Bedroom Tax: A Letter Everyone Should Read

(140 Posts)
SameDifference Sun 10-Feb-13 02:32:49
nailak Thu 14-Feb-13 00:45:54

hmm, how come those who are over occupying dont get increase in benefits though?

scarlettsmummy2 Thu 14-Feb-13 00:39:49

I agree that there is some money, not loads, and the grant has reduced in the last year. Also, many HA are now going in to mid market rents, great for those on work, but won't help those who are unemployed.

fortyplus Thu 14-Feb-13 00:28:24

As for social rents not covering repairs and maintenance of the properties...

...that's not the case in most areas. The exceptions are inner city areas with high rise blocks. System-built 1960s flats are coming to the end of their useful lives. I live and work in an area where the social housing is of traditional brick construction and the picture is quite rosy since the move to self financing in Arpil 2012. Up till then we had more than 40% of our rental income taken away to subsidise other areas.

And in case anyone is wondering - Council Housing is not paid for by Council Tax. Councils that retain housing stock have a separate, ring-fenced account called the Housing REvenue Account.

fortyplus Thu 14-Feb-13 00:22:02

scarlettsmummy2 - there's loads of money to build new social housing! There's still a desperate shortage but most of the larger Housing Associations are actively building. Recent changes to Housing Finance mean that councils are able to build for the first time in decades.

scarlettsmummy2 Thu 14-Feb-13 00:17:02

The problem is that there is no money or land to simply build more social housing. I strongly believe that social housing should only be there for those that need it most. Both from ethical reasons and financial- while social housing is being used by those that don't actually need it, the government is having to spend more on the homeless through the running of hostels and paying for hotels etc. It is a financial drain.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Thu 14-Feb-13 00:12:40

When I say wrong, I mean that people are languishing in hostels, not that other people have a decent, affordable, secure roof over their heads.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Thu 14-Feb-13 00:11:21

Yes, that is wrong. But the answer is to build more houses, not to punish vulnerable people for having one.

scarlettsmummy2 Thu 14-Feb-13 00:10:08

That may historically have been the case but it is simply no longer realistic. It is wrong that I have loads of young people living in homeless hostels on next to nothing, when my employer has countless houses filled with well off tradesmen etc who can afford to pay full market rent, not the couple of hundred a month they currently are.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Thu 14-Feb-13 00:06:52

Social housing was never intended to be assigned only to the most needy. It was always intended to be a service anyone could use. People of all classes lived in it - houses were set aside for police officers, firefighters, paramedics. teachers lived in it in the areas they worked. Even vicars and MPs often lived in council houses. It was intended to be diverse and egalitarian. It is only since Thatcher that it has been seen as something for the destitute.

scarlettsmummy2 Wed 13-Feb-13 23:59:04

But people like her should not be in social housing! I work for a housing association and we have many tenants not getting HB but have been in their flats for years and could afford to buy or rent privately and choose not too.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Wed 13-Feb-13 23:56:00

Sorry, People like her are not the issue

aufaniae Wed 13-Feb-13 23:55:37

The knock on effect on disease is something else to be concerned about IMO. If we have more crowed housing conditions, TB will probably rise for example.

DS had to have a TB jab when he was a baby as we lived in Hackney and the rate is high there.

A study into why the incidence of TB is so high in Hackney found that there was one main factor was overcrowding.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Wed 13-Feb-13 23:55:33

If your colleague joint income is over £50,000 she won't be affected. She won't be eligible for HB, and can easily pay. People like her are the issue. It's the over 600,000 tenants who do claim HB and who can not afford to pay.

scarlettsmummy2 Wed 13-Feb-13 23:48:50

One point that people often miss- social housing is non means tested! So while there are undoubtably many who can not afford the tax, equally there are many who can! They can afford the increase in rent, as it will apply to everyone in social housing, not just those on hb. I have a colleague in her fifties with only her and her husband in three bedroom flat, joint income more than 50k, absolutely she should pay more than she currently does.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Wed 13-Feb-13 23:46:49

Also the knock-on effect on police and social services when people are forced to live in such overcrowded conditions.

Darkesteyes Wed 13-Feb-13 23:44:49

In Little Tygas link. I know its a small point in the scheme of things but can you imagine the knock on effect on the NHS when their chlolesterol levels have skyrocketed due to eating takeaways every day.

