What will happen if they remove benefits from rioters?

This post was written by Guest Post on August 15, 2011
Posted Under: Uncategorized
  • There are certain things that all humans need in order to survive: food, access to clean water, shelter, and clothes.
  • In Britain, when people are out of work, these means of living are provided by the state in the form of benefits and council housing.
  • Benefits currently stand at the minimum needed to provide these core necessities: Jobseekers’ allowance for an 18-24 year-old (£2779.40 per year) is a ninth of the median working wage, less than a third of the national minimum wage for a 21+ working 30 hours a week, and less than half of the personal tax-free allowance.
  • People who live in council houses have nowhere else to live. If they are evicted they become homeless, and may well have to sleep rough on the streets.
  • The removal of benefits from people who have been involved in the recent disturbances that is currently being suggested by the conservative government will lead to thousands of people not having access to the most basic means of existence.
  • Benefits are already not there to give people a life: they are to stop people dying.
  • Benefit claimants are often blamed for being out of work, but there are currently 5.4 people unemployed for every vacancy. There are simply not enough jobs for everyone.

Over 200,000 people have signed a petition to the government asking that those involved in the disturbances have their benefits removed. The government and local councils are taking this seriously, and looking at means of instituting these procedures.

Many of the liberal commentators have criticized the plans of the government and local councils to remove benefits and evict tenants on the basis that it will “not help them get back on track” or will “increase crime rates”. They ought to be more concerned about many thousands of people dying of malnutrition, having no shelter, and no access to clean water. There has, so far, been no practical proposal from government on how these people are expected to live.


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Reader Comments

Al Derby

Hang on. Not to detract from the seriousness of the threat, but don’t councils still have a legal duty to rehouse anyone evicted under this pogrom? They’ve got to allocate them new housing somewhere, surely? Are they seriously trying to void that responsibility, and if so, how?

Written By Al Derby on August 15th, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

No – they’re under no such obligation. See point 3 here http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/HomeAndCommunity/Councilandhousingassociationhomes/Rentarrearsandeviction/DG_188693

Written By Someonewhoknows on August 15th, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

Al – they do, but only where they recognise a duty under statutory homelessness – and this is hard to obtain, particularly for young people (since one of the conditions for not being homeless is that there is *anyone* you could stay with). Indeed a paper I read from St Andrews Centre for Housing Research suggested that for every one statutory homeless person, there’s another ‘other homeless’ – who has no home but isn’t recognised by the local authority as ‘their problem’. Since the funding to aid homelessness has been cut, and the reforms to housing benefit (where tenants are now expected to subsidise it through benefits since it’s paid on an average basis – great if you’re in london) mean that tenants often can’t afford shelter, there’s a double bind on the LAs to do more for less. The inevitable consequence is that they’re doing less for less and trying to discharge homelessness duties wherever possible. Not that this is new – they’ve been at it for years – until recently quite a few allocations policies were actively unlawful but it’s taken quite a lot of suing to get them changed.

But yes, I agree. It’s completely stupid and counterproductive. If we’re trying to save money, prison is a damn sight more expensive than benefits – and that’s where most of these kids will be ending up if they have no money and can’t get a job.

Written By Holly on August 15th, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

It’s very simple

Don’t loot.

Written By Mark on August 15th, 2011 @ 9:27 pm

Please remove trolls like Mark.

Suggested response: eviction resistance and mass squatting. Group now created for struggle around evictions: https://we.riseup.net/noriotevictions

Written By Andy on August 16th, 2011 @ 3:39 am

Lots of these people committed the crimes they did because they felt they could do so without consequences which mattered to them – they are just not that bothered about going to prison for a while. Let’s teach them (and others) that if you are not going to treat society with respect, it won’t treat you with respect. Council housing and benefits should be for those who need them, not those who take them for granted and take no responsibility for themselves. Who cares if the rioting thugs end up homeless? They’ll experience what the people whose homes they burned down feel.

