Tag Archives: tenant

Keir betrayal: Starmer rejects policies that made him Labour leader

Keir Starmer: He is systematically betraying the Labour voters who installed him as leader – and stabbing rented housing tenants in the back.

If the secret to great comedy is timing, then Keir Starmer must be one of the biggest clowns in the United Kingdom.

And the joke is on the party members who supported him.

Having won the leadership of the Labour Party on a “continuity” platform that promised to continue the work of former leader Jeremy Corbyn in restoring the organisation to its historic values, Mr Starmer has now decided to reject those policies and claim that Mr Corbyn’s leadership is the reason Labour lost dozens of northern English constituencies that voted to leave the European Union.

I mention the EU referendum because it was previously accepted that it was Mr Starmer’s policy on Brexit that confused voters and sent them to the Tories, whose own policy risks a catastrophic “no deal” Brexit but was at least clearer than Starmer’s.

It is perfectly understandable that the new Labour leader would want to shift the blame for himself – albeit transparent; obviously he doesn’t want his leadership to start in acknowledgement that the policy he forced onto Labour’s last election manifesto kept the party out of government. It makes him look a fool.

And attacking Corbyn’s leadership also gives Starmer – now known to be a ‘Red Tory’; a supporter of policies that put him at the far right of the Labour Party with the so-called Blairites – an opportunity to ditch all of Mr Corbyn’s progressive policies in favour of a return to the neoliberal consensus that led to the financial crisis of 2007/8.

So he gave an interview in the Financial Times saying Mr Corbyn’s leadership was the top topic of conversation, without acknowledging that residents of the 40 constituencies he visited (and he doesn’t mention how many were among those that abandoned Labour) might find it uncomfortable telling the architect of Labour’s disastrous Brexit policy that he was a dunce.

More believable is his assertion that people believed Labour had overloaded its manifesto with promises to re-balance power within the UK, nationalising several utilities, providing £300 billion of shares to workers and promising an extra £83 billion in tax and spending – but in fact, Labour’s policies were fully-costed and the most controversy arising from its spending policies was a plan to compensate the so-called WASPI women for pension losses triggered because the Tories had raised the state pension age without providing adequate opportunity for those affected to make plans.

Still, when you’re using a position of power to betray everyone who put you there, any excuse will do – and we’re starting to see the results of Starmer’s rightward lurch now.

He has appointed right-winger Bridget Phillipson as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who was previously known for attacking Labour’s 2017 election manifesto for offering too much to voters. The offer was hugely successful and reduced the Tory majority of the previous two years to a hung Parliament.

According to a leaked letter from Phillipson to other shadow cabinet members, all policies that involve spending will now require the approval of both Starmer and the shadow Treasury team before they are even put into the planning stages.

Clearly, Starmer wants an “out-Tory the Tories” spending policy of the kind that led to then-Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves promising to be “tougher than the Tories” on benefits, in just one particularly out-of-touch policy from the Miliband era.

The first sign of right-wing betrayal arrived over the weekend, with Starmer’s decision to betray tenants of rented properties:

Starmer’s policy comes in response to a current Tory promise to help tenants and may be summed up as follows:

Extend the three-month ban on evictions to nine months; introduce no-fault eviction ban now; protect tenants from being made bankrupt by their landlords for non-payment of rent; grant renters at least two years to pay back any arrears accrued during this period; speed up and improve the provision of Universal Credit and consider a temporary increase to the Local Housing Allowance to help prevent risk of homelessness.

Joe Halewood, in his excellent SpeyeJoe blog, shreds just two of these proposals. He states:

In the simplest terms the rented properties that are ordinarily available will now NOT be available and we have a chronic shortage of rented housing supply being the direct and inevitable consequence of any ban period. We also see a huge increase in demand for rented properties… The ban creates a massively adverse systemic problem for all forms of rented housing on the day a ban ends and the longer the ban the greater the s**t [that] hits the fan.

