Benefits bashing, house prices and the right to protest

A lot to get through this week. A lot of stuff caught my eye, but maybe that’s just because I’ve been paying attention. Here then are a few links worth reading from the last seven days.

Starting with housing, Jules Birch put up a nice post about Help to Buy and house prices:

Appearance and reality in the 2014 housing market

And here in a blog for Inside Housing, the same author pours cold water on Tory plans to remove the right to claim housing benefit from under 25s and to exclude people earning over £60,000 a year from council housing:

Benefits baseline

On to universal credit now, and news of more IT problems at the DWP:

Government descends into inter-departmental squabbling over Universal Credit

Staying with the DWP, Jonathan Portes blogged about the results of a DWP pilot called “Help to Work”. The evaluation of the pilot was released with no fanfare on the DWP website, probably because it shows the new measures had very little impact, despite the cost:

The “Help to Work” pilots: success, failure or somewhere in between?

Benefits more generally have been in the news a lot this week after the showing on Monday of a charmingly titled documentary called “Benefits Street”. This stirred up a lot of anger on both sides, and led to more head-scratching about what to do about the welfare system. Regular readers will know I think a job guarantee would go a long way to improving the (economic and welfare) systems. I lot of objections are raised about this idea, and one of the job guarantee’s leading proponents, economist Randy Wray has helpfully produced a post responding to some of these common objections:

BOP A MOLE #2: JG WORKERS WILL DO NOTHING USEFUL, THE JG PROGRAM WILL NOT BE MANAGEABLE

Finally now, and on a different topic, some worrying news for civil rights – the Govenment’s  Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill. George Monbiot in the Guardian wrote that this could be used to stymie the right to peaceful protest among other this:

At last, a law to stop almost anyone from doing almost anything

Although as Mike Sivier highlights, certain parts of this bill could be blocked in the Lords:

Foiled! Lords veto Coalition bid to make being ‘annoying’ an arrestable offence

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