Even Tories admit to London social cleansing


9:31 am - October 27th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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This is what a Tory MP told Cathy Newman last night:

It’s pretty important that Iain Duncan Smith [the work and pensions secretary] realises that London is going to need some kind of transitional arrangements – an elongated time frame for London or a higher cap.

We are going to be packing trains full of the poor and most disadvantaged and packing them off to outer London.

It’s good at least some Tories realise what the housing benefit changes will mean. It’s more worrying that government ministers don’t.

There’s a good reason Jon Cruddas called it a ‘social cleansing’ of London – that’s exactly what it is.

Channel 4 is now reporting that the Coalition might end up giving some concessions on the issue.

Channel 4 report

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Here’s the simple rule: if you can’t afford to live somewhere, DON’T.

And don’t expect me to pay for it. I can afford to live in Central London because I have a job.

THANKS.

Also, I think the social cleansing of Central London is an excellent idea. I struggle to think of a downside.

Never mind the well paid dimwits who fail to realise that not having the poor in city centres means there’ll be no one to clean up their rubbish or serve their overpriced coffee at least they won’t have to look at them cluttering up the street as they drive past in their BMWs. When all the poor are relocated and London is populated only by the overpaid then we’ll know where to set off a neutron bomb, wonder if there are any on ebay?

Correction:

“We are going to be packing trains full of the poor and most disadvantaged and packing them off to healthy clean air and rolling fields with nice housing estates in outer London.”

I’m always surprised that people like Mr Coxall are always so angrily defiant when declaring themselves to be an unredeemable cunt. Like it’s a victory or something.

If people (such as Martin Coxall) think that their tax bill will be reduced as a result of this disgraceful act of class war they are seriously mistaken. Do they honestly think the millionaire class cares any more for them than they do for the poor? The naivety is (almost) touching.

“a ‘social cleansing’ of London”

So what’s new?

Try looking up “New Town” on Google.

I have yet to see a reason why capping the amount handed out for housing at the level that somebody on the median average wage would take home is a bad thing. Why should those that actually work pay for those that don’t work to live in a style that the workers could never enjoy?

This is class cleansing, pure and simple. Didn’t Malcolm X say something like if you can’t get a room in the house burn it down? Well the last time this scum were in power the major cities of England were on fire. Anyone smell burning?

‘Never mind the well paid dimwits who fail to realise that not having the poor in city centres means there’ll be no one to clean up their rubbish or serve their overpriced coffee at least they won’t have to look at them cluttering up the street as they drive past in their BMWs.’

I may be missing something here but aren’t people who work in coffe shops or cleaning up rubbish *employed*?

And isn’t it the employer’s duty to pay them a living wage, not the tax payers to subsidise them?

The problem is centralisation. Stop treating London as a special case and good jobs won’t concentrate there, and housing wont be so fucking expensive.

I may be missing something here but aren’t people who work in coffe shops or cleaning up rubbish *employed*?

I don’t know how many times this is going to have to be repeated until it sinks in, but most recipients of housing benefit are employed.

And isn’t it the employer’s duty to pay them a living wage

Hahahahaha! Seriously, what colour is the sky in your world? Living wage! Hilarious!

I’m guessing it’s a while since you last had a low-end job, right?

I know Mr Dale is not very popular on these pages but the letter he has posted does make some good points that the Left will need to respond to if they are to win this argument:

http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2010/10/draconian-housing-benefit-cuts-do-us.html

“I know Mr Dale is not very popular on these pages but the letter he has posted does make some good points that the Left will need to respond to if they are to win this argument:”

This is one of those fact vs anecdote debates. The cap is only a small part of the overall housing benefit cuts, though has attracted most of the media attention. So here’s the facts:

According to government figures, just under one million people will lose an average of £12 per week. Many of these people are in low paid work, and others are pensioners.

Do you remember when the Tories were outraged about the abolition of the 10p tax rate? The housing benefit cuts hit low paid workers two and a half times as hard as that policy did.

http://www.insidehousing.co.uk//6510875.article

tory mindsets are amazing,the assumption is housing benefit is only given to unemployed people. thats not true ,but hey who cares about facts?

