I have no regrets about rebelling on plans to reduce benefits for people in homes that are under-occupied. Most debate on these reforms have centred around the Cap. I support a cap in principle, as unlimited benefits makes finding work impossible, as do all three of the major parties, but is important that the detail of these plans are properly scrutinised to avoid unintended consequences.
I’m sure that the Government doesn’t want to force a pensioner couple out of the home they have lived in for 30 years and brought their family up once the kids grow up and leave.
On a related issue, on Tuesday, I chaired a meeting of the MPs from the North West on behalf of the Housing Federation on how to get the best out of housing related support. This is a wide ranging support network for the vulnerable in society such as the elderly and victims of domestic abuse.
This is an important service. A 2009 report by Capgemin commissioned by the DCLG showed that the £1.6 billion invested in housing related support schemes actually saves £3.4 billion by reducing the needs for extra services.
Even though Councils run these services, the MP’s of all party’s present promised to lobby for improvements to these important services.