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The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by plebgate on 06.04.13 19:00

Had to laugh in the week when I saw that over 300 luvvies had attended an event where the Queen was awarded an honorary BAFTA for her contribution and support for the British film industry (something like that). ha ha ha. you couldn't make it up. The report also mentioned the wonderful part she played in the James Bond spoof. Well it would, wouldn't it. ha ha ha.


Talk about "we are all in it together" - seems like Cleggy has gone off on a skiing holiday staying in his families 7 million pound chalet which boasts 20 bedrooms. ha ha ha. You gotta laugh or you'd weep. Bedroom tax on holiday homes please.

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by PeterMac on 06.04.13 20:18

I am a tax payer and therefore help subsidise homes for those who either cannot, or chose not to, afford their own.
I also subsidise lifestyles for those who either cannot, or choose not to, work.
In the first of each of those cases I do so willingly; in the second I insist that my money be administered so as to extract the best possible value from it.

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by plebgate on 07.04.13 8:22

I agree PeterM I do not mind paying taxes when they are used to help those in genuine need, the people who milk the system need to be made to work and not expect handouts for the sake of them, but i think the bedroom tax is ridiculous. I would be in favour of it IF people could easily downsize, but there have been hardly any new council homes built for years. Expecting people to pay 10 or 20per cent extra each month from their benefits or take in lodgers is imo crazy and makes absolutely no sense. Maybe I would feel a little easier about it if Union officials and MPs were made to move out of their social housing but they wont be made to and afterall they can easily afford to pay the tax on their spare rooms.

As I have said before I do not think this tax has been brought about because of the monetary deficit as I can remember this being touted 20 years ago by the Tory party at a time when they were telling us we had never had it so good and that everything in the Bank was rosy.

I think the government are right that there are shirkers and people who falsely claim benefits but I do not believe that people in genuine need should suffer because of the people who steal from us.

Anyway I believe it is being challenged in the High Court beginning of May and I hope that they win.

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by plebgate on 07.04.13 8:25

I re-read the article about Cleggy and the 7 million pound chalet. It has 20 rooms not bedrooms, don't know how many bedrooms there are but there are sure to be spare bedrooms in a house that size. I still say tax spare bedrooms in holiday homes.

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by joyce1938 on 07.04.13 10:04

I thought this tax,will only effect people that get all rent or a great deal of it payed by our taxes? yes its a problem we do need social housing fo rthose that will not ever be able to buy a home ,but as peter mac said ,it does need to be proportional to rooms needed .Private dwellings are subsistuting social housing as we have so many more people to be housed ,so the benefits have to go towards those homes too.So many privalages were granted under last goverment ,to which do need looking at now .i do not wish to upset anyone that does need to have help here ,but it cant go on and on .joyce1938

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by PeterMac on 07.04.13 10:05

@plebgate wrote:I agree PeterM. I do not mind paying taxes when they are used to help those in genuine need, the people who milk the system need to be made to work and not expect handouts for the sake of them, but i think the bedroom tax is ridiculous. I would be in favour of it IF people could easily downsize, but there have been hardly any new council homes built for years. . .
Agreed.
But of course many people who own their homes, or who rent privately DO downsize at the appropriate moment. My parents for example retired from a large family house to a small bungalow on retirement.
I take the point about councils not having built houses, or flats suitable for pensioners to move into once the family has dispersed.
I think the policy has been handled badly, not that in principle it is wrong.

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by Guest on 07.04.13 11:29

@PeterMac wrote:
@plebgate wrote:I agree PeterM. I do not mind paying taxes when they are used to help those in genuine need, the people who milk the system need to be made to work and not expect handouts for the sake of them, but i think the bedroom tax is ridiculous. I would be in favour of it IF people could easily downsize, but there have been hardly any new council homes built for years. . .
Agreed.
But of course many people who own their homes, or who rent privately DO downsize at the appropriate moment. My parents for example retired from a large family house to a small bungalow on retirement.
I take the point about councils not having built houses, or flats suitable for pensioners to move into once the family has dispersed.
I think the policy has been handled badly, not that in principle it is wrong.

