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Ruth-Ellen Henry

Director, Celebrated Hub

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Should governments decide where the poor can live?

In Camden, London there are a group of 750 plus people that live of the state and can't afford to stay there due to new legislation which has come into force. These people can't find jobs at the moment so are reliant on the government to support them with housing costs. Due to this reliance the government has stated it will relocate this group to an area outside of London with even less chance of finding employment but lower housing costs. Surely a better way is to support these people to find sustainable employment? What do you think?

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    Feb 16 2013: Could you clarify something? It sounds like the government is not actually telling people where they must live but rather offering to cover their housing costs in full if they live outside of London.

    Where I live, people also cannot just choose where they live, with the city picking up the cost when they cannot afford it, but I don't think that is the same as telling them where they cannot live. There is subsidized housing scattered around the city. I know there are other places that provide housing vouchers of a certain amount that can be applied toward rent. This means that if a person chooses an inexpensive apartment, the cost is paid in full but if a person chooses a more expensive place, the housing authority does not pick up that extra cost.

    I am guessing everyone, your city government included, would much prefer to see everyone sustainably employed and paying to live where they want and can also afford.
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    Feb 17 2013: Agreed and how do we do it with almost half the voters on govt handouts? A tough issue
    • Feb 24 2013: Thanks for engaging in the discussion James. It is a very tough issue, totally agree with multifaceted solutions that have to come into play; one of which would probably be the reform of the job centre and the collaboration of accountable recruitment company's to reduce frictional and structural unemployment.
      • Feb 24 2013: Neither the job centre, nor the recruitment companies do create jobs, so changes there will just increase the problem. If there are not enough jobs which offer an adequate income to live in London, and/or there are not enough jobs/qualified workers for the existing jobs, they will not be able to change the general problem.

        The main problem nowadays is, that governments seem to believe they gonna generate money by saving money or better, cutting down their costs. That is nonsense, because the still have the same money as before. That speaks books about the general understanding of economy in the average politicians head.

        To keep a business running, you need to invest. A governments long term invest is the people.
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    Feb 17 2013: Ruth Ellen, What difference does it make if it is government or the bread winner (spouse) that says we cannot afford to live here and must move. If the bread winner says it it is a economic fact if the government says it then its unfair and discrimination. BS. In the states we have entitlements that make it profitable to not be employed. In fact the reciepents would actulally have a lower lifestyle by working instead of living off of the government. There are jobs at 10 - 15 dollars a hour that no one will take because they make the equalivent of 25 dollars a hour in entitlements for staying home. If they took the job they would have to pay for all the benefits like health, food, rent, etc ... They may be poor but they are not dumb. That is the math of survival. It is also the math of politics. Set the middle class bar high and from the center of that bar down are votes for more entitlements ... ergo the socialist wins .... the country loses. This was written in the fall of Argentina in 1916 and continues to crush nations to like the USA and the EU.

    Government must be small and operate as designed .. to provide for the common defense ... monitor trade .... print money .... enact treaties ..... etc ... All of the rest should be the providence of the districts, counties, states, or however you are divided.

    Entitlements create generational welfare.

    Each of us shoulod look at the national spending pie chart of our nation. Are we spending where our charter / Constitution / doctrine directs us. If, as in the USA, the answer is no ... then the people should demand a return to a Constitutional government. As a citizen if you outspend your income you will soon go to jail. Why is it acceptable for a government to outspend its income (GDP). Could it be because the lazy vote for the guy who will continue to support them. Duh. You bet.

    Get back to basics or suffer what is happening and will only get worse.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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    Feb 16 2013: Is it the government or the economic system that is deciding? A poor is by definition who cannot decide for him/herself economically.
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    Feb 16 2013: This is always a bad idea.

    The UK has been doing this sort idiocy since the 40's. The economy has been shrinking the entire time, which is the cause of unemployment in the first place.

    When ever rent control is introduced the housing cost is held lower than the market would dictate. Consequently people take more space than they otherwise would further exacerbating the shortage of affordable housing. At the same time the land lord has no incentive to maintain the property as it is not profitable, which creates a slum area.

    There are always unintended consequences involved with government meddling.
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      Feb 16 2013: Could the reason that the economy is shrinking be that there is too much governmental interference in the form of taxes, regulation, and just plain busybody-ness?
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        Feb 16 2013: No I don't think it could be the reason because it is the reason.

