Gratitude is due to commenter Carl Green for discovering this article debunking claims by the Liberal Democrats that attempted to link Labour with the Bedroom Tax.
It dates back to 2013 (before the recent hullabaloo on Vox Political and other sites) and makes some very important comments.
On Labour’s Local Housing Allowance, which has been described as a Bedroom Tax for private tenants, the article points out that “by applying a limiting payment based on market conditions, it gives people a choice. So whilst the rent for a two bed property in Calderdale under LHA is slightly less than for a three bed, it’s still possible to find three bed properties within that rent limit. Again, a complete contrast with the Bedroom Tax. We already know that as a result, people are being forced out of social housing three bedroom properties into a private property for which they are able to claim more housing benefit.”
This was an aspect that Yr Obdt Srvt is ashamed to admit missing. If market conditions are applied, then appropriate properties must be available – or is that an incorrect reading? If it’s right, then people who have been financially disadvantaged by their local authority should have a right to recompense for a wrong decision.
Also, the article points out: “It was extensively piloted and tested before being applied universally. That’s because Labour actually were concerned about whether it was workable – not just as a benefit, but also in terms of its impact on people’s lives.”
And under the heading The Malcolm Wicks smear, the article points out that the under-occupation pilot Mr Wicks mentioned in Parliament “was never about penalising people for being unable to move; rather it was about offering financial incentives to people to relocate to smaller and more appropriate properties – recognising that this often meant working sensitively with older people whose homes were no longer appropriate for their needs, but to which they were often deeply attached.”
“Apparently, the mere use of the [phrase] ‘under occupation’ is enough to convince the Lib Dems that this must mean a Bedroom Tax, without the bother of doing any further investigation. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.”
The article adds that the use of Mr Wicks’s image and words in the context given to it by Labour’s detractors also implies deep disrespect for the dead: “Malcolm Wicks was a highly respected Labour housing minister, [with] a long track record of expertise in housing and benefits, who sadly die[d] of cancer in September 2012. You might think even Liberal Democrats would think about using his image to put together a graphic which is fundamentally untrue, but you’d be wrong.”
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