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Bedroom tax will be costly disaster, says housing chief

(1000 Posts)
vivizone Sun 31-Mar-13 06:51:02

I don't understand how they can implement it. When a council tenant signs the tenancy agreement, if bedroom tax is not mentioned, is it not illegal to implement it at a later date?

I don't see how it is enforceable. Let's say a tenant refuses to pay/can't pay. They then get evicted - wouldn't the council still be obliged to house them after eviction, especially if they have children?

The whole thing is a mess. Why so many changes all at the same time?!

Cost-cutting policy will push up benefit bill, cause social disruption and create widespread misery, say critics

Ministers came under new fire over benefit cuts last night as the independent body representing 1,200 English housing associations described the controversial bedroom tax as bad policy and bad economics that risks pushing up the £23bn annual housing benefit bill.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said the tax would harm the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. It comes into force this week alongside a range of other tax and benefit changes.

"The bedroom tax is one of these once-in-a-generation decisions that is wrong in every respect," he said. "It's bad policy, it's bad economics, it's bad for hundreds of thousands of ordinary people whose lives will be made difficult for no benefit – and I think it's about to become profoundly bad politics."

His intervention came as opponents launched nationwide protests against the tax, which will hit 660,000 households with each losing an estimated average of £14 a week.

Crowds gathered in London's Trafalgar Square yesterday to protest against the measure, and simultaneous protests were being held in towns and cities across the UK. One protester, Sue Carter, 58, from Waltham Forest, told the Observer: "I'm a working single parent with a tiny boxroom and now I'm faced with the choice between food, heat or paying the bedroom tax. People have looked after their homes, improved them – why should they be turfed out?"

Under the scheme, which is introduced tomorrow, people in social housing with one spare bedroom will have their housing benefit cut by 14%, while those with two or more unoccupied rooms will see it slashed by 25%.

Ministers say the tax, which David Cameron calls the "spare room subsidy", will encourage people to move to smaller properties and save around £480m a year from the spiralling housing benefit bill. But critics such as the National Housing Federation (NHF) argue that as well as causing social disruption, the move risks increasing costs to taxpayers because a shortage of smaller social housing properties may force many people to downsize into the more expensive private rented sector.

The federation's warnings came as charities said the combination of benefit cuts and tax rises coming in from this week will amount to a £2.3bn hit on family finances.

Labour said analysis of official figures showed average families would be £891 worse off in the new tax year as the changes – including those to tax credits and housing benefits – begin to bite.

Research by the NHF says that while there are currently 180,000 households that are "underoccupying two-bedroom homes", there are far fewer smaller properties in the social housing sector available to move into. Last year only 85,000 one-bedroom homes became available. The federation has calculated that if all those available places were taken up by people moving as a result of the "bedroom tax", the remaining 95,000 households would be faced with the choice of staying put and taking a cut in income, or renting a home in the private sector.

If all 95,000 moved into the private sector, it says the cost of housing benefit would increase by £143m, and by millions more if others among the remaining 480,000 affected chose to rent privately.

As well as the move on spare bedrooms, council tax benefit will be replaced from this week by a new system that will be run by English local authorities but on 10% less funding. Pensioners will be protected under the changes but, as a result, it is feared there will be a bigger burden on poor working-age adults. Restrictions on the uprating of a number of welfare payments will also hit millions of households, homelessness charity Crisis has warned.

Chief executive Leslie Morphy said: "Our poorest households face a bleak April as they struggle to budget for all these cuts coming at once. People are already cutting back on the essentials of food and heating but there is only so much they can do.

"The result will be misery – cold rooms, longer queues at food banks, broken families, missed rent payments and yet more people facing homelessness – devastating for those directly affected, but bad for us all."

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "Our welfare reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities, with universal credit simplifying the complex myriad of benefits and making three million people better off. And by next year, we will have taken two million of the lowest earners out of paying tax altogether."

Crisis argues that homelessness is set to rise dramatically. This winter has already seen a rise of 31% in the numbers of rough sleepers across the country and a 20% rise in people seeking help with homelessness from their local authority in the past two years, according to Crisis.

ChartiesCharities are also concerned that the government-funded network of homelessness advisers in England is to be scrapped. The team of regional advisers and rough sleeper and youth specialists which have provided councils with expert guidance on meeting statutory homelessness duties since 2007 will be disbanded just as the bedroom tax comes in. Also being scrapped are the crisis loans and community care grants which provided a lifeline for people in financial crisis who needed essentials when moving to a new home.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said: "This is the week when the whole country will see whose side David Cameron and George Osborne are really on and who is paying the price for their economic failure."

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 15:59:56

I really don't.

I'm scum.

flatbread Tue 02-Apr-13 15:59:39

flatbread your family had the money to make it work. thats the difference

We all cut back. Three of us teens shared a bedroom. We had money because my mum and dad worked around the clock to pay for care. Btw, this is not say they did anything special. Carers all over the world do it for loved ones.

I think that we should provide money to ease the burden, if we as a society can afford it. But to turn it around and say that it is the state's responsibility and that anyone who looks after their family is doing us all a favour, is a bit ridiculous.

pollypandemonium Tue 02-Apr-13 15:59:39

Don't worry Penelopee you have more support than you realise on here.

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 15:58:08

People don't care they've made people cry, they get a kick out if it.


I'm going to give you a practical orgasm now.

Some of the hate directed at me and my family on this site has made me more than cry, I've been suicidal.

Enjoy that thrill now.

You're welcome.

pollypandemonium Tue 02-Apr-13 15:56:42

Of course we could all go back to a feudal system where there is no such thing as tax. There are plenty of countries like that, where families support each other and if they can't, people can just go and die by the roadside.

flatbread you could always move to one of those countries.

