What do you think of the British governments' proposals to cap welfare payments to families at £26000?

The British governments' idea to cap the max payments to welfare recipients to £26,000 is, in my opinion, well overdue. In order for an employed person to take this money home they would need to earn in excess of £35,000 per year, getting on for £700 a week!

The welfare state has created a welfare dependency culture, making it a 'career choice' for the less well educated people. At present, the more children one has, the more welfare one receives.

What are your views on this?

It is very easy to give the standard knee jerk reaction to this as all the rhetoric from politicians has referred to thos people who have made benefit claiming a career choice for them and their families, sometimes for generations. For those people who have never paid into the system and never will I can see no vaslid reason why they should earn more than the average wage in UK. On the other side are those who have worked all their lives and paid into the sytem in some propertion and my opinion is that they should recieve benefits in direct proprtion to the contribution they have made. Families that live in large expensive houses just because they continually produce children and do not work need to understand that that simply cannot continue and must be discouraged. It is not a question of immigrant over indigenous as the drain is the same. There are, of course, people living in extreme poverty in the UK but they tend to be elderly people who do not know how to claim all that they are entitled to. Part of the problem is the definition of 'poverty' in UK. Anyone who has an income less than the base level of benefits is considered to be living below the poverty line. Each time that governments raised the level of benefits (usually in line with inflation which most of the time was more than the rise in wages) large numbers of people were suddenly considered poor. There were times during my working life, for example at the beggining of my army career that I earned less than the minimum level of benefits but I did not consider myself poor as I could feed my family and pay my bills. I just cut my cloth to suit my purse. I get the comment about 'slum landlords' getting the money rather than the benefit seekers but we have made a rod for our own backs. Landlords want their properties rented, if the rents allowed to be paid were capped at a lower rate landlords would also have to cut their rents or face having empty properties.

With you there. I grew up on an estate most of which is now owned by private companies. One friend who has remained there and took on his parents' flat before they died, but then became disabled through a work accident, has been openly accused of blocking access to people who would pay far higher rent because he is using sitting tenancy unfairly! Not heaven on earth but acceptable flats and houses of which probably a third are empty and boarded up... It has to change, the problem is we might not see it and I have no intention of popping my clogs for a while.

Personally I would not recommend letting to claimants, but tenants sometimes become claimants and then fall behind. It's part of the risk I know but if there is to be a good supply of rented accommodation, and that may well be a good way ahead, then investors need to be confident.

One of the things I find most abhorrent is the huge extent of perfectly acceptable property left to rot and become sink estates during one's own lifetime when according to most statistics we have had it good. Beside being an architect I chaired a quango in urban regeneration for ten years in a disadvanted area and saw it at first hand. One of our biggest problems was trying to get the tenants to take a part in their community. I know for a fact that many of the children of that community were found guilty of last summer's riots at "The Junction". But we found it very difficult to get their parents involved in the process which included estate renewal.

I remain optimistic though!

All quite true BUT there are too many exceptions and for some inexplicable reason they let to claimants. Perhaps the habitual demand for references including one from an EMPLOYER and some landlords actually asking to see evidence of salary is also a reason the claimants end up where they do. I only know that when we rented in Swansea the company that owned that house was part of a set of other businesses one or the other of which seemed to be 'exposed' in the pages of local newspapers for installing inferior quality double glazing, etc. We never had problems. But the references and so on they wanted was quite astounding. It is an aside, but we did not get our deposit back either because we, apparently, soiled some carpets (cheap carpet tiles) and they had to pay for replacement. Weird, given they owned a cut price carpet store... There is more than meets the eye sometimes.

I should say that the 4% return is also taxed at 20% by HMRC, reducing the net return to 3.2%- hardly a wonderful deal! Developers of property sold usually look for a 20% return although I suspect that's falling. It's done on the sale or forward sale to a pension fund or similar. Before the crisis the developers were doing well especially using cheap borrowed money, so the actual return on their cash was often quite high. However many have gone bust, owing huge sums to their suppliers. I believe that there were over 700 Ferraris for sale in London in 2010! I had one such client who went under to the tune of 1.5 billion!

The average return to private landlords is usually less than 4%.

Barclaycard is charging a little over 29% on balances. HSBC is giving zero on deposits annd charging over 26% on overdrafts. It seems the banks are making more than the investors! Sure mortgages are cheap, but many people can't get them these days.

Renting a house at less than 4% return to the landlord involves the landlord in risk (very often considerable risk) and is often something of a bargain for the tenant. Frequently properties are trashed and the landlord has lttle real chance to get his money for the repairs back. It's also common that rent is in arrears which would usually mean that the landlord is making an actual loss.

In any event practically every pension fund in the UK invests to an extent in residential property, so we are virtually all landlords. On the other hand you can invest in Brazilian bamboo funds.

A disproportionately large part at that.

I imagine a large proportion of it goes straight to her landlord.

Is this the lady you mean? It sounds like she has a lovely life. As always there is two sides to a story and people


i only wish we had anything like that income

Yes balance, but is it not so often the exceptions that make news! Why is this family then potentially exposed to public ridicule and hostility when anonymity should be absolute and protected? Yes, right it is unfair that they get this and other get £56 every two weeks, etc. But it is as crass to use examples such as this to justify an argument you are morally losing because of the people who use hearsay or distorted second hand 'evidence' to support your orginal question.

