To think this is a cruel policy, and not an actual 'tax'?

(313 Posts)
katykuns Fri 25-Jan-13 23:11:08

www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jan/25/spare-bedroom-tax-contradiction-impossibility?CMP=NECNETTXT766

I just think its unrealistic, and completely ignores reality that it is not just easy to drop everything and move. It is also very unfair to the disabled.

Why can they not target the damn landlords charging extortionate rents?

It is not directly affecting me, but I do claim housing benefit and I work, and life is hard. I just feel like it makes it impossible to live with a 14-25% cut of your benefit.

Its not a tax, its a benefit cut. Say it as it is hmm... just another attempt to make people struggling to get by struggle even more!

katykuns Sat 26-Jan-13 12:59:28

If the government genuinely wanted to make family-sized social housing available for families, they would build more social housing. They would set up an allocation system that worked fairly and gradually, rather than have a big bang that punishes people. They would offer assistance to those affected by the policy.

Exactly.

It is a complete attack, and its such a poorly executed one, it makes me want to cry! What is the point in enforcing such a policy, when there isn't even the properties for them to down size to? What money is this really going to save when, in the article, the benefits adviser said about how they would be hiring more staff to implement it? They are just taking money away cruelly from people that will go to salaries of new advisers!

ediblewoman I hope if you do opt for redundancy, that you can find a job that is more positively rewarding.

katykuns Sat 26-Jan-13 13:02:46

I also think its pretty inappropriate to make your stepchildren sleep on the floor/camp beds in the space where the parent is. What happens when the children get older and find the idea of sharing with their Mum/Dad uncomfortable? Or what happens when the parent has a live-in partner? Not very appropriate surely?

adviceandassistance Sat 26-Jan-13 13:19:39

My sd is eleven , there is no way she could sleep on a camp bed comfortably bor would she sleep in our room. She could not share with two younger boys so that leaves the living room which hardly seems fair that she has no personal space. This is why we will be taking the cut without considering moving

CloudsAndTrees Sat 26-Jan-13 13:43:47

My sons are 10 and 12 and would be fine on camp beds. They'd have to be. In fact they will have to be as oldest ds is getting too big to sleep on the pull out bed now, and his Dad is planning on a camp bed soon.

Like you have no option but to accept the cut without moving, we have no option but to use camp beds and pull out beds. It's either that, or they don't get to stay with their Dad. It isn't for as much as half of the week, but there have been times when they have stayed there for a week during the school term,many I don't really see the big deal. What's the worst that could happen, really?

Katykuns, it's not a perfect situation, no, but whether it's appropriate or not doesn't really matter. We don't claim benefits and still cant afford it any other way, there is no choice. So what do you suggest? Other people should have to pay more tax so that my children can have two bedrooms each because me and their Dad split up? No, they are our responsibility. Apart from maybe a little discomfort at sharing a room with a parent, it's not really that much of a hardship.

If those of us that don't claim benefits because we are only just over the cut off to be eligible, and in some cases worse off financially than those on benefits, then I don't see why everyone can't manage.

As I've already said, I very much disagree with the fact that this will affect people with disabilities, their carers, and foster carers, but the rest of us should have no problem.

meddie Sat 26-Jan-13 13:44:59

Surely this is more likely to encourage people to produce more kids to fill the rooms? I know if I was a long term benefit claimant that would be the lines I would thinking along. Just as currently some specifically space the kids every 4 years so as not to be forced back into work once they hit 5.
This will surely disproportionately effect low income working families, families where parents share custody, and those who rely on HB to subsidise their poor wages, more than it will effect long term unemployed.

adviceandassistance Sat 26-Jan-13 13:49:54

We are all those things meddie and it certainly seems so. Ss has additional needs which won't be counted he shares a bedroom but there is no way he could sleep in living room or our room there would be too many distractions he just would not settle. It just seems an awful way to go about things and ultimately could keep a lot of children from their other parent if they were not willing to take the cut and moved to smaller properties

soverylucky Sat 26-Jan-13 14:20:07

There are far too many children living in b and b accomadation waiting for a suitable home. Social housing imo should not be seen as something for life but to help you get a start in life. I know it must be upsetting for people to move from houses they love but people in the private rental sector have to face this prospect all the time. You are in need - you deserve a council house. If and when you are in a position to rent privately or buy or move to a smaller property I think you should.

