Debunked: More claims about LHA and the Bedroom Tax


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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5 thoughts on “Debunked: More claims about LHA and the Bedroom Tax

  1. chriskitcher

    I have just tried to make a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority regarding Tory adverts. Unfortunately they have no power to control the adverts put out by political parties but I do feel that pressure needs to be put on the remedy this oversight.

    As we know that all politicians especially the Tories are inveterate liars, it is surely time to curb these activities that would be illegal in any other area of work.

  2. daijohn

    Mike I tried to make a donation but was defeated by software logic once again – ” enter a value greater than zero” – but where?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I’m not sure, exactly. If you press the ‘donate’ button, PayPal asks you to enter the amount you wish to donate in a box at the top of the page. I’m confused by what you’re saying which isn’t what I’m seeing!

  3. hugosmum70

    on the subject of old people downsizing…. for a number of years (and please bear with me on this) i have not been able to cook anything but the easiest of meals for myself and relied on ready meals(not very nice most of them). however, in the past year i discovered slow cooking…. now i can do things like stews and soups. one problem./i live in small 1 bedroom bungalow. space for food storage is very very limited (wasn’t when i moved in but the HA,s had them renovated and we lost our big pantry (now a boiler room) in exchange for massive corner base units which we cant even get into let alone bend to see whats in them…. in the last few days i have tried once again to make carrot soup.. you would think this would be easy with a slow cooker. its not. there’s nowhere to put anything………. now what i am getting at is this.. those in authority expect people to look after themselves. (or do they?another way of starving them???). old people in the 50s were so different to us now.we are more active. we are more health conscious. and we do more for ourselves. but we are balked with all sorts of things when it comes to doing so…. this is why people don’t want to downsize. the accommodation does not allow for them to be independent. and increasingly i am finding that our HA,in the name of progress and upgrading, do not take our needs into account (you have a dog which your doc thought would be good for you,,, you pay out vast amounts on insurance, and vaccinations, check ups etc. you put up gates and fences to keep the dog and yourself safe.and others too. then they come along . put modern metal fences in and tell you to get on with it. if i am ill.(as i was over Xmas) last thing i am going to need to do (if i can do it at all) is take him out on his lead,i have walkers to do that 4 times a week………….. these are the reasons they don’t want to downsize. kitchens too small and rules n regulations for new tenants that the old ones don’t have. if we move we are subject to the (i think 2)year rule. so constantly being assessed as to our suitability for a HA home.doesn’t matter about today i was dropping things all over because of lack of lose your dexterity. you need more space in a kitchen not less. just an insight into what its like for pensioners in a 1 bed place.

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