Lunatics in charge of the asylum – the only way the Bedroom Tax makes sense

localismact

We are living through a time when it is very popular to criticise government – of all colours and political persuasions – for failing to live up to its promises. This is very unfair.

Seriously, it is!

So let us pause for a moment and give the praise that is due to a policy of the Thatcher era that may in fact be celebrating its 30th anniversary this year: Care in the Community.

At the time, this policy of emptying out mental hospitals, putting their patients on the streets to fend for themselves in the hope that there would be an increase in local care, was pilloried by all and sundry as an abandonment of the nation’s duty of care.

It certainly seemed a dangerous move at the time – especially for schoolchildren who had to navigate city streets that were suddenly filled with ill-dressed and dirty men and women with a predilection for shouting foul oaths at the empty air ahead of them, presumably in the belief that it was a person.

But hindsight is a wonderful thing, and it seems that, not only did these ladies and gentlemen in fact benefit from care in the community, some of them responded so well that they were able to return to normal working life, join political parties and become members of the Coalition government.

This is the only workable explanation for the State Underoccupation Charge, or Bedroom Tax, as it is more correctly known.

The only way it can make sense to anybody is if they have a mentality that is seriously skewed.

The problem, according to the government, is that huge numbers of people are either on the waiting list to get into some form of social housing (council or housing association accommodation), and huge numbers already in such accommodation are overcrowded. This, it is alleged, is because too many people are sitting in homes that are larger than they need.

The solution that has been put forward is to find a way to make these “under-occupiers” vacate their homes and go and live in spaces that are more appropriate to their needs.

The government has decided that the correct way to do this is to apply the stick, rather than the carrot, and deprive people in social housing of set amounts of benefit for every room that is deemed to be more than they need. The definition of such rooms is arbitrary and it is understood that dining rooms are being defined as bedrooms in order to “encourage” people to move out.

Worse than this is the fact that the people who are likely to be dispossessed of their homes actually have nowhere to move to.

One would imagine that a government wanting people in social housing to move to more appropriate accommodation would take the precaution of ensuring that such accommodation was available, in the form of one- or two-bedroom social housing provision, before “encouraging” anybody to move anywhere. This has not happened.

Instead, people are expected to move into privately-rented accommodation, which is known to be both more expensive and less suitable for their needs.

This is madness – and that is why we should consider those who have devised the scheme to have been mentally ill at some previous point in their lives, if not at the present time.

There is, however, a rational explanation for the Bedroom Tax. But it cannot take the official line as its raison d’etre.

No; the reason for the Bedroom Tax is that the Government of Millionaires believes that people in social housing – people who are, by the government’s own definition, among the poorest in the UK – have too much money.

Ministers want these people to be drained of their cash. How to achieve this? Charge them for “extra” bedrooms, or make sure they move into private sector accommodation where they will receive no more Housing Benefit but will have to pay more in rent.

This is a plan for the impoverishment of the very poor.

That is the only sensible explanation of the government’s intransigence in the face of the avalanche of news stories about those who will be disadvantaged by it, including today’s in The Guardian, which states that 150,000 single parents will become poorer as a result of the Bedroom Tax.

And while people on Disability Living Allowance may receive part of a £30 million fund, targeted towards those who have modified their homes, the amount available is £100 million short of what is needed.

The Department for Work and Pensions press office, again called into bat because government ministers are a gang of craven cowards who won’t face up to their shortcomings, said: “We need to ensure a better use of social housing when over a quarter of a million tenants are living in overcrowded homes and two million are on housing waiting lists.”

When the choice is between impoverishment at the hands of the state or impoverishment at the hands of a private landlord (in other words, no choice at all), those words are revealed as what they are.

Empty.

38 thoughts on “Lunatics in charge of the asylum – the only way the Bedroom Tax makes sense

  1. bessie

    i am in disabled accomodation and have one small spare? bedroom it is apurpose built property to suit a wheelchair user am more than willing to move to let a disabled family have this property as i thought i would never get one .however 2 bed properties of the type i require are few and far between.i have just descovered that as from 1st of april am only allowed to refuse one property then priority banding will be removed,also people in low paid jobs will get priority over everyone else even if they are in the lowest band. i am in total shock and feel that everything is being took away from those of us who are already at a disadvantage to everyone else.

