The National Housing Association tells us that the housing benefit bill is now double what it used to be:
Private landlords in the UK received twice as much in housing benefit last year - £9.3bn - as they did a decade ago, a report says.
The National Housing Federation (NHF) study said the increase was due to a big rise in the number of private tenants claiming housing benefit.
This is really a rather naked call for the members of the NHF to get that money instead:
"It's more expensive to house people in the private rental sector than the social rented sector, because social rented properties on the whole have been subsidised when they are built. Private rental properties are bought on the open market," said Richard Lambert from the National Landlord Association.
"Unlike housing associations private landlords have to charge the kind of price that covers their costs and that inevitably means that private renting is going to be more expensive than social renting."
You pays your money and you gets to choose which sort of subidy you're forking out.
It's worth noting that social housing landlords also collect housing benefit through the rents that they charge. So this really is a shout that "Oi! We want that money!" rather than someone telling us how the nation's housing bill might be reduced.
Oh, yes, we should mention who the NHF are:
That’s why we represent the work of housing associations and campaign for better housing.
Actual campaigning for better housing would be campaigning to reduce the cost of housing. Rather than, as here, entirely partial campaigning that one group of people should be receiving the subsidy rather than another.
All of which makes us the only people actually camapigning for better housing of course. For it is the cost of the permission to build upon a piece of land which drives UK housing costs up. The solution to this is simply to blow up the Town And Country Planning Act 1948 and successors. As we recommend and as just about no one else does.
We agree that we're rather out on a limb on this idea but then that's because we're the only people taking the problem seriously. Everyone else is, as above, merely squabbling over who gets the subsidies. Our suggestion gets to the root of the problem and would abolish the need for subsidy altogether. Which is rather why none of those fighting over the subsidies is willing to agree to the actual and effective solution.