Nick Clegg is in ‘Bedroom Tax’ denial – how does he sleep at night?

The body language says it all: Nick Clegg appears to goose-step off the stage after his conference speech on Wednesday, Nazi-saluting his fellow party members.

The body language says it all: Nick Clegg appears to goose-step off the stage after his conference speech on Wednesday, Nazi-saluting his fellow party members.

It seems this blog’s prediction that the Liberal Democrat leader would ignore the wishes of his party in favour of cosying up to the Tories has been proved accurate.

The Northern Echo has reported that Clegg is refusing to do anything about the so-called ‘under-occupation charge’, even though it is now his party’s policy to oppose it and demand its repeal.

Instead he has blamed local authorities for any problems suffered by the tax’s victims. He told the Echo that councils were failing to spend – or even returning – Discretionary Housing Payment cash which the government has handed out to them as aid for people falling into rent arrears.

He was lying, of course. It seems unlikely that a falsehood of this magnitude can be ascribed to poor advice.

The example used by the newspaper was that of Durham County Council, which received £883,000 from the government to hand out as DHPs – a sum which the council’s resources director, Don McLure, said would last just eight weeks.

In total, councils have been given £150 million to hand out, which may seem a large amount – but is in fact dwarfed by the demand.

Clegg’s rationale for his claim was that several councils had returned some of their DHP allocation at the end of the last financial year – but this was before the bedroom tax had been imposed and so the claim means nothing – and he must know this.

Excuses for the bedroom tax are flying thick and fast, after research by the Independent and the campaign group False Economy proved that 50,000 families are in danger of eviction because of it.

On the BBC’s Question Time, Shirley Williams claimed that the tax had created problems because suitable smaller accommodation had not been built in readiness for the demand it caused. This is nonsense. If there was already demand for accommodation – and we must assume so, because this is the reason the Conservatives have spent so long bleating about families on waiting lists who need accommodation that the tax’s victims are, allegedly, blocking – then why didn’t the government just get on and build it?

The tax was really brought in for several reasons: It is partly a reaction against the increase in the Housing Benefit bill to accommodate people with jobs whose wages are below their cost of living – this is due to greed on the part of employers; it is partly intended to clear housing – not for people on any waiting list but as a form of social cleansing, getting the riff-raff out of attractive parts of our towns and cities; and it is also another attempt to spite people on sickness, incapacity or disability benefits, who must either face the extra cost and inconvenience of removing special adaptations to their houses and reinstalling them elsewhere if they are able to move, or must lose the company of carers who use spare bedrooms when they have to stay over, or must pay the tax and live without food or heat, thereby risking their health.

According to Facebook friend Shirley Nott, the government’s spokespeople are extremely relaxed about this eventuality: “Apparently, there’s no need for alarm. Under no circumstances should anyone assume anything untoward is occurring.

“The reports of 50,000 potential – imminent (initial) evictions are not (“necessarily”) going to be “representative” of a potential situation in the more medium/long term. The ‘rationale’ for this cheery response is (obviously) that the ‘Not a Bedroom Tax’ is only just starting to make its presence felt and so, (of course) people have only just begun “adjusting” to it.”

So their imminent eviction followed, no doubt, by a nice quiet death in a side street is merely “adjusting” to the new system.

Shirley continues: “Government spokespeople… have been at pains to explain – in words of one syllable – that no-one else should worry. It seems possible that some – even most – of those 50,000 mentioned in today’s news might find such an artfully-delivered response to imminent eviction a little difficult to come to terms with – but interested members of the government are very likely to have reasoned that they’ll probably be far too preoccupied with practicalities to make much of it.”

Maybe not – but they can still rely on blogs such as this one to make the point for them.

Please – everyone – feel free to splash this article around wherever you see fit. Use excerpts in letters to your local newspapers, share it with friends who don’t realise the seriousness of the situation – we’ve already had suicides because of this tax, don’t forget…

Make sure it doesn’t go away.

25 thoughts on “Nick Clegg is in ‘Bedroom Tax’ denial – how does he sleep at night?