    1. stepper

      If your bedroom is 70 sq feet it is considered to be a boxroom – that is the Councils own ruling – measure those really small ‘bedrooms’ first.

      1. stepper

        Exactly Lauren – find out what defines a box-room, I think the above is about right, (or phone your council) and get the tape out – and remember to fight if they tell you otherwise.

  2. Ros

    I agree with you, it just doesn’t make sense to ask only the poorest people to pay extra money for bedroom tax when they can clearly see that they can’t pay it. None of the people this has hit can afford to move either, it’s expensive to move. Most people who are in the bracket of having to pay bedroom tax don’t have any savings, they are living from week to week. But of course, this government wouldn’t understand that, or would they? They have started a war against the poor, this is just another way for them to squeeze them even more. What an awful government we have got. They WANT the poor to suffer!

  3. Carl Oceallais

    you wont see a poititian suffer at all theyre making everyone else pay for there mistakes when its them who had there noses in the expenses trough and i dont see any cut in the queens standard of living

  4. Bev Wallace

    Surely it would be a lot faired (and raise a LOT more money) if EVERYONE had to pay the tax on their unoccupied rooms, Might turn out a tad expensive for government ministers with all those 2nd homes though. The very fact that people who have SPARE HOUSES have decided that the poor shouldn’t even have a spare box room shows that its time we abandoned the Badger cull and have a politician cull instead, they are obviously frothing at the mouth crazy

    1. Mike Sivier

      Bev, you’ve put your finger on something that’s been on my mind lately, too – that they really ARE “frothing at the mouth crazy”.

      I mean… does it strike anyone else as odd that every setback for the government is treated as a firm indication that it should continue doing exactly what it has been doing – only more so?

      I’m sure I saw a meme going around the social media that said madness is repeating your mistakes, over and over again, even though they’ll never have the effect you desire. Isn’t that exactly what we’re seeing?

      Or are we, rather, seeing a different kind of madness? The kind that is hell-(and I mean hell) bent (and I really do mean bent) on achieving a particular goal, and not above using deception to do so – but being so BAD at that deception that everyone sees through it anyway?

      Do they really think we can’t understand their barking schemes, and see what they’re really all about?

      1. Bev Wallace

        Its class warfare, you only have to look at the ever rising gap between the highest and lowest earners to realise that, face it, the world is just getting more and more overpopulated, the posh boys know this, and are just helping their fellow plum chewers fleece as much as they can from us all before it all goes to hell in a hand cart.

  5. Rhiannon Hopkins

    I am in the mad situation of being in a three bedroom council house following the break up of a relationship, told I cannot have a tenancy agreement because I am under occupying the property but they cannot kick me out. No tenancy agreement means I cannot exchange but must wait for the council to move me,. I will have been waiting two years in June. I am promised help to pay the bedroom tax, after making a fuss about paying for a situation not of my creating ( I would have moved any time in the last two years had they offered me something) so the council is effectively paying for me to to under occupy a property that I do not even want to be in.

  6. Angie

    I don’t understand what about all the councils that have paid 10000 of pounds to have housing adjusted for the disabled, are they going to pay this money again to have another property fitted for the disabled person they have just forced to move??
    I am in a 2 bed private rented home so I already have take money off my rent for this second bedroom (that my son sleeps in) BUT I have looked at one bedroom flats and so many are more a lot more than I pay for my 2 bed house, and council’s do not have very many 1 bedroom places available so what do people do, it’s always the poor and disabled and the low paid that are made to pay for this and other tory government mistakes.

  7. Nikki

    You shouldn’t have to move to a one bedroom flat with your son that’s ridiculas!! This bedroom tax sounds like it is causing more problems than it was supposedly planned to fix!!

  8. RolyBoots

    As a sufferer of BiPolar Disorder, a severe mental illness and a strong opponent of the bedroom tax, I find this article offensive. The mentally ill are suffering dreadfully under this Government and do not need further stigmatisation. We are all in this together. Cheap shots and lurid misleading headlines are wholly unecessary . As 1 in 4 suffer from mental illness is it not right to assume that they too are affected by the Bedroom Tax.

    1. Mike Sivier

      Mrs Mike has mental health problems and finds the article amusing and appropriate. I knew I wouldn’t please everybody with this one but it sends out an important and useful message – that this policy is plainly barking mad – so, while any offence it causes to people who feel unable not to equate it with their own issues is unfortunate, I’ll try to live with it.