Written By marco on August 16th, 2011 @ 6:11 am

Marco, read this ……


If people like Gove can get away with looting and stealing this sort of money then how can the Tories sit in judgement on anyone who takes a bit of what they fancy?

Anyway, the riots were part of a much bigger problem that the government is refusing to acknowledge, that the poor in our society are feeling thoroughly abused, degraded and dehumanised, and blamed for problems created by the ruling classes and the profiteers. The poor are not to blame for being poor, it is forced on us by people who think they are better than us. They are not.

Written By Esther nagle on August 16th, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

>Hang on. Not to detract from the seriousness of the threat, but don’t councils still have a legal duty to rehouse anyone evicted under this pogrom?

It’s not clear whether by ‘pogrom’ you’re referring to the victims burned out of their homes by the riots, or to the rioters who have been caught.

It is usually already in Tenancy Agreements that eviction of Council Tenants can be done for local (usu. in the Council Area) anti-social behaviour. That probably includes wrecking your town centre. It takes *months* and *months*.

The grey area is asb outside the local area.

I’m not sure of the duty to rehouse victims of the riots, but I’d guess that it would qualify as “involuntarily homeless”.

Written By Matt Wardman on August 17th, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

Look, I had a girlfriend for several years who was an associate manager at a human resources consulting firm. She often regaled me with stories of what various employees would do, mostly to one another. After listening to her for a couple of years, I pointed out that the people she was describing simply weren’t cut out for contributing in any meaningful way to society. Not because they lack “job skills”, but because their viciously miserable personalities made them unbelievably difficult with which to work. All of a sudden she started seeing what I was seeing, and it helped her accept that there were lots of things she just couldn’t fix.

So, individual personality is something that just is not fixable, as it crystallizes somewhere between 6 and 16, the vast bulk probably set in stone by 12. Someone, then, who by the age of 25, has never held a job, is probably a zero marginal productivity worker, that is there is no conceivable work situation where they are a profitable addition to any organization. Sure, by 40, they’ll probably be so lethargic that they can be trusted to sweep floors, and not much else. But, what do you do with them before 40?

They are, in the starkest sense, of no worth to society. What do you do when you have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of individuals like that?

Written By Asher on August 18th, 2011 @ 12:21 am

Of no worth to society? But what are you measuring human worth in? Pounds, shillings and pence? Odd set of values that. It seems to be quite a short step from that to dehumanising rioters altogether. As many people have. I recommend this:


Written By J on August 19th, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

I see your point but not everyone who is on benefits looted, your article paints a picture that millions will be taken off benefits for a long period of time.

Alongside that, what policy/punishment would you propose for these looters to face what they’ve done? I assume a harsh prison sentence is something you’d avoid and I’d like a realistic response that doesn’t blame “the cuts”. Face the facts, no matter which of the parties took power, cuts were going to happen. Don’t avoid that fact by blaming the looting on the government.

Or would you suggest no punishment? And that we should all be afraid of these people who decided to steal things it takes the rest of us months (or years) worth of savings to buy…?

Written By John on August 19th, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

The fact that an individual has the Homo Sapien DMA does not make them human. Human is a product of millenia of civilization and the rules that govern appropriate behavior in mass society. I do not regard the looters s human.

Oh, and, while Hitler lied his ass of about the Jews, if what he claimed about them had been true the Holocaust would have been justified.

Written By Asher on August 19th, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

Here’s something to think about – WHY can’t they find anywhere else to live?

Because they’re so self-centered, and psychotically antisocial, that no sane person would allow them to stay with them.

Push them out on the streets, then shoot them in the head when they try to burn down the city.

What you’ve failed with is that there is no requirement to do anything in exchange for support – if you required people to at least spend, say 2 days a week picking up trash in order to claim benefits (and be required to look for work the other three), they’d at least understand the relationship between work and support. The current system simply trains them into the belief that they are entitled to anything they want without working for it.

Written By Chris on August 26th, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

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