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Young mother asks for an apology after being misrepresented as "benefit scrounger".
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Tags: Newsnight Welfare
@ TIM MANN
Er, I don't have a TV and I get hounded by the licence company for not having a licence, because I used to have a TV but decided it was all a load of propaganda shite, so forgive me for the "fatuous handle". They're probably working out who wrote this and come to double/triple check again. Did you know that if you move house and there's a gap in payment, they charge you 6 mths up front, making out you have to pay the licence in 6 mths, but it's extra to the licence. After 6 mths are up, they make you pay again, thereby you been charged for one and a half licences. You can claim the 6 mths back, but they make it very hard and keep it very secret.
Just out of curiosity, how many buy-to-let landlords are complaining about the level of housing benefit?
Secondly it appears the BBC made this misrepresentation because they knew their victim had no, apparent, means of legal redress. (So much for weird myth that the BBC is biased to the left)
Thirdly why cannot the Local Authority impose rent control on all premises where the tenant receives housing benefit?
There is such a thing as a fair rent tribunal, but the hassle for the tenant... all the local councils do is put you on a ratings list for a transfer to a council house. Better than not doing anything, I suppose, but it's a come-down for those who are trying to stay in private accomodation.
Because price controls don't work.
Why argue out of ignorance? Rent controls work spectacularly well in Germany, and just about everywhere else they are implemented.
And do you think the present policy is working? £21 billion paid in housing benefit, 1.8 million households on waiting lists, rents very high and increasing, housing starts over the last few years at historic lows. If that is a successful housing policy then I would like to see a bad one.
I'm not sure. Why are you arguing out of ignorance?
An overwhelming majority of economists thinks rent controls are bad. Rent controls means less supply of housing, it is blindingly obvious.
If you want housing prices to come down, then build more houses. There is no other solution.
It is neither blindingly obvious, nor even true, that rent controls would reduce supply; after all, what else are landlords going to do with their vacant properties? The only options are to accept rents at whatever level the (market-determined or legislated) price is, or to sell their property. So the supply curve is flat at low price levels.
However, you are correct that building more houses would reduce both prices for home buyers and renters.
"after all, what else are landlords going to do with their vacant properties? "
You are forgetting that we need the supply of housing to increase. By putting in price controls, you lower the supply of new housing since you make it a less appealing investment.
First of all, you may encourage landlords to sell their properties rather than keep them as rentals. You may encourage alternate use of properties (for example, people would stop converting commercial properties to residential if residential rents are going to be controlled). You may encourage landlords not to subdivide buildings if rents are capped (or only capped below a certain level) - its not worth the investment.
Secondly, you discourage investment in upkeep. Landlords let properties decay when they aren't going to get a market rent for them.
This is the same mistake that price control promoters make time after time, decade after decade.
I find it incredible that anyone can still beleive price controls have no effect on supply.
Your points are well argued in regard to new house building, which I fully agree is badly needed in the medium/long term. In the short term, however, the direct effect of controlling rents is unlikely to be outweighed by any reduction in housing supply, as there simply aren't many other uses for most houses. Even if rental incomes drop, landlords will still protect their investments in the best way possible. Either they continue renting at lower prices, or they sell, which increases the supply and decreases the cost of houses available to buyers. Allowing their properties to decay only harms their own investment. The housing stock is not likely to fall within the next 5-10 years.
Regarding making increases to the supply of housing, there are still significant incentives for building new houses. Prices have risen significantly compared to previous decades, and given the lack of activity in the construction sector at present, houses are relatively cheap to build. If any further encouragement were needed, the government would be able to offer tax breaks for house building or conversion, using the money saved from lower levels of housing benefit. The real issue here is the difficulty in obtaining mortgages, and the size of deposits being required.
You are right that an economic theory says that rent controls are bad and will lead to a shortage of supply. But when the theory does not fit with the facts then it is time to re-write the text books. Who'd have thought that the economists, who are right about everything else, (as we can see by the brilliant way they all warned us about the crash) could possibly be wrong on such a basic issue?