Many years ago the right to buy your council house was brought in, thousands did and still do buy, which to me is a good thing to help people get on the property ladder but I don't think any us realized at the time how it would affect social housing by not building more council houses or flats. I don't know what the policy is in other councils, but in mine you can't buy bungalows used for the elderly, so when anyone in a three bedroom house whose family have left home can apply for a bungalow, which then leaves the empty house for a family to move in. To me it's about building houses and flats for families, not for the elderly

Don't know what would have happened after the end of the war when millions relied on social housing. I still do not agree with the bedroom tax.

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by plebgate on 07.04.13 13:13

I take your point about your parents PeterM and agree that this has been handled badly. As you say your parents sold their home and downsized and that was their choice. For me, many are not being given a choice. They are being told you will do this that or the other or pay extra from a very limited benefits income. If people only have say £60 a week to live on 20per cent of that is quite a bit to find each month. Take in a lodger and who knows what they will be like and would be extremely difficult to get rid of. Also for people who own their own home they can choose the area they want to live in. What if a council house or flat council tenants downsize to is in a completely different area and possibly a "rougher" area then they are used to.

@CB. After the war a lot of pre-fabs were built and still exist as good family homes. Why something like this cannot be done again is beyond me, they could be put up quickly and get families into good, clean accommodation and instead of causing all this discontent people would be very happy.

On the big question tv programme today a member of the audience said that it seems that the top 1% of the people have a strangle hold on everything in this country and they are the ones who seem to benefit from anything good here. I agree with that and as someone else said, we are the 7th richest country in the world, we citizens should be relatively well off and we would be if the top 1% stopped treating the rest of us as cannon fodder.

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by Guest on 13.05.13 8:27

Bedroom Tax Blamed For Woman's Suicide

Stephanie Bottrill wrote a letter to her family to say she blamed the Government's controversial bedroom tax for her death

For someone to take their own life because of a goverment policy is appaling. How many more will there be, how many will end up on the streets because of this uncaring goverment?

http://news.sky.com/story/1089813/bedroom-tax-blamed-for-womans-suicide

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by PeterMac on 13.05.13 8:48

In fairness, The Samaritans have piled in and said that there is very rarely one single reason for a suicide.
In other words although it is politically convenient to blame the "bedroom tax," it is more likely to be multifaceted, tragic though it remains.

Interesting that the Left seem equivocal about this.
"To each according to his needs, From each according to his ability" is the higher Marxist principal.
(Higher than the original one "To each according to his contribution", which was said to be merely Socialist, rather than Communist.)

Needs cannot equate to unused bedrooms in a socialist utopia, so long as there remain larger families who clearly have a greater need.
The Leftist ideal would surely be a system of State owned and managed one bedroom flats, followed by two and three bedroom apartments, followed by one bedroom bungalows, allocated to you by The Ministry of Housing as your needs are assessed.
We only have to look at the concrete blocks in inner cities for proof of what they were trying to achieve.
Bliss !

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by plebgate on 13.05.13 8:59

The straw that broke the camel's back so to speak?

It was the same with the nurse who took her life when the Australians rang about the health of Kate Middleton. The nurse had merely put the call through to somebody else, she had not given out any information. Apparently the nurse had attempted suicide before, so sounds like a troubled lady before hand.

It is a terrible tax though for many and it is reported that more and more families are having to resort to food banks, although I did hear on tv that the government are denying this.

Never mind, the MPs are now reportedly in a battle to get their beer even cheaper in the bars at Westminster Palace. All ok in the country then!

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by Woofer on 13.05.13 9:07

@PeterMac wrote:In fairness, The Samaritans have piled in and said that there is very rarely one single reason for a suicide.
In other words although it is politically convenient to blame the "bedroom tax," it is more likely to be multifaceted, tragic though it remains.


I wouldn`t place too much credence on that statement PM - some commentator has homed in on this standard quote about suicide, which in part is true. But its usually quoted to diminish responsibility for what the victim has stated as the cause. The bedroom tax was most probably the straw that broke the camel`s back in this woman`s mind - it was obviously uppermost in her mind when she was driven to take her own life.

