Bedroom tax is not the way to cut the housing benefit bill

They've started: Vox Political has spent the last year warning the UK that the bedroom tax will lead to unfair evictions - now they are starting to happen.

They’ve started: Vox Political has spent the last year warning the UK that the bedroom tax will lead to unfair evictions – now they are starting to happen.

Before you all hit the ‘comment’ button to say the headline is stating the blindingly obvious – of course it is. But some of our public servants just don’t seem to get it!

Today we have learned about the first eviction directly caused by the bedroom tax making it impossible for a person to pay their rent.

Mother-of-two Lorraine Fraser, who has scoliosis, arthritis and is a wheelchair user, is being kicked out of her home by Labour-run North Lanarkshire Council, for failing to pay £248 in arrears.

The event will be considered a double victory by the Department for Work and Pensions. The eviction will be blamed on a council run by an opposing political party, even though it is being forced to push through changes imposed on it by the Conservative-led Westminster government (the majority of people will not see this). And it will remove another disabled person from the benefit books in a way that will not be blamed on the DWP (even though disabled people were supposed to be protected against the effects of the bedroom tax).

This is the sort of dishonesty that will go down in history as the Coalition government’s trademark.

It may also be the reason why grassroots members of the Liberal Democrats have tabled a motion to go before their party’s conference, demanding a review of the policy.

The motion states that most areas outside large cities do not have the diversity of social housing necessary to make moving into a smaller property, locally, a viable option. In the words of Lib Dem councillor Robert Brown, it is “damaging and unfair”.

It is.

It was always meant to be.

And it’s a little late for Liberal Democrats to be reconsidering their part in making it happen.

However, there are constructive arguments to be made. For example, the government has always said the aim is to get the housing benefit bill down. If that’s the case, then it should be encouraging people to get off it – and the best possibility for that lies with working people.

Indeed, government policy is to encourage working people to seek more hours of work, or higher pay, at every opportunity – and if they achieved these aims, it would be possible to wipe huge amounts of spending off the housing benefit bill.

But that isn’t happening. Instead, we have an environment in which top bosses pillage their companies, taking home 133 times as much as the average wage while their workers have to supplement the pittances they earn with taxpayer-funded benefits.

That isn’t right.

After all, the economy is said to be improving and – while that has nothing at all to do with any efforts of the Coalition government; George Osborne is a fool – every working person should benefit from the increased wealth that we are told is now available.

Perhaps it’s time to ask comedy prime minister David Cameron when he’s going to ‘encourage’ (he likes that word) business bosses to pass the benefits of their success down the line.

When Hell freezes over, perhaps?

11 thoughts on “Bedroom tax is not the way to cut the housing benefit bill

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  2. Marian Standen

    Makes me sick this cretinius government, Cameron said he wants it so that working people are better off than those on benefits, doesnt this pillock know that more working people are on working tax credits than on JSA. I have a friend who went throught the ATOS system and from the last time she had 15 points, her health has deteriorated and had to go back for another “medical” where she received zero points, through the appeal process where they were nasty to her and she was put on JSA (Remploy was tasked to try and help her into work) after a year she finally got a job working for McDonalds who told her that they have a flexible working hours she needs a minimum of 20 hrs to be able to survive and cant claim WTC as she has been told she can only claim that if she works more than 30hrs (doesnt that sound stupid – if you work more hours you get more money) the problem is some weeks she only gets 11 hrs but when you average it out over a 4 week period its just over 17 hrs pw. So she cant go back to job centre. Out of that pittance she has to pay for travel, bedroom tax, council tax, bills and some weeks she is struggling to even buy food. DOES’NT FLEXIBLE HOURS SOUND SO MUCH NICER THAN ZERO HOUR CONTRACTS


    1. Joan Edington

      “Cameron said he wants it so that working people are better off than those on benefits, doesnt this pillock know that more working people are on working tax credits than on JSA”.
      Shhhh! This will just give him an excuse to cut JSA rather than “encourage” employers to pay a living wage.

  3. beastrabban

    Very well said, Mike. This is a disgusting episode, and will also further serve to break up the UK, something that Cameron has declared that he is against. A few years ago I read an interview with two Scots SF authors – Ian M. Banks and China Mieville. They stated that they had voted SNP, not because they wanted independence for Scotland, but because the Scots Nationalists had better welfare policies than Labour. My guess is that many Scots share their views. The number of Scots, who would like independence appears to be much less than those who vote SNP. I wonder if the Tories would secretly like Scotland to go its own way, as that way they wouldn’t have to deal with awkward leftwingers north of the border obstructing their government of the rest of the UK. Thanks to Maggie Thatcher, the Conservative party in Scotland was virtually destroyed, as Arnold Rifkind himself complained to the Leaderene. So basically the Tories have nothing to lose. And if Labour falls in to the trap of evicting the disabled, they’ll use it to discredit them. Everyone remembers that Robert Maxwell pillaged the Mirror newspapers pension fund, but much fewer people recall that it was Maggie, who passed the legislation that allowed him to do it.

    1. Joan Edington

      I think that you mean Malcolm Rifkind. Although I have never voted Tory and would slash my wrists first, he was actually my local MP in Edinburgh for some years and one of the less vile specimens of the party.

  4. R J Edge

    Isn’t the aim to free up houses for sale so that existing private landlords can buy them and increase the rents by 100% channeling more tax pounds into private pockets

    1. Silver

      Because of divide and rule.People working for a pittance kick out at the unemployed,because they hate their own circumstances,pick on someone who is least able to kick back.

      Cameron has the school bully mentality.People may hate the school bully,but are often afraid to speak out.So turn a blind eye.

      People often do not react till it affects themselves.Then it is usually to late.In times gone by,Unions stopped this kind of thing.But the Unions have been made toothless tigers by successive governments after 1979,when market forces and Mad Maggie came into being.

      We don’t have Organised solidarity any more.We all suffer,but we are not a collective.

      We have blogs like Mikes what inform,but fighting back and organisation is needed.I am old Labour.But sort of understand to a degree,Millibands predicament.He has to fight a right winged press,even the Guardian now seems pro coalition and supported the LibDems in 2010,telling their readers to vote for Judas Clegg.But Milliband also has to fight Propaganda,the likes of we have not seen since the fall of the Third Reich.And to heck with Godwin,he was probably pro Nazi when he made his stupid law.
      The BBC has become very pro Coalition.Cameron and IDS do not get the grilling that Labour members get.Even though IDS uses dodgy statistics and lied on his CV.

  5. Samwise Gamgee

    Not sure if you’ve covered this already, but I thought this might be of interest…

    From the article:

    “2.25 Million Jobseeker’s sanctioned
    since Coalition came to office!

    Are they serious?

    These figures are truly earth shattering.

    DWP figures which you can access here show that since May 2010 an astonishing 2,257,000 claimants on Jobseeker’s Allowance have had their benefits referred for a decision on whether to cut their benefits for a fixed length period. The numbers of sanction referrals has rocketed from around 5,500 to 6,000 per month since 2000 right the way up to 2007, since then they have slowly increased but it is only since the Coalition took office that sanction referrals have sky rocketed to levels we have never seen before. A study conducted by the DWP in 2006 showed that around 130,000 claimants in total were subject to sanction referral in a year. These latest figures are seeing figures of over 110,000 in a single month.”

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