There is no shortage of rented accommodation in Germany and 60% of the population rent. Rents are far lower than here and tenants have security of tenure. Here, with no rent controls, rents are sky high (partly thanks to housing benefit), but building of new homes is desperately low. Buy-to-let landlords purchase homes that were previously owner-occupied so the supply of homes for owner-occupation did not kept up with rising demand - this is one of the factors behind 2000-08 housing boom. We are in a situation now when in some places most of the people who can afford to pay for a new home are buy-to-let speculators. We have a generation of people on median income who will never be able to buy a home, so they must rent. This means the demand for rented accommodation increases, pushing rents up, and pushing up the price buy-to-let landlords will pay for new property. This is a vicious circle, which needs to broken by a combination of: rent controls; higher tax on rent income; and a programme of LEA home building.
errr .... I made a complaint via the online complaints page at bbc Do they not read these? bbc needs to define 'formal complaint' and apologise on air to Shanene and other offended viewers!
A formal complaint is one made to the Complaints Commission. Everyone should send one.
Newsnight has not offended me for years, I no longer watch it. Just say no!
"You cannot hope to bribe or twist
(Thank God!) the British journalist.
But, seeing what the man will do
Unbribed, there's no occasion to."
I must say I have never met anybody called Allegra. Privately educated, Oxbridge (archaeology and anthropology!), BBC - it's all too sadly familiar.
I'd love for Shanene to interview her about her lifestyle and social standing. I am far from a class warrior, but this interview (and the stanglehold the Allegra's seem to hold over much of our public life - last week we had Nick Clegg of Westminster, Cambridge, son of a banker and related to Russian aristocrats, on social mobility) is a tumbril moment and no mistake.
Just to clarify some things about housing benefit - there are many millions of people some some working, some unemployed, some part-time working, some pensioners, some single people with no children, some childless couples, some lone parents and some 2-parent families - that are getting housing benefit. The amount of benefit depends on the claimant's income - it could well be that the amount of benefit is as little as 50p a week - the comments below seem to imply this person gets all her rent paid - she does not and we do not know how much help she gets. I would also point out that the current housing benefit scheme (excepting a few amendments made by Freud when he was a Labour Gov't advisor) is much the same as it was when it was introduced back in 1988 under Thatcher. The current Govt plans for Universal Credit will (if they are to be believed) be there to help this 'customer' with her housing costs just as much as they are helping her now. I gave up on the Beeb having any integrity decades ago and there is certainly nothing gay-friendly about it.
I could really start to hate the BBC.
Upper-middle class ultra liberals who look down their noses at poor people, yet think they're so progressive because they've got lots of gay friends.
Honestly. This awful interview just goes to show why in reality politicians, journalists ie the media in general are held in such "disregard". Rightly so, in my view. This encounter may go a long way to helping Justive Leveson with the inquiry.
I think the young mother behaved perfectly well in the face of some very impertinent and particularly stupid questions about her private life.
Either her wages are too low or her rent is too high. Central govt should not subsidise low wages and the market cannot be relied upon to deliver affordable housing to those who need it.
She's was living at home, then she decided to move out....and I need to pay for her new home. Why am I paying for her new home? I'd like to be putting more money away for my own kids future, not paying for her.
Here we have the fulcrum of the secondary argument. She had the baby and decided to move out of the family home. Who financed the move, the baby's father? LOL.
Advice to all would be TV interviewees - Forget it
Why don't your brats pay for their own future?
Because not all parents are pox ridden educational sub normals who slept with enough lorry drivers to dilute the toxic state of her canal to chuck out congenitally syphilitic progeny
How is your mum? I've heard they can do wonders now days.
There's clearly little point making a reasoned response to that bilious outpouring by making the blindingly obvious connection between wages v housing costs let alone child care costs. So I'll stick with sincerely hoping that you do not produce any offspring in case they have the same cancerous views as you. Pond Life.
Apologies, my bilious comments were aimed firmly at Pelvon, and his mum, no-one else.
I'm just asking why do I need to pay for this woman's wish to leave home? Anyone?
If my next door neighbour knocked on my door and explained that her daughter wants to move out, but can't afford the rent, so she's set up a direct debit against my bank account I'd not be too happy. Why should I feel any different because it's being done anonymously.
The women in this interview doesn't seem to be disabled, she seems to be a responsible adult capable of rational thought, to make choices and understand the consequences?
She's had all the advantages of a first world education, free access to health care and family planning advice and services.
Why has a safety net been turned into a lifestyle choice?