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by aquila on 13.05.13 9:52

@Woofer wrote:
@PeterMac wrote:In fairness, The Samaritans have piled in and said that there is very rarely one single reason for a suicide.
In other words although it is politically convenient to blame the "bedroom tax," it is more likely to be multifaceted, tragic though it remains.


I wouldn`t place too much credence on that statement PM - some commentator has homed in on this standard quote about suicide, which in part is true. But its usually quoted to diminish responsibility for what the victim has stated as the cause. The bedroom tax was most probably the straw that broke the camel`s back in this woman`s mind - it was obviously uppermost in her mind when she was driven to take her own life.

I agree Woofer, the straw that broke the camel's back. I know of a woman in her forties who through no fault of her own is unemployed. She lives in a two bedroom council house. She has 52 pounds per week of cash 'income' to feed and clothe herself along with paying for a tv licence. She doesn't have a SKY tv package, she doesn't have a landline telephone, she doesn't have a computer, she doesn't have internet connection, she has a pay as you go mobile which she uses carefully and she doesn't have a car - BUT she has a 'spare bedroom' since her son left home. She doesn't and has never bucked the system or cheated in anyway. Ironically, she spent many years working for the Benefits Agency.

I just did a weekly grocery shop. I bought only healthy food, no prime cuts of meat, no cleaning/laundry/toiletry products, no major store cupboard items either. I bought no organic products. My bill is 65 pounds. No doubt I could have cut it slightly if I'd shopped smarter but it doesn't alter the fact that I could not survive on 52 pounds per week - and that is all it is - survival money.

There is something seriously wrong with a government who wants to tax a spare bedroom.

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by Woofer on 13.05.13 11:43

No way could I live on £52 pw either Aquila. Its no life at all, especially when you`re willing to work but the jobs just aren`t out there.

I can understand that 3 bedrooms is being over-accommodated if you`re just a single person, but 2 bedrooms, especially if they`re small, is a necessity I would have thought - goodness knows what I`d do without my small spare room. Its got my sewing table, computer desk and printer, bookcases, filing cabinet and storage drawers - its jam packed. Take all that away and my life would be pretty pointless.

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by Guest on 13.05.13 11:43

I would like the law makers to see what it must be like in housing benefit offices up and down the country; staff at the receiving end of the frustration felt by claimants.

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by aquila on 13.05.13 11:55

No Fate Worse Than De'Ath wrote:I would like the law makers to see what it must be like in housing benefit offices up and down the country; staff at the receiving end of the frustration felt by claimants.

The young woman I have been speaking about worked for the Benefits Agency on the front desk. It was awful. She was verbally abused as the norm, people spat at the screens in front of her (isn't it good to have your government put protective screens when administering policy - such a sense of comfort) and she was met outside her office on several occasions, threatened and followed. Sick isn't it. It might have been a better idea to stick Huhne and his wife for their full sentence to get some idea of the wretched circumstances that people live in. Not everyone on benefits (forget the Daily Wail) is a cheat. There are a hell of a lot of cheats in Westminster and percentage-wise it would be interesting.

I just want to add that this woman I speak of has A levels, worked in excess of 20 years, paid her husband's college fees (he was already a graduate) to get him a teaching job. He beat her so badly she was hospitalized and didn't say anything. She didn't want to leave their two year old son in his care. She left their house. She left all the money that was tied up in the house. She couldn't stand her son seeing her being beaten up. She is a very decent human being. She turned to the CSA - Child Support Agency and they couldn't find him - don't you think that is apalling since he is a teacher and would have gone through checks?

Forget about benefit cheats, the Daily Wail love them, it's actually the decent folk who are cheated by the system. As for lying, cheating MP's well they belong on a sink estate, after all they created it.

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by Guest on 30.05.13 8:20

Bedroom Tax: Leeds Council To Reclassify Rooms To Help Tenants

Leeds council has confirmed it will reclassify hundreds of rooms in council houses in a bid to help residents avoid the so-called "bedroom tax."

