Why tell lies about the benefit cap?

Posted by Christie Malry on January 22, 2012 at 9:10 pm

It didn't take them long to start trotting out all sorts of nonsense about the proposed cap on benefits.

The worst hit, of course, are large families in the south-east, where rents are higher. Even in Tolworth, described by the Evening Standard as the "scrag end of Kingston borough", a four bedroom house will give you little change from £400 a week. Cutting housing benefit to £100 a week – which is broadly what the cap means if you have four children – makes life impossible. After rent, council tax and utilities, a family with four children would have 62p per person per day to live on. That is physically impossible.

Do you see what they've done there?

They've worked out the total benefits package that a family of four would get. Then they've made up some numbers for what this family would have to live on. Then they've complained that this would leave the family with only 62p per person per day.

Of course, this family doesn't have such a paltry amount. They've actually got £11.87 [(£26,000 / 6) / 365] per person per day to live on. And every single penny of that £11.87 comes from the good grace of working taxpayers.

Now it's true that rents are expensive. And that utilities are expensive, so a great deal of that £11.87 needs to be spent on those items. But they're also expensive for those who work. A family of four would need to earn a great deal more than £26,000 in order to actually bring home £26,000 because they have to pay tax on their income. And they would still face the same pressures of expensive housing and expensive utilities. It's an appalling insult to those who work to pretend that the real poverty is faced by those who are propped up to the tune of £11.87 every single day for each of their six non-working members.

And pretending that it's not £11.87, but is really only 62p, makes that insult a thousand times worse. Shame on you, Tim Leunig.

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