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Cavalier cuts

Coalition plans to cap benefits will not work as intended, and are unnecessarily draconian

By Tim Leunig   December 2010

Policies designed to hit people who never work and have child after child will hit others too—not least children themselves. Photo: Paul Box/Reportdigital

Housing benefit is suddenly newsworthy. It costs £20bn a year and will rise to £25bn without reform. The government’s planned changes are sweeping. The most prominent is an absolute cap on rent: £250 for a one-bedroom property, £400 for a four-bedroom one. London’s mayor Boris Johnson says it will lead to “ethnic cleansing”; London’s former mayor Ken Livingstone that the Tories are gerrymandering, Shirley Porter-style. The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee worries that central London will run out…

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