Across the city 837 houses will have their bedrooms reclassified as non-specific 'rooms', the council said. This will allow residents to avoid their benefits being docked under what the government insists is a "spare room subsidy" not a tax.

Labour Councillor Peter Gruen said the move had been prompted in part by welfare changes as well as "looking at ways to help all tenants across the city.”

Labour MP for Leeds North Fabian Hamilton told the Huffington Post UK the bedroom tax was "outrageous" and he was glad the council had come up with a creative solution.

He said: "I think anything done to help hard-pressed families and couples is welcome. This bedroom tax, and it is a bedroom tax and not a spare room subsidy, is an outrageous reorganisation of benefits.

"It's a tax on you for daring to have a spare room, for your children, or grandchildren. There are couples that need to sleep separately and legitimately need that spare room.

"It is such a shocking tax and I'm glad Leeds has come up with a creative solution. I've no doubt the government will attempt to outlaw it immediately."

However Conservative Councillor Barry Anderson told the Yorkshire Post: “The decision is a poor one that appears to have been rushed through with no real thought other than to avoid spare room subsidy payments.”

The controversial tax has come under attack for many reasons, with some campaigners arguing that it discriminates against disabled people, while others simply saying it is uneconomic.

The BBC reported that new figures from councils in the East Midlands showed a dramatic rise in the number of people applying for emergency financial help to avoid eviction.

Earlier this month, figures showed more than 25,000 people applied for discretionary housing payments (DHP) to help cover their rent in April, compared with 5,700 in the same month last year, according to an analysis of 51 councils by The Independent

The High Court has already been asked to declare that the government's so-called "bedroom tax" unlawfully discriminates against disabled people, in 10 cases brought to illustrate the serious impact of the regulations up and down the country.

On Wednesday the Labour Housing Group published a list of policies as part of its One Nation Housing manifesto.

As part of that it suggested The “bedroom tax” should be ended "in favour of a new national plan to tackle under-occupation based on incentives and a stronger ground for possession with a right to suitable alternative accommodation.’

A DWP spokesman told the Huffington Post UK: "Our reforms to housing benefit will ensure a better use of our housing stock - a priority when there are almost two million households on the social housing waiting list and over a quarter of a million living in overcrowded homes.

"We have provided councils £150million for Discretionary Housing Payments this year to support vulnerable people and councils may choose to redefine some properties, but we don't expect this to be widespread."

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/05/29/bedroom-tax-leeds-council-spare-room-_n_3352396.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cuk-ws-bb%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D183068

Suprise, Suprise.

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by plebgate on 30.05.13 14:00

Good on the Leeds Councillors. About time somebody tried to do something about it.

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by Guest on 01.07.13 6:44

1 July 2013 Last updated at 05:56


Impact of housing benefit changes 'worse than feared'


By Michael Buchanan BBC News

The consequences of the housing benefit cut introduced in April are worse than feared, the National Housing Federation has said.

Rent arrears have soared in some areas while larger houses are lying empty as people refuse to move into them.

Housing benefit recipients of working age, in social housing with spare bedrooms, had their benefit cut by an average £14 per week from April 1.

Ministers say the impact of the benefit cut is being monitored closely.

The government wants to end what it calls the "spare room subsidy" for social tenants, but critics have dubbed the move a "bedroom tax".

"The impact is at least as bad as we had anticipated, in many respects even worse," says David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation.

"What we've seen are really bad effects on individuals, people whose lives have been turned upside down, who are very frightened about the future," says Mr Orr.

One of the government's stated aims for cutting housing benefit for people with spare rooms was to get them to move, thereby freeing up homes for families living in overcrowded properties.

Ministers say this is starting to happen but two housing associations have told BBC News that since the welfare change, they have large family homes lying empty because tenants cannot afford to move into them.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

We have perfectly good, three-bedroom homes that people are telling us they can't afford to live in”

Coast and Country Housing, which owns more than 10,000 properties on Teesside, says it is struggling to rent out some properties.