For example:

Let’s assume the current 3-month ban is not extended for the purpose of illustration as to what it will mean from 26 June 2020 and the day after the ban ends.

I begin with domestic violence and abuse (DVA) and the 3-month ban on housing moves also means that:

  1. Those who have already fled DVA to a refuge have been unable to move out of refuges as there is no supply;
  2. Those who wanted to flee DVA in the 3-month period have not been able to flee as refuges are full and nobody is allowing sofa surfing in the COVID19 period which is also government guidance;
  3. The 3-month ban period that coincides with lockdown has created even more DVA cases than in any ordinary 3-month period; and
  4. Government has announced that all DVA cases will be treated as priority need for homeless persons which infers a safe and settled rehousing will be found and will lead to more DVA cases coming forward in that expectation

26 June will see a huge increase in DVA cases requiring rehousing either in a refuge or directly in safe and settled accommodation which is the phrase government use to sell this priority need change.  There will be no refuge provision available nor will there be any form of accommodation never mind safe and settled other than temporary and often dingy unsuitable B&B type provision.  DVA survivors will also have to stay longer in this dingy unsuitable B&B type provision as the 3-month eviction ban has massively reduced supply of all forms of accommodation.

Those fleeing the horrors of domestic violence and abuse will be warehoused more and for longer than they were prior to the 3-month eviction ban and it will take years, literally, for the already appalling position we had for DVA immediately prior to the 3-month ban.

On the proposed no-fault eviction ban, he states:

The number of single person homeless in England is not less than 140,000 each year yet just 13,000 are rehoused by social landlords to escape homelessness. 130,000 and 90%+ single homeless persons are rehoused by private landlords and who operate Assured Shorthold Tenancies that can be ended by the so-called no fault eviction (NFE) which is the landlord not needing to give a reason to end the tenancy.

The private landlord rehouses the perceived high risk single homeless tenant because if the tenant is a problem they can get rid easily and without the need for a reason.  Yet take that ease of NFE away and you have the same high risk homeless tenant whom the private landlord is unable to get rid of easily.  Such a tenant becomes an unacceptable too high a risk tenant so private landlords as an obvious and correct business decision do not rehouse the single homeless person.

Crunch the numbers.  IF the private landlord takes just 10% flight from the much higher risk single homeless tenant they rehouse 13,000 fewer per year.  These 13,000 will need to be rehoused by the social landlord and see their numbers have to go from 13,000 to 26,000 per year.  To wit, just 10% PRS flight means SRS landlords have to DOUBLE the number of properties they now give to single homeless persons.

It’s an unsustainable position.

Joe goes on to say that the social media are already full of how right-wing Starmer’s new policy is, and that it “ignores context, fact and any notion of commonsense or efficacy”.

Let’s take a look:

https://twitter.com/JosieLong/status/1259460931244961792

Point made, I think.

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Are landlords trying to force Labour-voting tenants to support the Tories?

Votes for rent: How many people are tenants of private landlords? Enough to unduly influence an election if they are coerced into voting for a candidate they don’t want; a party whose policies would harm them?

I find this tweet extremely disturbing:

When I first moved to Mid Wales, I was told that it had been a common event for Conservative-voting landlords to visit their Labour-supporting tenants during a general election and blackmail them: vote Tory or be kicked onto the street.

I asked whether that still happened and didn’t get a clear answer.

So when I saw Grace Krause’s tweet, alarm bells rang in my head.

Are landlords blackmailing their tenants into voting for a government that intends to harm them?

If so, that is to be stopped.

The Tories won’t stop it – they love a bit of corruption if it favours them.

So let me appeal to anybody facing this kind of coercion: DISOBEY. Vote Labour and report your landlord to the Electoral Commission for trying to influence the result of the election.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Grenfell housing boss finally quits – more than six months after the fire

Monument: The charred shell of Grenfell Tower [Image from the Evening Standard].

He took his time – and we can all see why, can’t we?

