Maybe I shouldn't get so worked up about these things but I do.
I've lived in London since I graduated and worked damn hard to be able to afford to be able to live here, in relatively nice accommodation, but nowhere near the centre of town (I've lived in Ealing, Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush and Fulham in my 6 years here).
I now see claims from people like Simon Hughes regarding the 'draconian' nature of only giving people £400pw to spend on a 4 bed property in London and hear all the tales of the ghettoisation of the poor and the segregation of society.
To start with, a quick look on gumtree shows no shortage of 4+ bedroom properties in London. Yes, they might not be in Kensington but why should they be? I doubt I will ever be able to afford to live in Kensington at any point and I earn a great deal more than the median wage mentioned as the cap. Just because people on benefits can't live in central London doesn't mean they all have to congrigate in one big ghetto. Here's what you can get for £400, all advertised in the public domain, I can provide links if needs be:
Putney: 4 bedroom flat located in a desirable area of Putney. The property benefits from 4 double bedrooms , 2 bathrooms and private balcony. The property has been Renovated last year and is in very good condition. Close to Transport link (East Putney tube station and Putney Rail) and shops. To Arrange a viewing please call our letting team (£365pw)
Brentford: well maintained four bedroom semi detached house with garden in sought after location of Brentford - Enfield Road. The property on the ground floor consists of huge living room with fireplace and dining section, conservatory leading to low maintenance garden with shed, fitted kitchen, roomy bathroom with whirlpool bath. Upstairs there is a master bedroom with fitted wardrobes, single bedroom with roof terrace and two additional bedrooms (one is a loft room). The house benefits from double glazing, real wood flooring through and gas central heating. There is parking available on the street. (£356pw)
Lewisham: An absolutely superb opportunity to rent this luxurious house situated in the much sought after residential road. Being extremely spacious , the property comprises: security video entry system, welcoming entrance hallway, superbly designed lounge and dining room, luxury fitted kitchen with granite worktops and built in appliances, study, guest cloakroom, master bedroom with ensuite bathroom having fabulous fitted bathroom and dressing room, second double bedroom with ensuite shower room. (£400pw)
I could go on but I'm sure you get the idea.
Next, the cap of £400pw is the equivalent of £1,738pcm or £20,857pa. I'm pretty sure that someone earning the median wage wouldn't be able to afford that amount after taxation is applied to their £26,000, let alone living costs. But to make someone out of work rent for such an amount is 'draconian'? Do me a favour.
I really can't believe the furore over this and in fact if anything the furore should be produced over the amount that is still being offered when people who have worked pretty damn hard can't afford a place themselves as rentals are kept artificially high in London due to DSS/housing benefits paying these amounts.
Maybe I've missed something but it still seems pretty extravagent to me
Well he certainly makes some good points, doesn't he?
UPDATE: Dizzy takes Labour MP Andrew Gwynne to task on housing benefit.