Saturday, 30 October 2010

Coalition's Distorted Message On Housing Benefit Goes Unchallenged In The Media

Many sections of the press have inaccurately reported the Coalition's plans for changes to Housing Benefit.

What has not been put across accurately in most of the media is that the £20,000 cap on Housing Benefit for some families is only one of nine new measures being introduced and that this one change only accounts for 3% of the £2bn that has been set aside for Housing Benefit cuts.

In fact these cuts will only save £65m of what is needed. 

What is significant is how many publications have reported the £20,000 cap as the 'Key Change'

Even the leftwing New Statesman has jumped on the bandwagon, saying: 'In London, where rents are significantly higher than in the rest of the country, the £400-a-week cap will force as many as 82,000 families out of the capital – the largest population movement since the Second World War'

The point to be made here is that it is not just this measure alone that will have this effect, it is all the nine changes together that will lead to 82,000 people possibly having to leave London. This is according to research carried out by London Councils. In reality, only 17,000 people could lose their homes; as a result of reductions to the Local Housing Allowance.

So, basically placing a £20,000 cap on Housing Benefit will not actually contribute very much to bringing the overall budget deficit down.

To me, what is so alarming is how the majority of the media - even those elements not traditionally Tory supporters - have been lured in to a cynical trap set by the Coalition and focussed their attention - and their headlines - entirely on one aspect of the proposals soon to be put before Parliament.

The media are clearly misleading the country on this issue.

And yet, Cameron, Clegg and the rest of the Coalition are happy to sit back and let them do it.

No comments:

Post a Comment