It’s a lot of work, helping the police investigation and public inquiry…

The housing boss responsible for running Grenfell Tower has finally stepped down more than six months after the tragedy.

Robert Black, former chief executive of the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, quit just before New Year despite being under intense pressure to go since the fire.

Although he stepped aside from the top job in August he had remained on the company’s books on his full salary of around £150,000 a year.

The body said he had spent the intervening months concentrating on helping the police investigation and public inquiry into the fire.

Source: Grenfell housing boss quits more than six months after tragedy


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Today’s Tories don’t know people want MORE social housing, not less

[Image: Cornwall Council (of all places!)]

[Image: Cornwall Council (of all places!)]

The Tories seem to be suffering from cognitive dissonance – an attempt to believe two opposing ideas at once.

Not only have they forced people to pay an unwarranted and crippling ‘bedroom tax’ for living in social housing with more bedrooms than they have decided – arbitrarily – are necessary (and let’s not forget that these were the only homes available for most tenants, due to the appalling shortage of social housing created by Margaret Thatcher’s ‘right to buy’ policy)…

Not only that, but they are planning to make the situation worse for social housing tenants in the future, by extending ‘right to buy’ into housing association properties!

Let’s make something perfectly clear: Housing association properties are not government assets. They belong to private companies whose commercial well-being depends on rental income.

Many housing associations – if not all – have been hit hard by the Bedroom Tax, which makes it more difficult for tenants to meet their rent-paying obligations.

This means that the proposed sale of housing association properties – at discounts of between £77,000 and £102,000 would cripple those organisations’ ability to replace the stock they would lose.

This is a policy designed to deny cheaply-rentable housing to people who need it in the future. It is also designed to boost the more expensive private rental market; according to Tax Research UK, half of all former council properties sold by right-to-buy tenants are now in that sector.

It would also lead to a rise in house prices, as people taking advantage of the offer move to sell their homes on, at a profit. This will make housing less accessible to the poor, and the buildings more available to private landlords, who can then charge higher rents – possibly to the very people who just sold the properties.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party Manifesto, launched yesterday (Monday), includes a whole section on “Building new homes”.  On page 46, it refers to “getting the public sector building again. We will build more affordable homes by prioritising capital investment for housing and by reforming the council house financing system.”

Does this mean Labour will be encouraging the building of more council houses again?

That would be terrific.

Especially for the hundreds of thousands who have been pushed towards poverty by the Bedroom Tax.

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It’s time to kill off claims that Labour started the Bedroom Tax

Homeless: The Bedroom Tax has forced the eviction of an ever-growing number of social tenants. How many people have been evicted because of Local Housing Allowance?

Homeless: The Bedroom Tax has forced the eviction of an ever-growing number of social tenants. How many people have been evicted because of Local Housing Allowance?

It seems every debate on the brutal Tory Bedroom Tax has lately been overshadowed by some ill-informed commentator claiming that the Labour Party cannot oppose the measure because it imposed its own version of the same thing on the private rented sector, years ago.

Such a claim was made on the Vox Political Facebook page yesterday (Thursday) and Yr Obdt Srvt promised to seek out the facts.

Thanks to today’s debate on the Affordable Housing Bill, there was no need to look very far.

As mentioned in the debate, Labour imposed the Local Housing Allowance in order to stop private tenants from abusing the Housing Benefit system by moving into accommodation that was larger than they could afford – remember, private rented accommodation is more expensive than social housing – and forcing the taxpayer to fund the difference.

Labour’s measure was imposed only on people moving into privately rented accommodation after the LHA law was enacted.

So, for example, a single person might choose to take a place with two bedrooms. Before LHA was brought in, they could claim housing benefit on the property and rely on the taxpayer to stump up for the extra space. LHA means they get the money required for what they need – and they have to pay for the extra space. This is fair because moving into the larger property was their choice.

As with ordinary housing benefit, if a tenant’s circumstances change for the better, the amount of benefit payable is reduced. Why should a private tenant expect preferential treatment?