15. margin4error

I have to say it was interesting to see Nick Clegg resort to faur indignation by taking the side of people who have been ethnically clensed against the terrible use of the supposedly belittling term “social clensing”.

Partly it was interesting because it shows the weakness of arguing that it doesn’t socially clense inner cities.

But more than that it was interesting because it reminded me – most of those effected will be black and asian.

16. margin4error

– if not “most” certainly disproportionally more

As pointed out at left foot forward today the number of people actually claiming benefits above the median wage has once again been greatly exagerated by the Chris “the truth” Grayling. But never let the truth get in the way of a good serving of bullshit by Geroge and co eh? Then again if I could get the likes of Mr Cocksall to believe anything that was printed in the daily mail why not?

18. Chaise Guevara

@ 5 Cylux

“I’m always surprised that people like Mr Coxall are always so angrily defiant when declaring themselves to be an unredeemable cunt. Like it’s a victory or something.”

High five!

The media never even contemplate the possibility that RENTS WILL DROP and many people will NOT HAVE TO MOVE. For too long, HB has indirectly pushed up rents for tax-paying workers.

20. Chaise Guevara

I’m not that comfortable with the term ‘social cleansing’ myself. I think it’s hyperbolic and tends to misrepresent the motives behind the policy. It’s not like the Tories are selling this idea as a way of preventing decent middle-class people from having to share a bus with oiks. It’s also a tad too reminiscent of ‘social engineering’: you know, that frightening term that applies to every government policy the right dislike.

So, Mr Coxall, should you be unfortunate enough as to lose your job, we can assume that you will pack up and head out of London immediately so that the taxpayer is not burdened with having to pay for you because you can no longer afford to? You won’t mind having to leave family and friends behind, or reducing your chances of getting a job. Presumably, if you have a partner – seems unlikely, but you never know – your partner will be happy to make some hard choices: whether to give up being with you, give up his/her job, keeping the job, move with you and have to cope with longer and more expensive journeys to work from the possibly inconvenient but affordable housing you’ve had to move into. And of course your children, if you have any, would be delighted to move away from their school, their friends, their activities. Paying for childcare because you have no family to do it for free while you go job-hunting would be no problem, nor would finding that you have to get smaller furniture because it doesn’t fit your smaller accommodation – all this wouldn’t bother you? These are just some of the problems which people will have to face, But I’m glad to hear that you can afford to live in London – for now.

“we can assume that you will pack up and head out of London immediately”

I certainly did.

@19

I lol’d

So, Mr Coxall, should you be unfortunate enough as to lose your job, we can assume that you will pack up and head out of London immediately so that the taxpayer is not burdened with having to pay for you because you can no longer afford to?

It wouldn’t even have occurred to me as an option. I’m in the process of moving out of London as I can’t afford a property there large enough for my ever-expanding family.

@ 21

You won’t mind having to leave family and friends behind, or reducing your chances of getting a job.

Hang on, let’s keep this in proportion. We’re talking about people moving out of Kensington & Chelsea across the river to Balham and Tooting. Hate to come over all IDS, but there are buses, so “reducing your chances of getting a job” won’t really be an issue.

London is over-rated. Moving out of the city would be good for you, if anything. Nice place to go for a holiday, or for a few days on work-related stuff, but living there? Can’t say it’d interest me.

My take on this, for what it’s worth. Sunny Hundal would probably be best advised not to click it.

Martin Coxall is well known for his “I’ve got mine fuck you” attitude. So no surprise he supports these fascist policies. I would not put it passed him to be in favour of extermination camps at the end of the railway line.

But I do wonder what the hell the Lie Dems are doing with this nonsense, But then their leader is a liar and a traitor to the left of centre politics.

Always good to see the tory trolls reveal their selfishness and hatred of the poor. Good to see how much the tory party has not changed one jot. They get their kicks shitting on people less fortunate than themselves. Always a sign of scum.