That is a perfectly valid question and worthy of the debate that I'm sure is going on in pubs and offices all round the country and on forums all over the internet. The fact is Shanene is entitled to some housing benefit and she would be foolish not to accept it. The issue here is that Shanene was not asked to go on to justify what benefits she gets or discuss the politics of the welfare state, she was asked to go on to describe how she copes with a full time job and a small child on a tight budget. For whatever reason the BBC were not honest with her and she has every right to expect an apology.
I'm American, but my understanding is the UK has much more stringent laws regarding defamation and libel than we do in the US. I hope the BBC is appropriately sanctioned for their obvious, intentional mischaracterization of Ms. Thorpe.
Stratton also did a good demolition of pensioner benefits the night before.She must hate her parents as well as single mums or else she just wants us all put down like an animal.Newsnight in general has gone down the tubes.
Err, Mr Danger. Shanene Thorpe is a taxpayer. Low pay and high rents are the problem, not a woman trying to do the best for her child.
If her low pay couldn't pay the high rent, she should have stayed at home.
I suppose Shanene kept her child just as the Queen kept hers. What are Elizabeth and the dukes housing costs one wonders? Remember, we are all in this together!!!!!
"I have done my best for her and wanted to bring her up independently."
And by independently, she means with taxpayers money.
“To set the record straight, I work for tower hamlets council, I’ve worked since 16 and I only get help towards my rent because it is so high.”
Did you miss the whole point of the article? I'll summarise for you: cherry-picking certain things out of context = bad.
She earns, and if she works full-time for Tower Hamlets, chances are she's in income tax herself (plus council tax on her property). Prove that there's no state services or subsidies you yourself benefit from day to day and you can comment, but I doubt you can.
Actually I can comment with or without your permission.
How is it 'independent' to get the state to pay your rent?
Here is what Shanene has said in one of her tweets: "I pay the same amount of as paying a mortgage, full rent on a council property, or someone living outside of london, they top up the rest"
This means she is probably paying at least £400 to £500 a month towards rent from her salary. If there was a decent amount of affordable housing she wouldn't actually need to claim Housing Benefit at all - and neither would thousands of other low-paid workers.
That's what you should really be worrying about, not that one woman has chosen to go to work to provide for her child, as far as she is able.
Jeepers! (Slaps forehead) Another Cretin! What is it that you don't understand about the fact that average salaries in London do not support average rent levels in the London housing market. Or maybe you would prefer a scenario where those on low/ average wages who provide many of the essential support services being unable to afford to live in London. Presumably you don't require the services of nurses, bus drivers, bin men, police, ambulance drivers etc, etc let alone people who work in shops, pubs, do clerical jobs that keep things ticketyboo. Just have a little go at thinking first before commenting. For the rest of us.
Please link these two together. It is generally accepted that the London housing market is completely kyboshed BUT why does this situation excuse the woman having a baby, leaving the family home, and contributing to the mess? Surely her reasoned response should be " the vastly overpriced housing market doesn't allow me to leave home no matter how much I would like to"?
But if she is doing everything in her power to help herself out, financially, and is being prevented from enjoying a modest but comfortable standard of living by circumstances outside of her control, then shouldn't we - the taxpayers, the government, our society - help her out?
The issue is not what the market allows, but what people deserve. We deserve a government that cherishes and protects the individual; rather than one seduced by the promises of a dying capitalism, that stuffs its pockets with alms money and grovels at the feet of big business.
"The issue is not what the market allows, but what people deserve."
That's what the Greeks said. Who cares about the budget? Just give everybody everything, and damn the capitalists.
Except she didn't receive any taxpayer's money did she? I presume the money went to her landlord because her pay was too low to afford her rent...
Nice try, but she's still the beneficiary.
Go fuck yourself Danger
Allegra Stratton, private school & Emmanuel College, Cambridge, demonises working single mum for not paying her way. Stratton should resign, she lacks journalistic integrity and why should the public pay her salary in order to be deceived like this?
We have to conclude that the BBC has denied the Tories are going to win the next election and people who work there are concentrating on being 'appropriate' for the future.
But it's the Beeb, old son. Whatever did you expect? It's full of self-important tossers and whatever the feminine of that is. Anyway, at least you can't blame the government.
Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.