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 15:55:47

I have tried to debate on here. I've said how my caring duties have affected my physical and mental health only to be told I should be in the gutter.

Well fuck you.

Xenia Tue 02-Apr-13 15:54:56

I don't understand how anyone can say those of us in favour of these measures are disablist as the state has excluded the disabled from the changes. It is as if people want to see something that is not there. We simply think that there is a huge culture of entitlement which needs to be altered -work for benefits, etc etc. It has huge support amongst the British population as a whole

flatbread Tue 02-Apr-13 15:53:27

What is bigoted to say families have primary responsibility of looking after their own? And any state support is a good thing, but not a god-given right?

Yes, I am all for helping people with misfortunes, but it seems we as a society have a twisted view that the nanny state is ultimately responsible for supporting our lives. Quite unhealthy as it breeds entitlement.

dawn, sorry to make you cry. I didn't mean to and you seems lovely wonderful parent to your family. Please don't take this personally.

FasterStronger Tue 02-Apr-13 15:52:39

i think it is everyone's duty to care for our seriously ill/disabled loved ones and i think it is everyone else's responsibility to support them financially and generally.

carers for seriously ill and disabled people do a valuable and often thankless job.

but in order for us to fund this, with a deficit and increasing global competition, the rest of us need to work. and not come up with reasons not to.

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 15:49:58

I'd say engaging in hate speech against a protected group is actually disablist.

CecilyP Tue 02-Apr-13 15:48:13

Yet most of the population despite the impression on this thread are in favour of workfare and in favour of the over occupancy changes. It surprisingly unites voters of all parties - there is a lot of support for it presumably because most people work very hard and want to ensure not working is pretty horrible so there is a disincentive to live off the state.

It is all in the detail, Xenia. I am sure most people would want to encourage the underoccupied to downsize. However, when you look at the detail, many of those now deemed underoccupied are no such thing, while others would like to move but need somewhere suitable to move to. We would all like to encourage people to work and there will be people who do not even try, but there a thousands of others pursuing suitable work opportunities and facing constant rejection.

Darkesteyes Tue 02-Apr-13 15:48:02

flatbread your family had the money to make it work. thats the difference.

Wow Golden Dawn would have no shortage of members if they came here.
Its fucking scary.

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 15:46:50


pollypandemonium Tue 02-Apr-13 15:46:29

Why do you assume it is the state's responsibility to look after them and you are doing us a 'favour' by looking after your partner/children yourself?

shockshockshock Just wow. Think it through flatbread.

The taxpayer pays either way and when the family does the work, they are paying the taxpayer. Or do you think disabled people should look after themselves and get a job in the circus / begging like they used to?

Arisbottle Tue 02-Apr-13 15:46:24

It seems quite entitled , in a rather unpleasant manner, to want the poor and disabled to grovel for the crumbs from your table.

WillowJoinInOurCrufae Tue 02-Apr-13 15:46:10

How often does a bedroom need to be occupied to be okay? What about parents whose children are away at uni but need to come home in the holidays? What about separated parents who have a room for their children when they stay?

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 15:45:57

Oh sorry, would you prefer that us and our kids lived in the gutter?

That's more where shit lives. And I can smell plenty of THAT round here.

flatbread Tue 02-Apr-13 15:45:56

Er, I have seem my mum take care of her disabled mum. Waking up at 4 in the morning to prepare everything before going to work.

My dad stepping in to be around the hours my mum couldn't be there. Together they made it work, without any state support. And they never expected any, because families have to take care of their own. An these are all higher bracket tax-payers.

Like I said, you don't know how lucky you are to have such strong public subsidies. Be grateful instead of entitled about it.

Darkesteyes Tue 02-Apr-13 15:44:39

Dawndonna dont let the bigots get to you. And flatbread the French system pays higher unemployment benefit than we do.

so im guessing you wouldnt want that part of the French system here would you.

No you only want to use the example that suits your disabilist views.

williaminajetfighter Tue 02-Apr-13 15:44:16

Penelopee - we're not going to get anywhere if you just go down the route of calling someone disabilist and goady.

I haven't seen anyone saying anything against disabled people NOR not acknowledging the challenges of looking after disabled/having disabled family members. People are merely differing on their view of state intervention in care and the role the state play in care.

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 15:43:38

Goady, disablist, bigoted shite.
I so wish purveyors of such would be hit by a bus...

CecilyP Tue 02-Apr-13 15:43:00

As for community needs - these communities where on one has worked for a generation and the only goal is becoming the best drug dealer on the estate might be a rather good thing to be breaking up surely?

Well, I doubt if the best drug dealer on the estate has any worries about the benefits cap or bedroom tax.

Dawndonna Tue 02-Apr-13 15:41:15

Am I allowed to go and cry yet. My disabled daughter once commented on a thread saying that the internet brings bullying into your own sitting room. That is exactly what is happening here.

flatbread Tue 02-Apr-13 15:40:50

Many, many people across countries take care of children disabled or not, their partners, elderly parents and grandparents. Because they feel it is their duty and responsibility.

And if the taxpayer provides support, they are grateful for it. Not entitled about how they are doing everyone else's a favour by looking after their own families.

Truly, some people in this country are so entitled that every problem is the states responsibility.

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 15:40:08

Dawndonna, for the third time on this thread I'll point out the fact that the arguments on this thread are so weak that posters are having to resort to disablist goading and bigotry, and use of stereotypes.

Their lack of interest in actual debate is shown because they have failed to engage in debate when those stereotypes have been directly challenged, instead repeating their disablist, goady, stereotypical mantra.

It shows breathtaking shortsightedness, ignorance and actually stupidity too.

Some might wish a dose of our 'real life' on individuals who have these opinions.

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