“We’re talking about people moving out of Kensington & Chelsea across the river to Balham and Tooting.”

No we’re not, because the move to paying LHA based on 30th percentile rents mean that there will be even fewer affordable properties available in places like Balham or Tooting. There will be a scramble for the properties which will take people who receive LHA, with the people who can’t find anywhere becoming homeless and being moved to wherever their council can find.

@25 If you have been relying on family to look after your children so that you can get to work, then moving away from your support group certainly can reduce your chances of getting a job by limiting the hours you can work because of childcare commitments. And don’t give us the “don’t have children if you can’t afford them” line. Circumstances change: anyone can end up out of work or unable to work and unlike many of those forming these policies, we don’t all have millions in a trust fund to fall back on.

30. Shatterface

‘Seriously, what colour is the sky in your world? Living wage! Hilarious!’

You didn’t answer my question: why should people living outside London subsidise Starbucks to pay miserly wages to serve coffee to yuppies? If people can’t live on what they pay them they should either increase wages or be driven out of business.

‘I’m guessing it’s a while since you last had a low-end job, right?’

I can’t afford to live in London, that’s for sure.

“Here’s the simple rule: if you can’t afford to live somewhere, DON’T”

Well that rules out the vast majority of land owners in this country who depend on various govt subsidies for their privileged life style. Most tory farmers would be fucked if we did not pay them to piss a round in fields all day.

20 “I’m not that comfortable with the term ‘social cleansing’ myself”

You really are a concerned troll are you not? No matter what the debate you seem to more interested in appeasing the right than fighting them. You should put in an application to be leader of the Lie Dems. They like tory apologists.

33. Chaise Guevara

@ 32 Sally

“You really are a concerned troll are you not? No matter what the debate you seem to more interested in appeasing the right than fighting them. You should put in an application to be leader of the Lie Dems. They like tory apologists.”

Sadly, you are unable to understand that’s its possible to oppose a policy without using inaccurate or hysterical language, or, indeed, insulting everyone who espouses it.

Oh, I know I’ve said it before, but you calling me a troll is fucking hilarious. You need to either buy a dictionary or look in the mirror, I’m not sure which. Get back under your bridge and stop bothering the grown-ups.

You didn’t answer my question: why should people living outside London subsidise Starbucks to pay miserly wages to serve coffee to yuppies?

They shouldn’t, but that is a much larger and more complex question which will not be fixed by these changes.

If people can’t live on what they pay them they should either increase wages or be driven out of business.

I’d be fine with that if it wasn’t for all the collateral damage. Driving Starbucks out of business is all very well, but not at the cost of making all their employees homeless.

22

I imagine there were celebratory parties Tim… 😉

“its possible to oppose a policy without using inaccurate or hysterical language,”

Its actually preferable and more likely to persuade someone of your case.

37. margin4error

Flowerpower

With respect – a rather modest four bedroom house in Forest Gate (among the poorest wards in England) costs around £350 a week.

And despite that Newham still has waiting lists of people in need of housing.

So lets not imagine the poor of Kensington and Chelsea will be able to find somewhere as close to home as Balham once relocation begins.

“The media never even contemplate the possibility that RENTS WILL DROP and many people will NOT HAVE TO MOVE. For too long, HB has indirectly pushed up rents for tax-paying workers”

Right, lets assume rents drop as a result of the changes.

This means the rate of return on the property has dropped, and therefore the property is worth less.

Now what happened last time the value of houses dropped? What effects did that have on the financial markets?

“its possible to oppose a policy without using inaccurate or hysterical language,”

Good luck trying it with the human garbage that is people like Matin Coxall.

@7

As you well know Mr W., there is a difference between “overspill” (which is what places like Letchworth and Stevenage are) and “clearance”.

The former was not just a London thing: there is Manchester overspill in towns like Knutsford (it’s not all exclusive housing) and Liverpool overspill in Northwich and Winsford – hence the enmity between folks in Knutsford and Northwich.

And of course those moving out to towns like Letchworth had jobs to go to.