I shared a room for 18 years. Up to the age of about 5 I shared a bed.

edam Sat 26-Jan-13 14:50:28

sovery, council housing was never intended to be short-term. It was created as decent housing for ordinary people - after WW2 people wanted to build a decent country where everyone had a roof over their head and reasonable accommodation. They didn't want to go back to the slums or the cruelty of the 30s.

Frequent moves, the knowledge that you can never put down roots, are bad for people and bad for communities. Disruption costs individuals and society.

We have a housing crisis in this country, caused partly by a dysfunctional housing market that is causing misery for anyone not lucky enough to have bought a house decades ago - and even for some people who did. It needs sorting out. This is not the answer, it is just making things worse.

PurityBrown Sat 26-Jan-13 15:05:52

Cwtches

"That story only tells part of the picture - nowhere does it mention that the family would be able to claim tax credits, DLA and carers allowance for the child with autism which amount to around £10,000 a year. They may loose out on the HB if they choose to stay in the large house but they are not as hard up as that story makes it"

DLA isn't automatically paid out for all disabled children, ditto carer's Allowance. It's incredibly difficult to get, and they are tightening up the criteria all the time. CA and disabled child tax credits have already been cut, and when PIP comes in this year (replacement benefit for DLA) a further 20% of claimants will lose their benefits.

Incidentally, DLA and CA are not there to top up the rent. They are to pay for the additional costs incurred with having a disability.

Lonelybunny Sat 26-Jan-13 17:21:41

It's unfair and they are targeting the wrong people . We don't get housing benefit but we are one room over because we couldn't find a 3 bed and the single man we found to swap didnt want a 4 but if we're taxed we'd be starving ! We can only just afford everything as it is . After all bills and shopping and rent we are left with £10 till next pay day. There are also not enough smaller properties to move into! Even people private renting are finding it hard to find a home as there aren't enough ! This island is sinking we can't cope with demand

Rockchick1984 Sat 26-Jan-13 19:17:58

Lonelybunny if you don't receive housing benefit you won't lose anything, it's a percentage of housing benefit.

If someone is in private rent they only receive housing benefit for the number of rooms they require, this is bringing social housing in line with that.

Plenty of people own their houses and can't afford to move to a larger house to accommodate things like stepchildren having their own room, and it is frustrating to see people getting so high and mighty about things they think they should get for free, when others get no help!

I know people (myself included) who are in social housing and get no housing benefit - I would happily do a homeswap with someone who needed to downsize due to their benefits being cut, and I would just pay the higher rent. There's far more 2 bed properties where I live than 3 bed, so overall I feel this would balance out.

The only place I see a massive issue is for people needing 1 bed properties as there's not a lot of them around, however having seen my friend stuck in a 1 bed upstairs flat with her husband and her 2 children as no one wanted to swap for a 1 bed, this also seems grossly unfair!

If someone needs overnight care or has other extenuating circumstances they can apply to their local council for a discretionary top-up on their rent. Most people will simply have to either find the extra money or move.

Callycat Sat 26-Jan-13 19:55:20

I think another issue is that affected people are expected to simply look to the private sector for a smaller home - overlooking the fact that it's all but impossible to find a private landlord who will accept benefit claimants.

Lonelybunny Sat 26-Jan-13 20:29:00

I agree to a certain extent especially those who have never worked and have all their rent paid for them when they have rooms they do not need. It's an unfair system . However it's those on poorly paid wages like us who cannot even dream of affording a deposit on a studio flat , yet may need a little help from benefits to top up their earnings will get hit hardest . I think those in social housing and on benefits need to take a mindset as those whom own and except that of they increase their family size they have to pay the consequences . We were very very lucky to get a swap and it's unfair their is not affordable housing for all however I think this tax will only make people harder up and really struggle yes we are exempt for now but what's no to say they will roll it out to full rent payers too?

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 26-Jan-13 20:45:57

That story only tells part of the picture - nowhere does it mention that the family would be able to claim tax credits, DLA and carers allowance for the child with autism which amount to around £10,000 a year. They may loose out on the HB if they choose to stay in the large house but they are not as hard up as that story makes it look.

DLA is rarely paid at higher rate for a child with ASD its more normal to get lower rate. You can only get CA if the DLA (care)gets paid at middle or higher rate not if lower rate is awarded. CA s also not payable if you earn over £100 pound a week and tax credits include it as income and deduct it from your TC award it can also not be paid if you are in receipt of many other benefits.

