid terms than the Government’s cap on housing benefit. With her characteristic calm moderation, the Guardian’s Polly Toynbee called it a “final solution” for the poor. Even more sensible people than Polly have used language such as “social cleansing.” Indeed, Boris Johnson has used that phrase (though only in the sense of saying that it will not happen on his watch.)

As part of my phased medical readjustment to the post-Ken Livingstone world, I did a piece for yesterday’s paper on how far the prophecies of doom over housing benefit have been realised. As I put it:

The Daily Telegraph decided to get beyond the rhetoric and ask a simple question: 13 months after Ms Toynbee’s “final solution”, how many people have been forced to leave their home areas? The answer, it turns out, is not very many – not yet, at least.

Read the rest here.

And don’t worry, fellow obsessives: there will be a couple more election pieces – one analysing the detailed (ward-by-ward) results once they’re published and another on the dogs that didn’t bark during the campaign.


The housing benefit cuts may not be wholly right. But they are not going to be a vote-loser

 Bristol House, Two-bedroom flat in prime mansion block in Bloomsbury, Central London Was £925,000 Now £ 795,000 Winkworths (0207 240 3322)
Bloomsbury, central London, where rents are too high for most working Londoners

Here is my column from this morning’s paper.