But the intention isn’t to convince Coxall. He is a comitted tory, and his philosophy is as much about personal identity as it is about doing the right thing. So you could write the best essay in the world opposing his view, and it would be pointless – he would just brush it aside and carry on sticking to his world view. Whatever changes Osbourne made, he was always going to support it.

The purpose is to persuade the undecided. Think of it like in an election – labour are never going to release a manifesto that tories read and think “well actually they have a better programme for government than we do”. The purpose is to convince floating voters, and people who aren’t tribally identified with one party over another.

In terms of these housing benefit changes the purpose of discussing them isn’t to make osbourne change his mind – he won’t. It’s to make lib dem voters, floating voters and soft conservative voters know what the consequences of the changes are in the hope that many will be sufficiently disgusted to withdraw their support for the conservative party. Something the die hards will never do.

So the best way to do that is to avoid hysteria, ad-hominems, and argue the case logically.

42. Chaise Guevara

@ 39

“Good luck trying it with the human garbage that is people like Matin Coxall.”

There I agree with you.

43. Chaise Guevara

*Although I support what Planeshift says above as well. I’m actually fine with throwing insults at people who deserve it, but not at the expense of having a sensible conversation that might actually get you somewhere.

The Government talk a lot about unfair subsidies and getting in the way of market signals when discussing housing policy.

But housing subsidies (housing benefit and sub-market rents) are only there to correct for Government induced failures in the housing market. Firstly, the planning system constrains supply too much and prevents high-density high-rise build (inefficient and benefits property owners at the expense of everyone else. Secondly, owner occupation is subsidised to the tune of £17 billion a year through exemption from capital gains tax and taxation of asset returns – which aside from the negative economic impact of skewing of investment and saving to unproductive second-hand housing incentivises owners to consume more housing than they otherwise would do, pushing prices up for everyone else. Any cut to owner-occupiers housing subsidy? Thought not.

It’s also misleading to bang on – as the Government and their apologists like Dale are- about the cash caps – I would’ve thought the main impact is via the 30th percentile caps and the 10% cut to punish the unemployed for living during a recession.

Also This reform is only a short-term one. Universal Credit will – I assume – end the seperate payment of a locally-varying benefit that depends on housing costs. Instead there will be a single national rate of benefit set at a level that does not allow people to afford housing in the South.

45. Flowerpower

Margin 4 E @ 37

With respect – a rather modest four bedroom house in Forest Gate (among the poorest wards in England) costs around £350 a week.

Actually there really is no need to go out as far as Forest Gate (which really isn’t so bad, you know, especially the bit around Wanstead Flats) as one of Iain Dale’s readers has posted a sample list of desirable properties in easier to get to areas.

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)

As someone noted above, it’s in any case not the £400pw cap that’s likely to cause problems but the 30th percentile issue. I have no doubt that where this really does screw things up it will be duly tweaked…. but no one is going to say so while Ed Miliband and his BBC chums try to score cheap points by presenting any little adjustment to detail as a u-turn, “rowing back” or a “policy in chaos”.

When he became Labour leader, Miliband promised a more grown up and responsible style of opposition. But he hasn’t delivered. All the mendacity, cynicism and spin of the old days is still there aplenty.

While it’s fair to say Coxall is an almighty bellend with no redeemable features, it’s a bit much to suggest that the £400 cap means you can’t live in London, or that not living in ‘Central’ London is some kind of handicap (compared to, say, having to take a bus from Merthyr to Cardiff).

A bit of perspective, yeah? Nobody living in the centre of London is in any kind of hardship right now, nor will having to move a few stops down the road cause them to be.

Although I think sweeping everyone out of London who isn’t Martin Coxall would be the kind of bold social reform that all Londoners could get behind.

I would hate to see lower income and unemployed people moved out of central London.

The city would be greatly impoverished if it were to become a place only for the well healed.

@ 48

“well healed” = have got Bupa?