It seems that private landlords, who have been charging more than they should, have been angered by the imposition of the LHA and have chosen to wage a propaganda war against it, claiming that it is the Bedroom Tax by another name. Note that they are not against the Bedroom Tax, because it drives social housing tenants to the private sector.

Compare that with the Bedroom Tax. The Tories have imposed a charge on people who are living in social housing that was allocated to them on the basis of their need and the accommodation that was available; it is not the tenants’ fault if the only available accommodation was larger than they needed (more appropriate dwellings had probably been sold off under a previous Tory government’s ‘Right To Buy’ scheme).

The Conservative Bedroom Tax was imposed retrospectively – that is, it affected people who were already sitting tenants rather than those moving into accommodation. It was not intended to combat abuse of the system but was simply a way of robbing social tenants of help that they needed.

And the Bedroom Tax was imposed in the knowledge that the amount of alternative accommodation available to social tenants who needed to downsize in order to avoid the charge was only a fraction of what was needed. These people were trapped by this cruel legislation and driven into debt – in stark contrast to the Labour legislation which only affected people choosing to move into accommodation that was larger than they needed.

There is a huge difference between the Local Housing Allowance and the Bedroom Tax.

Any claims that they are similar must be rooted either in stupidity or in politically-motivated malice.

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Direct Payments – the tenant moves from captive customer to real customer – SPeye Joe

housingbenefit

It seems the government has actually imposed a ‘welfare reform’ that could give benefit claimants an advantage (for a change)!

Joe Halewood, over on the SPeye Joe blog, reckons the move to Direct Payments for social housing tenants will give them far more power – if they are willing to grasp it.

He writes: “3.4 million or so social housing tenants have their rent paid through Housing Benefit. This goes directly to the social landlord with the HB money never passing through the tenants hands.  Landlords like this arrangement and have become accustomed to it.  Tenants like this too as they have never had to worry about paying rent if on benefit.

“To put that into context the coalition admits 1.4 million of social housing HB claimants are not affected by any welfare reform policy by being pensioners and so this DP change will affect the other 2 million social housing tenants of working-age who claim HB.  Eventually that is 2 million rent accounts each week that will be affected and 2 million rent accounts with rent payments no longer guaranteed.   Social housing has just over 4 million tenant households so DP sees a change from roughly two in every three rents being guaranteed by Housing Benefit to just 1.4 million being guaranteed out of 4 million or about one in three.

“The coalition says in its spin on DP that it wants to make tenants more responsible by paying them directly so that they can pay the landlord. This is an issue of control between tenant and social landlord with the current system seeing landlords in control of the payment of rent: Yet that changes with DP which puts the responsibility and the control of rent payment with the social tenant – and that is a monumental change as the social tenant finally becomes the customer is what DP means.

“Social landlords’ service levels vary significantly and tenants currently have little clout in forcing their landlord to undertake repairs or the like.  Yet that changes dramatically with DP as the tenant becomes in control of the payment of rent.  If and when the tenant has any form of beef with the landlord he can potentially, and will in practice, withhold rent.  It makes no difference that social tenants withholding rent while awaiting repair has a highly dubious legal basis as tenants will withhold rent for this reason in far greater numbers.”

There are problems with this – the social landlord can try legal action if there is a belief that the tenant’s complaint is unfounded – but if large numbers of tenants all acted at the same time, they would be swamped.

It is an interesting spin on the usual story fed to us by local authorities (who currently pay Housing Benefit). They say DP means tenants who are unused to paying their own rent will find it hard to keep up payments because they will be tempted to use the money on other necessities (for which they don’t have enough).

The suggestion that they will use the money as leverage to force landlords into complying with their legal responsibilities is far more empowering – and no doubt exactly what the oppressors in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition don’t want.

Read the SPeye Joe blog article here.