    2. Bipolarme

      Thank you for your comments Rolyboots. I am totally against this tax but I find this article highly offensive.

      1. Mike Sivier

        Bipolarme: What do you find offensive about it? The inference that care in the community was a total nonsense failure that, rather than improving care for people who were too mentally ill to help themselves, just threw them onto the street to fend for themselves? You can read official reports that say this is what happened. The fact that our town centre streets were suddenly populated by people who should have been receiving proper care but were instead shouting at empty air? This definitely happened; I have personal experience of it. The implication that Coalition ministers bringing forward policies like the bedroom tax must have mental health issues? In case you haven’t noticed, people have been calling Coalition ministers sociopaths for years, now – and sociopaths are, by definition, mentally ill. Or is it the claim that this policy is NOT a product of mental illness, but that Coalition ministers are trying (without much success) to mislead us about the reasons for it and the intended effect?

  9. elle

    I have a four bed council property, when I moved here I was fleeing violence, had just lost my baby daughter and luckily got this house for which I was grateful, there was myself and my three daughters, grieving for my fourth that had died…my eldest has always had behaviour issues and as a result is now living in a residential unit, I also in the space of these 8 years in my home had another child..my home was listed as for 4-7 person house, there was four of us and still is…do I give up my home or do I pay so that when my eldest leaves care in three years she has somewhere to go…I’m also disabled and not far off needing a full time wheelchair, but like many others can’t get DLA…..so I have to pay because I lost a child and another needs specialist help…don’t think a lodger would help the situation either, my girls living with strangers, are they for real….btw tories domestic violence is not the victims fault, and if you think it is you should read material from Pat Cravens freedom programme….they are defiantly lunatics, crackers, mental, mad….

  10. fuckthetories

    Lord Fraud should have listened to his great-grandfather –

    “A civilization which leaves so large a number of its participants unsatisfied and drives them into revolt neither has nor deserves the prospect of a lasting existence.” (Sigmund Freud)

  11. fuckthetories

    “We need to ensure a better use of social housing when over a quarter of a million tenants are living in overcrowded homes and two million are on housing waiting lists.”

    So now Jack and John are expected to re-locate and share a bedroom that is under 70 sq ft? You couldn’t make it up.

  12. Peter Sorley

    This is ridiculous beyond believe, I have 1 kid and another on the way, 5 daughters who stay with there mothers(ye I know), I have my daughters staying over a few times a week.

    We have a 2 bedroom flat, and obviously applied for a larger house. But because of this new rule we had to remove ourselves from the waiting list. So basically we have to fit 6 beds in one room. Housing department have accepted we need a bigger house, surely that should be enough for Government.

    The worst part is, we never used to claim housing benefit until the other Tory move of cutting working tax credit. Me and My wife have worked all our life’s and are currently down to one wage.

  13. Norman Walsh

    Regarding the bedroom tax if u have a bedroom that measures 70 square foot or less according to the housing act 1985 section 326 does that make a bedroom a boxroom? Housing dept telling claimants they still have to pay what do you think?

  14. Joan

    There was a comment in the article that caught my eye since I used to work on housing policy IT implementation for a housing association. If this government is insisting on calling all dining-rooms bedrooms, it will be breaking the law in many cases. I believe that a dining-room that is next to a kitchen, or maybe just those that have hatches between them, are not allowed to be used as bedrooms for safety reasons. I remember this since we had to either stop tenants using the rooms as bedrooms or move them to bigger properties.

    1. Mike Sivier

      That’s potentially very useful.

      I would suggest people reading this, who live in different parts of the UK, get in touch with their local councils and make sure the decision-makers are aware of this.

  15. H. Deniz

    I firmly believe that this is a Plot by the Tories to get people out of these places, not to give to a family that need a bigger place, but to move hard core Tory Voters into, and sell to them at a Tory deflated price, therfore making a bad situation worse. No-one will get a bigger place, people will be living in the streets, that will be made illegal, then they will round us all up and put us in work camps, marching us through the gate, with a sign above it saying saying something like ‘Work Is Liberating’ They seem to want us to revolt.

  16. Thomas M

    They want to stir up as much trouble as possible, even it seems to the point of revolt, when surely it would be better from a government point of view to have people who are content.