Great statistics from the Government agency who calculate Local Housing Allowance rates illustrating the impact of the proposed reforms http://www.voa.gov.uk/lhadirect/documents/lha_percentile_rates_oct_2010.html

As you can see, losers everywhere. Even in areas like Birmingham large families will lose £110/month and will have to move.

It is unfair to punish the poor, elderly and disabled for the policy failure of Right to Buy in pushing up the cost of Housing Benefit.

A lot of the other posters are kidding about the evils of the housing benefits cap right?

The proposed cap to housing benefits per week of £400, £20,800 per annum, which is tax free to those receiving it, is quite a large amount of money. I am currently in full time employment, earning several thousand over the national average, and after factoring in things like taxes and living expenses, there is no way in hell I can come close to matching that kind of money for rent. So is it right that those either out of work, or on lower incomes are being given so much money tax free for their housing, that they are able to live in far better housing than the “middle class”.

As for the argument that large families are being discriminated against by the cap as they can no longer afford a 6+ bedroom house each week, do they really need that much room, especially if they can not hope to fund it? This will make me sound callous and probably draw some flak on here, but I come from an Irish-Catholic background. As a child, one of my parents grew up with 11 family members in a 3 bedroom 60’s built council house, the other grew up with 7 people in a similar house, and it didn’t do them any harm. As a child there were 4 of us in a small two bedroom terrace. It wasn’t wonderful. It was very crowded. But we made do. Yes it would have been nice to have had a bedroom each, but we made do as we couldn’t afford better at the time. I watched my parents work their fingers literally to the bone at times to provide for us. They are both currently laughing at how outraged people are at the supposed “low” cap.

The best argument I can think to demonstrate the absurdity of the argument against the cap is if you can’t afford to go on holiday, you don’t go on holiday. If you can’t afford to live in a house costing more than £400 a week, then why should you demand that the tax payers subsidise/ pay for you to live there? As is clearly demonstrated by several previous posters, London is not a special case. People can live in very nice houses for less than the cap, which is far more than someone on my current income can afford to spend, especially when I don’t qualify for the benefits.

52. margin4error

Flowerpower

I know – I live in Forest Gate.

I realy like it. But it is one of the poorest parts of the country.

And I dare say it will have to be tweaked – Especially as Ed Miliband’s chum Boris Johnson has compared the plans to what happened in Kosovo.

Some people assume that claimants are living in luxury accommodation because the rent is high, and for the vast majority this is not the case. Also, why just focus on London? Other towns, like Brighton, will also be badly affected by the cap.

I can’t understand why more people haven’t made the point Shatterface makes. If the services sector suddenly finds that no-one can afford to commute in from zone 6 to clean their offices or serve their bloody frappuccinos any more, then we’ll start to see some wage readjustment. We’re not just “subsidising the poor to live in central London”, we’re subsidising the rich to employ them at low cost to themselves. We won’t have to rely on their sense of “duty” to pay a living wage, they’ll have no bloody choice.

There’s a very good piece by Adrian Sanders on LDV, by the way, about the housing benefit measures that genuinely *are* worrying (the 10% cut etc). This cap issue is a loser, whichever way you look at it. Shift your fire.

@ 46 Gwynn “A bit of perspective, yeah? Nobody living in the centre of London is in any kind of hardship right now, nor will having to move a few stops down the road cause them to be.”

Not true, there are indeed people in the very centre of London living on the poverty line, unable to afford to heat their ancient and uninsulated homes in cold winters. And not looking forward to being pushed out to the sink estates. Already people in social housing who are having trouble keeping up with their rent payments due to low pay, small pensions, etc, are being offered a move to places like the Hull hinterland, as a solution.

@54 – service sector wages to be pushed up?

Don’t forget that London will be packed with students having to work part-time in the service sector to reduce their sky-high uni fees bills. All those dowdy office and hospital cleaners and other low-waged and low-pensioned poor will be moved out of central London, out of sight, out if mind.

Don’t forget that London will be packed with students having to work part-time in the service sector to reduce their sky-high uni fees bills.

No they won’t. It’s 9% of earnings over 21,000. No need to spin it.