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My Bedroom Tax protest speech

Standing in the shadow of a giant: Vox Political's Mike Sivier (front) at 'Cooper Corner', with Caerphilly Castle in the background.

Standing in the shadow of a giant: Vox Political’s Mike Sivier (front) at ‘Cooper Corner’, with Caerphilly Castle in the background.

Vox Political was relatively quiet yesterday; although I reblogged plenty of articles from other sources, there was no new piece from the site itself because I was in Caerphilly, delivering a speech at a Bedroom Tax protest there.

Caerphilly is the birthplace of the late, great comic Tommy Cooper, and it was in the shadow of his statue that the demonstration took place. I instantly (and privately) named the location ‘Cooper Corner’.

I took the opportunity to lighten proceedings at the start by suggesting that Mr Cooper (albeit in petrified effigy) would be providing the jokes. I held the microphone up towards the statue. “Anything? No? No. I didn’t think so.” Turning back to the crowd I added: “The Bedroom Tax is no laughing matter.” Then I got into the body of the speech:

“I write a small blog called Vox Political. I started it a couple of years ago as an attempt to put in writing what a reasonable, thinking person might have to say about government policies in these years of forced austerity, and politics in general.

“As you can probably imagine, this means I knew about the Bedroom Tax, several months before it was actually imposed on us all. I was writing articles warning people against it from October 2012. The trouble was, Vox Political is a small blog that even now has only a few thousand readers a day – and the mainstream media has been almost entirely bought by a political machine with far more funding than I have.

“It is a tax, by the way. You may have heard a lot of nonsense that it isn’t, but consider it this way: a tax is defined as a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government against a citizen’s person, property or activity, to support government policies.

“It is not a ‘spare-room subsidy’. If anyone in authority tries to tell you you’re having your ‘spare-room subsidy’ removed (or more likely, imposed, they’re so confused about this), just tell them to go and find the Act of Parliament that introduced the ‘spare room subsidy’, using those words. Tell them if they can find it, you’ll pay it – but if they can’t, they must not take any money away from you. They won’t be able to find it because it doesn’t exist.

“It is more accurately described as the ‘State Underoccupation Charge’ – SUC! And it really does suck.

“It sucks money that social housing tenants need for food, heat, water and other necessities out of their pockets and forces them to send it to their landlord instead – either the local council or a social landlord like a housing association. The reasoning behind it has always been that this would encourage people to move, but in fact we know that there is no social accommodation for them to move into. When the Bedroom Tax became law, there was only enough smaller housing to accommodate around 15 per cent of the affected households. It is clearly a trap, designed to make poor people poorer.

“This is why the first advice I put on my blog was for anyone affected by the Bedroom Tax to appeal against it – and I was criticised quite harshly for it, because some people decided such action would mark tenants out as troublemakers and create more problems for them. At the time, I thought it was right to give some of the aggravation back to the people who were foisting this additional burden onto lower-income families; make them work for it, if they want it so badly. As it turns out, I was right to do so, because there are so many loopholes in the legislation that it seems almost anybody could avoid paying!

“Do you think Stephanie Bottrill would have died if she had known that she could successfully appeal against her Bedroom Tax, on the grounds that she had been a social housing tenant since before January 1996 and was therefore exempt? The government spitefully closed that particular loophole earlier this month, but that lady is already dead, due to a lie. Had she been properly informed, she could have successfully fought it off and then taken advice on how to cope with it after the government amendment was brought in.

“There is a case for corporate manslaughter against the Department for Work and Pensions, right there. If tested in court, it seems likely that the way its activities have been managed and organised by senior management – the fact that it foisted the Bedroom Tax, wrongly, on this lady – will be found to have led to her death, in gross breach of its duty of care to those who claim state benefits (in this case, Housing Benefit).