  17. Alan

    This is all about cutting the housing benefit bill. These millionaires in their tax payer bought second homes have calculated that once this bedroom tax comes in people will have a choice of eating or paying the bedroom tax. They will then fall into rent arrears , face eviction and will therefore be intentionally homeless and not eligible for any kind of social housing. People will then have to go and sleep on some ones floor or a bus shelter and therefore won’t get any housing benefit at all . These thieving parasitic millionaires need to be exterminated as a political force at the next election( or sooner preferably)

  18. jack johnson (@jackjoh01219520)

    It would be nice to believe that the impoverishment of vunerable people is the result
    of deranged minds but I am afraid that it is all too deliberate.You would think, given
    the arguement they use that there are 2 million people on the housing waiting list,
    that the conclusion they should reach is build more social housing and help get
    people back to work? Not with these evil bastards,they just want to screw the poor.

  19. mypipsranout

    They are insane, criminally insane that’s the problem. They are so greedy & want so much power, they want to impoverish the poor as much as they can so that they can best use them for their own desires. A lot of wealth can be gleaned from the poor, mainly through their labour & making them indebted, but to attack workers rights they first have to attack social security & the notion that the welfare state will look after you cradle to grave. Therefore it’s imperative to demonize the sick & disabled as nothing but workshy burdens so that the average sun reading labourer can blame them, and immigrants, as to why they are still poor despite working hard, turning them into turkeys voting for Christmas.

    I’ve long since felt the lunatics are running the asylum, remember that sense of injustice about the world you feel as a child, only to be told time and time again it’s just the way it is. Well it’s only the way it is because we accept it, we need to unite & stop the greedy. I know I’m preaching to the choir here too, but I seriously think we live in a corporatocracy not a democracy & that corporations are inherently fascist. The warning signs are here, we need to fight back, but.. their propaganda is so powerful sometimes it feels overwhelming.

  20. pat

    I am a full time carer for my OAP disabled mum-in-law, who lives nearby, she is so worried what will happen to her, once my hubby and I are forced to move out of our 3 bed home, or we can stay put and suffer the consequences, we WILL have to cut back on food and heating, we will have a choice to freeze to death or starve to death, like me mum in law is very stressed, depressed & having trouble sleeping, it is having a detrimental effect on all our health, my hubbys asthma has gotten worse, I have suffered more than average flare ups of my ulcerative colitis, mum-in-law cannot move in with us as she cannot climb stairs, her ground floor 2 bed flat has been adapted for her needs, my hubby & I cannot move in with her, as her spare room is only big enough for a single bed, and nothing else. This govt do not care about the untold damage they are doing to the thousands of disabled, sick, unemployed and low earners people, not forgetting our soldiers who will come home to no bedroom, then there are the foster carers, who will not be able to foster, once they are forced to move into a 1 bed property. This govt. are happy to forget that we exist, while they swan around in their mansions with numerous spare bedrooms, then they have the added bonus of spare rooms in their 2nd homes.
    As this govt keeps stating “”WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER””
    Yeh do the govt really think us peasants believe their mantra, NO NO NO. This govt are criminals and should be prosecuted

  21. pat

    Sample letter for us all to use to appeal against housing benefit reduction re bedroom tax
    http://speye.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/an-example-of-a-standard-letter-to-challenge-the-bedroom-tax-hb-decision/

    Dear Sirs,
    I received your decision letter dated INSERT DATE and referenced above that imposed an under occupation charge, or bedroom tax of 14% / 25% (delete as appropriate) on my existing award of Housing Benefit.
    I consider this unwarranted yet in order to challenge this in the correct way and potentially by way of formal appeal I require further information to be sent to me within 7 days of this letter and the urgency of that is to ensure I have enough time to formulate any such appeal and in full knowledge of the facts of my case within the time allowed; OR in the alternative I request the deadline for any such formal appeal be moved to 21 days after I receive the request information below:
    1. A written copy of the Council’s policy and decision-making procedures in relation to referring a socially housed claimant decision to the Rent Officer Service.
    2. A full explanation of how the council decided that (INSERT ADDRESS) was determined to be a 3 bed property for the under occupation charge and this to include what involvement if any of my landlord, (INSERT LANDLORD NAME) in this process.
    Please state by way of covering letter with the requested information any changed deadline date from above with regard to a formal appeal.
    Yours etc
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    PS, all letters to the council have to be hand written

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