        The OP is just one tiny example and the UK is a huge example of what not to do especially regarding healthcare. In Calif they do an incessant amount of what you talk about which had no small part in the cost of housing rising.
  • Feb 25 2013: Thanks for engaging in the discussion Lars. Your right the job centre and/or recruitment don't create jobs but they are gate keepers to employers, they are able to open more opportunities and it is one of the solutions to solving the issue. If the government invested in businesses, those businesses will still need entry to candidates that are searching for jobs if nepotism in business management is to shaken up. In addition reform of business incubators or government support all need to be part of the solution.
  • Feb 20 2013: Hardly.
    The government is not a magical system. It is made up of ordinary people with ordinary biases and opinions and average (OK, below average) intelligence.
    My understanding is that any random group of government officials will produce a worse solution than any random group of secretaries.
    • Feb 24 2013: Thanks for engaging in the discussion Gordon. Indeed ordinary people that need to do extraordinary things with ordinary peoples lives and that's the problem. The government doesn't really know what issues and challenges ordinary people have because most are so disengaged with society they tend to fire fight with issues instead of being proactive.
  • Feb 20 2013: To a large or small extent, government (leaders) already determine where the poor shall live.
    They also determine who shall be poor.
    • Feb 24 2013: Thanks for engaging in the discussion Random Chance. I agree to some extent with your comment that the government determine who shall be poor; it's really up-to the "poor" person to expect more from themselves to continue to fight against the grain and crawl out of there situation with every last breath.
  • Feb 18 2013: I think if it weren't for the poor your taxes would be a lot steeper !!
    • Feb 24 2013: Thanks for engaging in the discussion Isabelle. I hear your viewpoint but if we turn your comment on it's head perhaps if the rich paid more taxes and it was placed into more proactive solutions to support people in their big dream there would be less poor people. I don't mind paying taxes when they are placed into the rights streams not floundered away like Casino chips into ill fought out projects.
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    Feb 18 2013: Governments should seek by all means, and before anything else, that its citizens can find a reward for his work and his efforts to have a better life. Governments must put the best conditions, but the effort must be done by citizens. In the best position to provide decent housing to those in need, do not send them to the suburbs,
  • Feb 17 2013: Doesn't it almost have to be this way?
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    Feb 16 2013: Honestly, Governments have very little business in directly controlling peoples lives. They have no business telling people where to live. Government needs to provide no more than the following things. National Protection, Local protection, some infrastructure, and nothing else. As we all know government gets in the business of controlling people lives and it cannot even control it's own so the smaller the government the better. Business and society will care for the rest of it.
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      Feb 17 2013: Yes, but WE are the government. The "we," though often viewed as the controlling party, is really all voters.
      At some point the voters elected people that decided it was proper to assist a disadvantaged group with housing costs. What comes along with this assistance is acceptance of the conditions placed on it, such as telling people where to live, or even how to live.
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        Feb 17 2013: The problem is these issues could be solved with out
        the government which is to big and self centered and self perpetuating
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          Feb 17 2013: I do see your points, but you need to convince the voters of this, not me. .
          In the U.S. we have the additional burden of the federal government trying to usurp the rights granted to the states by attaching demands to funding. In this manner they seek to create uniformity on certain social issues like speed limits, drinking ages, and education standards. There will be a fight coming over the control of regulated substances, such as marijuana since 2 states recently voted to legalize marijuana and many more permit medical marijuana. There is strong support, 2 of 3, of allows states to control use if voters of the state approve of it.
  • Feb 16 2013: Hi Fritzie, to clarify the government have bought properties in the north of England and are relocating people there d from Camden due to the cost of rent prices being more affordable for the government. Unfortunately the government's neck does not really know what the head is doing most of the time so where one department is concerned with employment another is concerned with housing. Overall the point should be to get them into sustainable employment however the system needs reform as for some relying on government benefits can sometimes mean they are better off than working in a full time job.
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      Feb 17 2013: Isn't the alternative to get off government assistance? This maybe more difficult than I understand but non profits, churches, and private enterprise could pay a role in determining how to address the real problem there better than the dysfunctional government you describe. Why fight them when you can put your efforts into helping yourself?