“David Cameron has wasted a great deal of oxygen telling us all that disabled people are not affected by the tax. Perhaps he could explain why a disabled gentleman in my home town was forced to move out of his specially-adapted home, incurring not only the cost of moving but an extra £5,000 for removing the adaptations and installing them into new accommodation? He appealed against Bedroom Tax decision but the result came back after the date when he had to be out of his home. Can you guess what it was? That’s right – he won. I have been trying to get him to take legal action against the council and the government about this as it would be an important test case.

“There are other grounds for appealing against the Bedroom Tax. Just because your council wants to claim every room that could be a bedroom is a bedroom, that doesn’t make it so. A fellow blogger, Joe Halewood, has published a list of other room designations that you are allowed to have.

“It includes a study, a utility room, a play room, even an Iain Duncan Smith voodoo doll-making room, if that takes your fancy!

“I was particularly happy to hear that you can have a study as I’ve been writing my blog from the broom cupboard – oh! That’s another room you can have!

“Check the DWP’s online forms. They ask about bedrooms, and then they ask about other rooms. The distinction is clear.”

Then I closed the speech. In retrospect, I should have finished with a few words about the fact that this was the first bit of public speaking I had ever done. I could have given them something along these lines: “I am aware that speech-making is a lucrative sideline for many people, including comedians (although I’m not aware that Mr Cooper ever made any) and also politicians. Perhaps I should use this platform to suggest that, if you know anybody who is considering booking a speaker for a special occasion – society dinner, rugby club social, wedding or party, why not ask them to get in touch with me – instead of Iain Duncan Smith!”

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Coalition to impose sanctions on housing benefit

130905universalcredit

Part-time workers who are judged to be doing too little to find full-time work could have their Housing Benefit sanctioned by the government when Universal Credit comes into full force, according to Inside Housing.

The revelation is the latest in a long line of benefit betrayals to be inflicted on the poor by the Coalition government. The new development also means landlords stand to lose out.

The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed to Inside Housing that under Universal Credit, where a tenant is working less than 35 hours per week at minimum wage and is not eligible for JSA or ESA, then the housing element can be sanctioned instead.

It seems clear that the government is determined that it should be able to take income away from everyone who is not being properly paid by their employer. Does this seem fair to you?

Under the present system, Housing Benefit is paid direct to landlords, meaning sanctions against tenants can only be applied to out-of-work benefits like Jobseekers’ Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance. The aim is to use Universal Credit to spread the threat of sanctions so that it covers people in low-paid work as well. Would you consider any government that did this to be standing up “for hardworking people”?

The article quotes a DWP spokesperson who said: “It is only right that people claiming benefits should be aware that not sticking to the rules can have a consequence.”

This, of course, assumes that a person is breaking the rules if their employer refuses to improve their working conditions… but we know that the government has altered working conditions to ensure that employers are under no pressure to do so; the benefit cap, and the one per cent limit on the annual uprating of benefits have ensured that people without jobs will become continually worse-off, so those who are in work cannot demand pay increases for fear of being handed their P45s and told that someone else will do their job for less.

Are these the actions of a government that believes we are “all in it together”?

If anybody thinks they can find justification for this behaviour, please get in touch.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Evictions begin as government starts grabbing your homes

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It is easy to get caught up in headlines and forget that the Coalition’s benefit reforms mean people you know will lose their homes.

You know what happens then? PEOPLE YOU KNOW START LOSING THEIR HOMES.

Vox Political was warning the world about this back in 2012 – nearly two years ago – saying the bedroom tax would put people on the streets while homes go empty and warning about the ‘Poll Tax revival plan to take away your home’. It gives me no pleasure at all to report that I was right.

This week I heard about two cases in my Mid Wales town. You may think that isn’t many, but this is a town with a population of less than 5,000 – and I haven’t heard about every case.

The first involves a family that has been living in the same council house for more than 30 years. Sadly the head of the household recently had a stroke and has been forced to move into a care home. In the past, the tenancy would have been handed down to the next generation of the family – two sons, one of whom has a family of his own. The other is a friend of mine, of excellent character. By day he works very hard at his job; after hours, he is a member of a popular local band (along with his brother, as it happens). They are what this government would call “strivers”.