LittleTyga Wed 13-Feb-13 23:37:33

I don't think many councils make much money out of rent. Repairs and maintenace cost more than the rent covers. And very few people pay full rent in any case.

Getting your information from the Daily Mail by any chance?

I know a lot of people who live in HA and council homes - all of which work and pay full rent, most of the repairs are done by them too as the council don't do work to a good standard. I know families who have put kitchens and bathrooms in at their own expense.

edam Wed 13-Feb-13 23:24:55

(She was also the Tesco heiress. I'm not saying there's any link between passing off dodgy horsemeat as beefburgers and exploiting the poor and the taxpayer but it makes you wonder...)

edam Wed 13-Feb-13 23:23:13

'I think most councils were pleased to get rid of their council houses and couldn't wait to sell them' - you must be thinking of the scandal in Westminster during the reign of Shirley Porterof Homes for Votes fame. That nice Tory lady who was caught gerrymandering - getting rid of council houses because she thought they encouraged labour voting. She was found to have acted illegally, was charged £27m for her wrong-doing, but fought it all the way and only forked out £12m. No doubt the current government are champing at the bit to adopt her shameful policies of dumping homeless families in abestos-ridden fleapits...

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Wed 13-Feb-13 23:05:48

To put it another way: do repairs and maintenance on your house cost more than your rent or mortgage Viviennemary? That's not how it works for me, or anyone else I know - apart from people who live in do-er-uppers - so why would it be different for social housing?

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Wed 13-Feb-13 22:59:45

"I don't think many councils make much money out of rent. Repairs and maintenace cost more than the rent covers. And very few people pay full rent in any case. I think most councils were quite pleased to get rid of their council houses and couldn't wait to sell them."

Do you have any evidence for this?

aufaniae Wed 13-Feb-13 22:57:29

"And people quite able to afford their own house should not be eligible to keep their council house. That would free up enough properties for those in need."

That's one of those things which might make sense for a minute or two when you see it on paper. But have a think about what it means in reality for the people involved and society too and you'll see it's a terrible idea.

For areas where there is a lot of council housing in one place, if people with jobs have to move out, those areas will quickly become ghettos with no role models in work.

If people are forced to move on it will destroy communities.

It will create a bigger burden on the state in terms of caring responsibilities if people move away from neighbours and family they perform informal caring for. (What happened to the big society?!)

It's a ridiculous reverse incentive for people to get jobs if, when they do they will lose their home, and all the upheaval that goes with it e.g. uprooting DCs.

If there is a problem with supply, why not build more?!

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Wed 13-Feb-13 22:55:40

Saski Why it is a strawman argument has been explained by aufaniae

Viviennemary Wed 13-Feb-13 22:49:47

I don't think many councils make much money out of rent. Repairs and maintenace cost more than the rent covers. And very few people pay full rent in any case. I think most councils were quite pleased to get rid of their council houses and couldn't wait to sell them. The solution is council houses for people in need and who have low incomes. And not one person sitting in a four bedroomed house for the rest of their life. And people quite able to afford their own house should not be eligible to keep their council house. That would free up enough properties for those in need.

Sarahplane Wed 13-Feb-13 22:44:52

It's a fucking stupid idea, it's going to cause massive problems. We definitely need more social housing rather than less and I think the government needd to recognise as well that children may require a room at both parents homes if the parents are separated and the children split there time between both parents. Also imo not allocating a room for foster children is madness.

Housing benefit legislation does now allow a bedroom to be allowed for use by a carer who lives elsewhere but stays regularly and also thanks to a recent legal case disabled children who cannot share can be allocated their own room when working out how many rooms are needed. The own room for some disabled children rule is very new so maybe not very well known so worth pointing out to housing benefit staff if anyone is in that situation.

Many councils have also set aside dhp funds to help foster carers as the last thing any council wants is to loose foster carers so while not guaranteed there is a pretty good chance of getting it long term.

I'm pointing these things out to try to reassure people and also so people know what they can apply for not to diminish very valid points about what a stupid, unfair law it is. The bedroom tax is an awful idea and mp's need to be told this by everyone as mp's are the ones with the power to change this.

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