"The numbers of empty homes we've got to let are increasing significantly," says Iain Sim, chief executive of Coast and Country.

"People are now telling us that because of bedroom tax, they can no longer afford to move into the bigger family homes, and as a consequence of that we're getting fewer lettings and more empty houses."

Across the country in Merseyside, it is a similar story. Cobalt Housing, which owns nearly 6,000 mainly family homes in Liverpool, says the benefit change is putting "terrible pressure" on tenants.

"We have perfectly good, three-bedroom homes that people are telling us they can't afford to live in, because of the bedroom tax," says managing director, Alan Rogers.
'More crime'

On the edge of Middlesbrough sits the South Bank housing estate - home to post-war, ex-local authority two and three bedroom properties.

When heavy manufacturing - steel making and ship building - mattered this was the right place at the right time. But today it feels like the wrong place at the wrong time as low wages and high benefit dependency define the community.

On one street alone here, there are four properties that Coast and Country Housing says are empty because tenants are unwilling to rent them as a result of the benefit cut.

Neighbours agree, and worry about the consequences of an increase in the number of empty houses.

"No-one will want to live around here, and you're also going to see more crime," said one resident.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

I feel as though we've been cheated, and lied to”

Alison Huggan

Rent arrears are also on the increase - as they are in other parts of the country.

East Ayrshire Council says its arrears have increased by 340% following the benefit cut.

Increases in arrears have been reported in Dundee, Bolton, Manchester, Cambridge, Leeds, London, north and south Wales.

"Some people who have never been in arrears in their entire lives are in arrears and are horrified that they are in that position," says David Orr from the National Housing Federation.

One of those people now in debt is Alison Huggan from Middlesbrough, whose case was raised by Ed Miliband in February during Prime Minister's Questions.

She lives in a three bed house, keeping two bedrooms spare for her 18-year-old twin sons to use when they are home from the Army.
'Applications soaring'

The government announced that the parents of children in the military deployed on operations would be exempt from the cut. But Alison has been denied help by Middlesbrough Council because her sons' main residences are deemed to be their barracks in Germany and Cyprus.

"I feel as though we've been cheated, and lied to," said Alison.

She applied for help to her council's discretionary housing payment scheme, a local authority administered fund which the government increased this year to help the transition to the new benefit rates.

Across the country however, the discretionary housing payment (DHP) scheme is under enormous pressure with applications soaring in most council areas since April, leading to delays in processing claims.

Local authorities are free to interpret who they help, which has resulted in variations in the cover that people are getting.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

The removal of the spare room subsidy is returning fairness to housing”

Department for Work and Pensions

Alison is now trying to move to a smaller house but nothing has yet become available.

Also looking for a smaller property is Paul Wilson.

The 38-year-old has had his housing benefit cut by £11 per week since April but instead of going into debt, he's cut back on his outgoings, particularly energy and food.

"I now get by on one meal a day," he said.

His fortnightly food budget is £25. He's been looking for a job for years and has tried unsuccessfully on two separate occasions to start his own business.

He's been told he's likely to wait years to find a one bedroom property is his neighbourhood on Teesside. But even if that happens, a move won't be straightforward.

"Even if someone is willing to move, there's no funding for removal costs. [I'd have to find] money to move, which basically I just don't have," he said.

Ministers argue they have to introduce the cut to contain the bulging housing benefit bill.

In a statement, the Department for Work and Pensions said: "The removal of the spare room subsidy is returning fairness to housing when in England alone there are nearly two million households on the social housing waiting list and over a quarter of a million tenants are living in overcrowded homes.

"As with any major reform, we are monitoring the changes to housing benefit closely - including possible arrears levels and how councils are spending the extra £150m in funding for vulnerable claimants."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23122369

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Re: The 'Bedroom Tax' - thousands protest

Post by plebgate on 01.07.13 9:11

Say no more, we all knew this tax would lead to.

Some families thrive and pay no bedroom tax whilst living in the most excluvsive "social housing" in the country but the plebs are left in virtual poverty. Nothing changes in unequal 21st century Britain.

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