CloudsAndTrees Sat 26-Jan-13 20:50:26

It won't be rolled out to full rent payers because its not a tax. It has been called that by the media, but that's not what it is. It's a reduction in housing benefit so that only what is needed to house the people claiming is paid, and extra that is not needed will not be paid.

expatinscotland Sat 26-Jan-13 20:51:27

It's cruel because it won't work. OAPs are exempt, and they're not dying fast enough to make the homes available.

Those who are elsewise under-occupying will need to stump up because a) best of luck finding a private landlord who will take HB and kids b) with the LHA caps, it's still cheaper to suck up the rent than move to private let c) no one wants to give up an assured tenancy for the BS 6 months crap ou get in private lets.

But the problems with private letting won't be addressed.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 26-Jan-13 22:16:28

meddie

How come people are spreading kids out every 4 years? It was only a couple of years ago that they changed the benefit switch over rules from age 11 to age 7 it only became 5 very recently

So did these people you know popping out a kid every 4 years to stop the benefit switch over have crystal balls, seen as they haven't had enough years since the age change to pop out one every 4 years?

KoalaTale Sat 26-Jan-13 22:25:17

Yabu. Social housing should be allocated properly to those who need it most. It's very unfair to take a house with more bedrooms than you need when there are families needing it more. Why should the government build more houses just so you can have an extra bedroom?

I don't have a spare bedroom in private housing, in fact it's very cramped. But I understand that there's a recession and if I want a bigger house I'll have to earn more money to pay for it, it isn't up to the government to sort out spare rooms for me!

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 27-Jan-13 00:19:55

Koala the houses are allocated with family size considered. You don't just get to say "oh I fancy a xyz room one" if you are not entitled to that amount of rooms.

However lots of people are in 3 beds where 2 are needed due to a lack of smaller houses or a medical need for an additional room. The reasons for allocating these houses are now being disregarded by the same org that allocated them in the first place.

I think cloudsandtrees makes an excellent point about how those not in receipt of housing benefit just have to manage.

Also, although this is clearly going to be unfair to many people, it will hopefully relieve some overcrowding- and what is worse, a family of 5 stuck in a one bed with no privacy for anyone, or a child with separated parents only having their own bedroom in one home? Harsh for the second child, I agree, but overall fairer.

Please please tell foster carers that they can apply for an alteration as this does not seem to be well known.

Originally we would of been allocated to atwo bedroom but were told that the waiting list here is up to 4 and 7 years for 2 bed as there is a shortage and due to stepchildren staying shared access offered a three so I suppose my questions would be that if there is no 2 bedroom properties then there is no option to downsize so its effectively just a benefit cut so why not just call it that . If we could private rent I would but the initial moving in costs would be too high

littlemisssarcastic Sun 27-Jan-13 09:38:20

My friend is in a 2 bed flat. She is currently unemployed. She has got to find another £16 a week out of her £71 a week JSA to cover this reduction in benefit. This leaves her with £55 a week to live on, travel to interviews and find work, pay all her bills.
There are not enough 1 bed properties for the people who are now going to need them.
Even if one were to be found, she, like many many others can't afford to move.
She told me she doesn't even have anything left to sell to raise the funds to move or cover the reduction in benefit.

To the poster who said the elderly will die in a few years, and therefore free up their property for a family, it's more than a few years inany cases. My mother is a pensioner on double the amount of income my friend is on, and my mother is 61. She could be expected to live for at least another 20 years.
A pensioner couple living a few doors away from me live in a large 4 bedrooms house. They have been asked to swap numerous times and have declined. They have been pensioners for the last 20 years and are still going strong.
For the posters who believe that pensioners will vacate properties that are too large in a few years time, I have to disagree, 20+ years is more than a few years to me. It is a whole new generation of people in time terms.

I will stop having a problem with this issue when we are truly all in it together, the MP's, pensioners, and the poor.
As it stands, this affects the poor and the disabled. It's a fucking disgrace!!

expatinscotland Sun 27-Jan-13 09:46:52

So because private renting is such shite - expensive, insecure - the solution is to punish the poor in social housing rather than put pressure on the government to make things fairer for all tenants?

CloudsAndTrees Sun 27-Jan-13 09:53:41

Why just tenants? Why not make it fair for everyone, including homeowners who have to manage with what they have when they have more children than they can afford or have the space for?

expatinscotland Sun 27-Jan-13 09:56:55

Well, OutragedatpriceofFreddos the Bank of England is already doing its best by homeowners by keeping the interest rates so low. Perhaps they can force banks to relax their lending restrictions, which is a major reason why some homeowners cannot move on, but this might not be possible since many have been bailed out by us for creating a lot of this mess in the first place.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now