58. kiki short shaft

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Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Even Tories admit to London's 'social cleansing' http://bit.ly/dwKt4J

  2. GuyAitchison

    "We're going to be packing trains full of the poor and packing them off to outer London." What was that about fairness? http://bit.ly/cRmN8O

  3. False Economy

    "We're going to be packing trains full of the poor & packing them off to outer London." What was that about fairness? http://bit.ly/cRmN8O

  4. Liz K

    RT @libcon: Even Tories admit to London's 'social cleansing' http://bit.ly/dwKt4J

  5. Richard Brooks

    RT @libcon: Even Tories admit to London's 'social cleansing' http://bit.ly/dwKt4J

  6. Andy Sutherland

    RT @libcon: Even Tories admit to London's 'social cleansing' http://bit.ly/dwKt4J

  7. Max

    RT @falseecon: "We're going to be packing trains full of the poor & packing them off to outer London." What was that about fairness? http://bit.ly/cRmN8O

  8. p

    RT @libcon: Even Tories admit to London's 'social cleansing' http://bit.ly/dwKt4J

  9. Hano

    RT @libcon: Even Tories admit to London's 'social cleansing' http://bit.ly/dwKt4J

  10. Jonathan Adams

    RT @libcon: Even Tories admit to London's 'social cleansing' http://bit.ly/dwKt4J

  11. Pip Willcox

    RT @falseecon: "We're going to be packing trains full of the poor & packing them off to outer London." What was that about fairness? http://bit.ly/cRmN8O

  12. NORMAN HERRINGTON

    RT @PhilDyson: RT @libcon: Even Tories admit to London's 'social cleansing' http://bit.ly/dwKt4J

  13. Lanie Ingram

    RT @libcon: Even Tories admit to London's 'social cleansing' http://bit.ly/dwKt4J

  14. ross ofcourse

    "We are going to be packing trains full of the poor and most disadvantaged and packing them off to outer London" http://bit.ly/dwKt4J

  15. Liam Fox

    RT @libcon: Even Tories admit to London's 'social cleansing' http://bit.ly/dwKt4J

  16. NewLeftProject

    Tory MP: "We are going to be packing trains full of the poor and most disadvantaged and packing them off to outer London" http://is.gd/gpdRq

  17. Derek Bryant

    RT @NewLeftProject: Tory MP: "We are going to be packing trains full of the poor and most disadvantaged and packing them off to outer London" http://is.gd/gpdRq

  18. sunny hundal

    When even Tory MPs admit to London's social cleansing, Labour MPs have no reason to complain of exaggeration http://bit.ly/dwKt4J

  19. cocklewoman

    RT @sunny_hundal: When even Tory MPs admit to London's social cleansing, Labour MPs have no reason to complain of exaggeration http://bit.ly/dwKt4J

  20. Barry McComish

    RT @sunny_hundal: When even Tory MPs admit to London's social cleansing, Labour MPs have no reason to complain of exaggeration http://bit.ly/dwKt4J

  21. Press Not Sorry

    RT @sunny_hundal: When even Tory MPs admit to London's social cleansing, Labour MPs have no reason to complain of exaggeration http://bit.ly/dwKt4J

  22. Pat Raven

    Even Tories admit to London social cleansing | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/5eDIGnj via @libcon

  23. Andy Sutherland

    RT @sunny_hundal: When even Tory MPs admit to London's social cleansing, Labour MPs have no reason to complain of exaggeration http://bit.ly/dwKt4J

  24. London and the ConDem Government « FiLo – The Fieldwork in London Network

    […] a ‘Kosovo style’ cleansing of the poor from London, with a new housing policy. The social cleansing of London will be effects by a cap on housing benefits – applying equally to high rent areas […]

  25. Gemma Handford

    Even Tories admit to London social cleansing http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/10/27/even-tories-admit-to-londons-social-cleansing/

  26. CodaQueen

    RT @Snugglegoth: Even Tories admit to London social cleansing http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/10/27/even-tories-admit-to-londons-soci





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