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From: The Socialist issue 944, 12 April 2017: NHS: Walkouts can win

Search site for keywords: Benefits - Rents - Housing - Children - Homes - Cuts - Welfare - Homelessness - Accommodation - Homeless

Thousands left with 50p for rent - cap rents, not benefits

Protesting against the effects of the housing crisis, photo Paul Mattsson

Protesting against the effects of the housing crisis, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Stephanie Hammond, Camden Socialist Party

Tory caps on housing benefits have left thousands of families with only 50p a week for rent.

A Panorama report found the cap - which limits benefits to 20,000 for most of Britain and 23,000 in London - affected nearly 70,000, and 7,585 people found themselves with just 50p each week to pay rent.

Others have been made homeless, and parents have been cut off from their children. A recent report from the Children's Society charity found that children often bear the brunt of the cuts.

Families crippled by poverty have to move often, frequently to temporary accommodation miles away from their schools.

This is in a climate of skyrocketing rents and flat wages around the country. The minimal amount of 'affordable housing' is anything but, with rents as high as 80% of market rates.

Average rents in London stand at 1,246 a month, while Manchester faces a homelessness epidemic and a population that's growing 15 times faster than homes are being built.

Landlords are charging exorbitant rent on properties not fit for purpose - cramped studio flats without windows, inadequate kitchens and bathrooms. Barnet council in northwest London is allowing a developer to build 'dog kennel' flats, 40% smaller than the average Travelodge room.

Tory and Blairite politicians make noise about tackling the housing crisis, but they are precisely the architects of it. The only solution can be the reversal of all welfare cuts; capping rents, not benefits; and a country-wide mass programme of council house building to provide homes for all.

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