Esther McVey has issued a written statement today that says more women being killed by domestic abuse is a price worth paying for her naked political ambition. More women will die as a result of this announcement and that is not hyperbole or emotive it is simply valid.
Esther McVey SSWP has today the day before Good Friday released a written statement of huge significance and means … no single person under the age of 22 will ever again be given a private rented or social rented tenancy.
Yet the buffoons in the national press are calling this a climbdown by McVey in supreme ignorance of what she has actually stated. Further, today’s announcement is Esther McVey saying that more women being killed by domestic abuse is a political price she is willing to pay as that is what WILL happen
One slightest transgression such as oversleeping or not having the bus fare to get to a job centre and arriving 2 minutes late will see the tenant evicted as housing benefit (UC housing costs payment) will stop. Any such slight transgression from the already onerous UC claimant commitment will see arrears, eviction and homelessness.
No landlord private or social can afford to take that risk – and note this risk applies to 18 – 21 years old in low paid work too not just those out of work.
Esther McVey therefore has not had an embarrassing climbdown as the ignorant journalists and commentators state in ‘restoring’ HB for this age group; she has actually introduced a barbaric offensive policy with huge adverse implications for single homelessness and rough sleeping and even domestic abuse.
The first is already stated above – that no landlord will ever again offer a tenancy to a single person under the age of 22 as they cannot possibly afford the risk. That means all council, HA and private landlords and without exception. I touch on some more examples in no order of priority.
Imagine a rough sleeper who has been given the new (and hyped to death) Housing First model that too many are ignorantly claiming to be a panacea. The slightest transgression and the tenancy is lost through sanction and the halting of UC housing costs.
Imagine the single person in a homeless hotel (in which this doesn’t and won’t apply at the hostel) who then leaves to his or her own tenancy. One slight transgression and homeless again and probably found to be intentionally homeless too! The same scenario for a single woman under 22 at a refuge is moved on and one slight transgression and she is homeless too.
Oh hang on, I am getting way ahead of myself here aren’t I? No landlord private or social will offer the single under 22 year old a tenancy at all due to the risks and so single people aged under 22 will not be able to move-on from a homeless hostel or from a domestic abuse refuge. And as the old saying goes, if you can’t move ’em on, you can’t move ’em in, which means hostels and refuges will be bed-blocked (in that ugly phrase) and so many more will sleep on the streets or sofa surf and so many more women will be refused access to a refuge as they are full!
Is it too emotive to say more women will die from domestic abuse as result of this policy? No, it is simply factual as refuges being full means that women of any age and with or without children will not be able to get into a refuge because of this policy. I discuss this in more detail below.
The introduction of SAR to social housing!
The statement from McVey concerns the Universal Credit housing costs element that will replace the current housing benefit regulations. Unlike HB that has differing regulations for private single tenants (SAR applies) and social housing tenants (SAR does not apply), Universal Credit that will replace Housing Benefit has no separate treatment and so SAR will apply to all aged under 22 as the statement seeks to hide and downplay. It is why I emphasise the “…in the normal way” part of the McVey statement.
How long before this SAR introduction by stealth sees a UC statutory instrument so that SAR applies to all single persons under the age of 35 as it does now in the private rented sector? It is inevitable – a word I use frequently as it is the correct word and it IS inevitable that this will happen.
5 years ago I put out a post to say that it is inevitable that the Tories would seek to introduce SAR to social housing that caused huge uproar across social housing. I was wrong everybody said publicly (while receiving over 300 private correspondences to say I was probably right!) – and this was denied even by government … who then did attempt to introduce it as I said they would and were thankfully rebuffed after a few years of hard challenge in November 2017.
UC introduces it and guarantees it is inevitable as UC will not have two competing sets of rules for private and social tenants. It may allow it for a little while (the usual suck it and see controlled lengthy roll-out) but it is inevitable that the rules applying to both social and private tenants under UC will become one set of rules applying to all. Today’s announcement begins that SAR application to social tenants process by stealth and soon it will apply to all single social tenants aged under 35.
No let’s go back to the domestic abuse refuge scenario. I have advised 17 refuges across England and I know from actual figures there that between 30% and 35% of all women who enter refuges are single, that is have no children, and are aged under 35. Anecdotally, I have spoken with many refuge managers recently and they confirm that this figure of 30% to 35% is still correct and happens in refuges I have not advised as refuge managers have phoned around and confirmed this figure.
This SAR cohort rarely gets any consideration as they are needing a social housing tenancy to move-on to due to only qualifying for the SAR level of housing benefit with a private landlord move-on option. You don’t get much if anything at all for this £45 per week housing benefit level in Sunderland or for the average £68 per week SAR level across England.
UNLESS domestic abuse refuges start to ban single women under 35 from entering refuges, which of course they will not do, then increased bed-blocking in refuge is a guaranteed certainty and inevitability.
That means more women fleeing domestic abuse will have nowhere to flee to – and the figure used by Women’s Aid is that in one night 90 women and 94 children were denied access to refuge because they were full.
Regrettably that is inevitable and just as regrettably the ideological idiots in the DWP have not seen this implication despite looking at this housing benefit change since 2014 when Cameron announced it! That is Tory housing benefit policy all over in being led by ideological back of a fag packet statements and having no regard for what the inevitable implications of such policy change will mean.
Esther McVey has just stated a policy that will kill more women from domestic abuse.
A policy that will see huge increases in single homelessness and in rough sleeping (ironically on the day the RSAP or Rough Sleeping Advisory Party have met!) And yet again we see Tory policy being DWP say one thing and MHCLG saying another as this DWP policy will increase rough sleeping and inevitably so … and this time on the same bloody day!!
Esther McVey has just neutered her colleague Sajid David today with this policy as a sharp increase in homelessness and in rough sleeping is inevitable because of it – and the Tories left hand once again has no idea what the right hand is doing.
Theresa May who set up the separate VAWG (Violence Against Women and Girls) department at the Home Office has today seen her colleague Esther McVey guarantee that more women will die from domestic abuse.
In summary Esther McVey’s announcement today will cut housing benefit because no landlord can afford to take the financial risk of accommodating any single person under 22.
McVey will revel in this as it furthers her naked political ambition yet she has done this at the expense of more women being killed from domestic abuse. To those buffoons who are claiming this announcement is a climbdown for Esther McVey … well let’s just say you are truly ignorant idiots and the real story that you could and should have run is McVey feels more women being killed from domestic abuse is a political price she is well willing to pay!