  1. Thomas M

    The sooner someone does to Clegg what Geoffrey Howe did to Thatcher, the better. For any Lib Dems reading this; do you want many of your MPs voted out? Do you want to go back to the outer darkness for another few decades? If you want to be electable, get rid of Clegg for your own sake and for the Liberal Democrats as a whole.

  2. Leggy Mountbatten

    The bedroom tax is only the tip of the iceberg. Housing Benefit will only rise by 1% a year for several years for all claimants, even though rents are still soaring by above inflation levels meaning that all Housing Benefit claimants are placed in danger of running into arrears. I really don’t like to think about what is coming down the road or where this horrendous mess is eventually going to lead.

    Clegg is a waste of skin.

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  4. aussieeh

    Ref, the under occupancy charge, I’ve just realized Mike, as well as the second small box room I have, that my grandson sleeps in when he stays with me at the weekend, and at times when the local social services decide to place him in my care. I have a bathroom that is greatly under occupied, only 15 mins a day, and a small room with a bog in it, and now that I don’t do much cooking, I think the copious amounts of Morphine have taken my appetite away, my kitchen also isn’t used much these days. How long do you think it will be before they decide to wallop a tax on these rooms? I thought of saving up for one of those four bedroomed tents and finding a quiet field somewhere or would they screw me for land tax?

    Ps. I left a review on Lulu, hope your happy with it, sorry it took so long but I’m at the mercy of my meds. All the best to you and Mrs Mike, keep up the good work.

    1. Mike Sivier

      I think a toilet tax would be unworkable. How would they manage it? They only way would be to charge you when you use it, which is the wrong way around for an under-occupation levy!
      Also they would be accused of trying to make us – literally – throw money down the drain.

      1. aussieeh

        As for throwing money down the drain, follow by example, it would take me a hundred lifetimes for me to flush away what this lot waste in the first hour of business.

      1. aussieeh

        Surprised, but they let me post the review, also tweeted it and posted it on facebook. Good luck with it all Mike, you deserve some reward for all your hard work over the years..

  5. jacobusmcmxlviiJames Gale

    I don’t think he was saluting his fellow party members, Mike, if you mean the rather pitiful LimpDems. More like Gauleiter Clegg goosesteps off stage saluting his absent bosses after dismissing and disdaining the apparent wishes of his party conference!

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  7. I used to have a home, then the Tories came back. Thanks, Cleggy.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
    A more humane alternative to our unelected dictatorship’s current raft of murderous policies would be to round people up, put them in a cattle truck to a camp and gas them.
    The only good news recently has been that the UN are so concerned about what’s happening here that they sent an investigator; this really does speak volumes about the evil of the British ruling class.
    Let’s just hope that the British electorate aren’t stupid enough to let this bunch of criminally insane millionaires actually win an election, a second term would be truly nightmarish.

  8. Thomas

    If the Tories get in again, no doubt they will get around to subjecting me to the horrors of ATOS. I’m not doing slave labour for money that should be mine by right, I’m not going to start stealing, and the only ones who want to give me a job are money launderers, so I’d have to depend totally on my parents again if they get in.

  9. shirleynott

    Thanks, Mike for including my thoughts on Friday about Bedroom Tax-related evictions. As you will have realised, I was angry at the time of writing – still am – about what’s being done to people who have done nothing to deserve it, yet may stand to lose their home.

    Could I just be clear that in the comments reprinted above, my opinions were written as a direct result of listening to R4 news reports throughout the day, and are included in an (obviously) paraphrased version of the particular government response to the numbers potentially facing imminent eviction – as heard/understood – along with one or two (perhaps unnecessary) dollops of irony.
    It’s good to know that the disgust I felt on hearing the reported response is shared by a great many.

    The very few words quoted (in comment) were ‘as remembered’ – hopefully correctly – but not ‘researched’ or taken ‘verbatim’/recorded at the time of listening. The sense is, to the best of my knowledge, what I heard reported.
    Just for the record, I’m not on Facebook; perhaps my comment somehow was (?).

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