We have only 2 kids and get child benefit for both, and got it for the first when we only had one, it's not much but as they say "every little helps!"

Vitriolic anti-humanist nonsense. A large family caring for several disturbed foster children, possibly with disabled ones aswell and living in London might actually this amount and why the hell not?

I challenge you to cite ANY cases, other than very rare fraudulant ones, in which any one familly receives this level of benefit.

Since this is a french forum aswell, I think it fair to point out that we only get child benefit for 3 children or more here and that the maximum unemployment benefit payment to a french individual is 6000 euros PER MONTH, the highest in europe. The french are thinking of capping this!

What's your income?

Between Catharine and Neil there is both cause and 'cure'. It certainly was the sell off that caused the present situation. My parents bought too, had lived in council accomodation so long they had maximum discount and bought with the 'small change' from their savings. After both died and my sister got it and sold it, we were stunned by what she got. The inflation is a nightmare for those who cannot get in or back into the ownership 'game'. Had Maggie and her advisors considered regulated shared ownership schemes then it would have come out quite nicely. That could have easily included a buy out and buy back scheme for the corporate and tenant owners which would have averted the vast numbers of mortgage defaults and unacheivable repayments. But no, it had to be tenants got first look in and then they sold off to unscrupulous landlords. Whatever people say about regulations preventing general abuse and the prosecutions of some there is still the dilemma of dealing with pyramidical ownership structures where it is ultimately one 'Rachman type' at the top who owns what appears to be held by people between them and the tenants who are paying the overinflated rents.

It was an excellent idea and freed up a lot of capital in the housing market as the rush to buy when offered the chance, demonstrated. Having lived in a council house for my first 18 years, the council did less and less as regards maintenance on the house in Dagenham (the largest council house estate in the world) as they raised the rents and rates every year. My dad ended up doing it all and also adding to the value by improving the property. The simple fact was that it was costing the council too much money (supplied by the rate payers) and a lot of houses were left to rot. Social housing is a excellent idea especially shared ownership schemes and should be expanded.

David, partially true and for the other parts not. The bigger portions of the economy that formerly touched many more people in the form of industry are gone and the BRICs type competition cannot be competed against. Where will people find the employment to buy the new builds. It is a rather simple Malthusian conundrum without an easy solution. Eventually all countries are going to adjust to having large numbers of unemployed people and find a way of dealing with that. The present means is not working and inflated rents are only part of the overall equation but must be dealt with.

After Peter Rachman in the 50s and 60s the 1965 Rent Act should have ended all of that once and for all. Some people (politicians in this case) are incapable of learning. When the Rent Act came into force the private sector shrank enormously almost immediately. Then along came Thatcher and sold off the publicly owned housing stock, much of which appears to have gone into shady corporate hands and it is Rachmanism all over again but this time some of the owners are so big a powerful that no Cameron (or other party leader) dare touch them. They are often the hand that feeds (well, funds in this case) the parties. Unless there are politicians who have the commitment and courage to break the back of this situation then it will just remain as it is and get the people who appear to be culpable the blame.

'It's the syme the 'ole world over
It's the poor wot gets the blyme;
While the rich 'as all the pleasures,
Now ain't that a bleedin' shyme!'

Often quoted as 'It's the rich what gets the pleasure and the poor what gets the blame' and is once again becoming a truism.

Barbara - it is easy to over generalise. There are bad landlords and sub letting council flats is already a crime and should be clamped down on (it is already by some councils). Letting in the private sector can provide good quality accommodation at reasonable prices but one of the main problems is under supply. In France last year about 400,000 starts were made on new accommodation whilst in the UK it was way under 100,000. The building industry is at a standstill, most of the Poles have gone home and many of the UK based construction workforce are idle. The planning application process is incredibly cumbersome and it's a miracle to get planning consents through the army of bureaucrats. My great grandfather said there's nothing better than bricks'n'mortar and he was right taken in the long term. My own experience has shown that other investment through the medium of stockbrokers, accountants, financial servives advisers etc always seem to do worse. It is however necessary to concentrate on reasonable quality and of course location. Nothing to be ashamed of. UK plc will not get out of its mess until construction starts again.

THERE we are there is a big problem in the way the THING is structred.

Why on earth are their landlords who rent out slums and rat holes? Why is it allowed?

Bad management.

THE WRONG people have been chosen to do the jobs.

My theory is and always has been invest time and money in good leader, workers instead of expecting to get the job done by badly paid, disinteressed people. Recruit well and train people.

Example for you...KITCHEN PORTER working for me when in London...I used to have to beg for people to wash up...long story..

But at the end of one night a chap said to me.

That he did not need payement for the night and would be happy to come

again. He explained that he had several council properties scattered around

London in the names of people who lived in FICTION and with an enterage

of children.

He then sub let to others...mainly eastern european people and filled his pockets with undeclared cash. The Eastern europeans were in UK to seek their fortune and possibly jump on the welfare route and crammed into small and

dingy towering blocks...ie the White City Estate. They provide new prey for the dealers and steelers.

So to make everthing simple.....the handouts need