Bloody hell. Homeless charities point out that the government’s Housing Benefit cuts are going to double the number of people sleeping rough because of not being able to pay their rent. And the government’s response to these findings?
In response to the charities’ concerns, the minister responsible, Lord Freud, said he did not recognise the figures being quoted. He also did not believe there would be a substantial rise in homelessness. “It might be possible for existing tenants to negotiate a reduction in their rent or to meet the shortfall from other income … we expect many [landlords] will undoubtedly reduce rents,” he said.
…or, more briefly, ‘oh, it’ll probably all work out’. No safeguards to prevent people ending up on the streets, no new homeless shelters, no rent controls; just a vague hope that some of the poorest people in Britain will be able to conjure more money out of thin air or convince their landlord to charge them less. Because demand for housing is definitely set to plummet any day now, honest. I know it’s become a cliché to say that the government doesn’t care about the impact their economic policies are going to have, but it’s rare to see it demonstrated this blatantly. Fuck’s sake.