The myth of the £104,000 housing benefit claimants
“You must recognise that we inherited a housing benefit system in London that was completely out of control; some families were getting as much as £104,000 a year,” David Cameron told the left wing Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn when he complained that the recently imposed cap on housing benefit was driving families out of central London.
The Prime Minister’s answer was off the point, because Corbyn was not asking for more housing benefit to be paid out: he was calling for government intervention to drive rents down to match benefit levels. A homily on why Conservatives do not believe the state should attempt to regulate rents in the private sector, even when the state is paying, would have been more relevant.
It was also a highly contentious statement because the figure of £104,000, first used by George Osborne in his 2010 budget speech, was a theoretical figure based on the fact Labour had set a £2,000 a week limit. The Chancellor did not know whether any councils anywhere were actually paying that much, but the Daily Telegraph did an extensive check and concluded that there were three families, out of a total of 4.5 million housing benefit recipients, claiming £104,000, all in Tory-run Westminster.Tagged in: Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn
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