Peter Hoskin

More perspective on housing benefit

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A useful reminder of the opinion polls on housing benefit from ConservativeHome's Harry Phibbs:

"...in coming out with such hyperbole Labour show themselves to be out of touch with the voters. An ICM poll in June asked: "Do you support or oppose imposing a maximum weekly limit of £400 on Housing Benefit." Support was 68% with 23% opposed. Even among Labour voters there was strong support - by 57% to 35%.

A YouGov poll in August asked: "Here are some policies the coalition government have announced in their first hundred days. For each one please say if you oppose or support it?" Among them was: "Putting a limit on housing benefit." 72% expressed support. 17% said they were opposed. Again even among Labour voters there was strong support - by 53% to 35%."

This isn't to say, though, that its introduction will be easy or without backlash. As Phibbs goes on to observe, "the transitional arrangements must be handled with sensitivity." Without that sensitivity, some Labour figures suggest, this could devolve into what they call "the ugly face of the cuts".