There is a great debate in the media, including the BBC about the government’s cap on welfare benefits for a household of £500 per week. Some have argued that Ian Duncan Smith, the architect of the changes is not as Christian as he purports to be. But none of those so arguing have been willing or able to show where in Scripture is the command that the state should look after people who are not in work.
I think that it is good that the media are holding the government to account for this because the opposition are clearly ineffectual in their arguments in Parliament.
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how politicians of all parties seem to be unable to see beyond the end of their noses. This has become obvious in this debate because the absolutely everyone talks about ‘ethnic cleansing of families on benefits’ from high cost areas of the country. Is that really what is going to happen?
There has also been the accusation that this change will adversely affect large families. I do not see why any taxpayer should be obliged to subsidise the choice of any other person with regard to the size of their family. For those who do not wish to use contraceptives, there are natural methods of birth control.
Perhaps in some very desirable areas, where there would be sufficient demand for private rented housing from the folks who are working and earning a high wage, it will do so, but in most cases, all that will happen is that rents will fall because the demand for housing at high rent will fall. This will bring about a genera reduction in the cost of housing in the UK, a correction which is needed, because the ratio of average house prices to average incomes is still significantly above the long term trend.
The opposition to this measure seems to be wanting to support private landlords who are making a killing at the expense of the state rather than to ensure that the families on benefits have the necessary level of disposable income. Perhaps Ed Miliband should consider changing the name of his party, in honour of his predecessor Tony Blair’s investments, to The Landlord Party.