Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Housing Benefit Cuts

Housing benefit has nothing to do with cycling or transport, so what are we at Cycalogical doing talking about it?

Well, the Governments plans to cut the cost of housing benefit by £1.8bn a year are likely to mean that some people can no longer afford to live where they do now. It may not have escaped your notice that the cost of housing depends in part on the distance from central London and the distance from the nearest tube or train station.

So the effect of reducing housing benefit may be that people have to live in locations far from their workplace, and there are three consequences of this. First, it will increase substantially the amount of money some of the lowest-paid need to spend on transport. That's especially true given the planned increases in public transport fares. Second, it will increase the amount of time those people spend travelling. Given that a substantial number of people on low incomes work long and/or antisocial hours, additional travel-time may play havoc with their domestic and work arrangements. Third, more people travelling will increase the stress on a transport system that is already beyond capacity.

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