But they are being penalised because they have been told to vacate the only home they have had. Not only that, they are being asked to stump up a small fortune in backdated rent (as their father has been paying for his care, not the house) and another small fortune to dispose of carpets they cannot take with them, which the council does not want.

When I spoke to my friend yesterday, he told me that the council simply does not want him or his brother as tenants because “it is easier to process a large family who are on benefits”. I queried this, and it seems likely that this is to do with the forthcoming Universal Credit system, and with the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (also known as the Pickles Poll Tax); it is easier to handle Universal Credit and council tax claims if the authorities have foreknowledge of a household’s income.

We both agreed that there is a serious drawback to this thinking.

Large families do not want to move into vacant social accommodation because they fear what the government – national and local – will do to them if their circumstances change. Children grow up; adults move out – and that will make them vulnerable to the Bedroom Tax. Suddenly their benefits won’t be enough to pay the rent and they, in turn, will be turfed out onto the streets. They know it is a trap; they will try to avoid it.

My friend agreed. “That house is going to stay empty for a very long time,” he said.

This is madness. Here are two people who are perfectly willing and able to pay the council’s rent, on time, for as long as they need the property but, because of the Welfare Reform Act and the Localism Act, the council is treating them abominably and the house will end up providing no income at all.

If you think that’s bad, though, just wait until you learn about my other friend!

He is an older gentleman who has been disabled for many years. He had been living in a small, two-bedroomed house that had been adapted to accommodate his needs. We know precisely how much these adaptations cost to install at current rates: £5,000.

I believe he needed the extra bedroom to accommodate carer needs but I could be mistaken.

Along came the Bedroom Tax and suddenly he did not have enough income to cover the cost of living there. The council (or social landlord, I have to admit I’m not sure) sent him an eviction notice. He appealed.

Guess what? His appeal was set to be decided after the date he was ordered to be out of his home.

So he had to go. He was lucky enough to find another place to live, and all the equipment he needs to accommodate his disability moved along with him – at a cost of £5,000.

Then he received the judgement on his appeal: He was exempt from paying the Bedroom Tax; he should never have been forced to move.

Is this British justice?

This country was once the envy of the world because we were far more enlightened than any other nation in our policies of social justice and inclusion. Not any more! Now we are regressing into a new dark age in which the squalid Shylocks infesting Westminster manipulate local authorities into performing grubby property grabs for them.

Is the ‘Bulldog Spirit’ that made us famous for standing our ground during the Blitz now being turned to hounding the poor out of their homes?

Are you willing to put up with this?

In Iceland, they marched to their Parliament and set up camp outside until the government gave up and agreed to the demands of the people. Here, an unmandated government rides roughshod over democracy while you sit at home watching The X Factor, Coronation Street and the Winter Olympics.

Nothing will change until you change it – but you know this already. The simple fact is that, if you are reading this article, you probably sympathise with the sentiments it is expressing and are already active in opposing the heinous crimes being committed against our people.

There are not enough of you. People who need to read these words are being allowed to live in ignorance, lulled into inactivity by the right-wing mass media.

It’s time to put an end to that. There can be no excuse for ignorance and inaction while people are being made homeless. Think of someone you know who needs to be shown the truth and make them read this article. Ask them what they think of it and explain the facts of what is happening around them.

Then tell them to pass it on to someone they know.

Spread the word – don’t keep it to yourself. And don’t sit on your thumbs and expect somebody else to do your bit for you. If you don’t act, why should anybody else? What’s the point of me writing these articles if you can’t be bothered to do anything about it? Are you going to wait until someone tells you they want your home?

Then it will be too late.

I’ll know if you succeed because it will be reflected in the number of times this article is viewed. I’ll report the results of this experiment next week.

Don’t let yourself down.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political is an independent political blog.
We don’t receive any funding other than contributions from readers.
Vox Political cannot continue without YOUR help.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook