To think if you're a fan of the bedroom tax

(276 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread. Read here.

NicholasTeakozy Tue 27-Aug-13 22:05:38

That means you are at best a spunktrumpet and at worst a cunt. Watch this short video and see what it's doing. angry sad

HopALongOn Wed 28-Aug-13 12:34:47

The concept of trying to make sure that social housing is fairly distributed by making sure that everyone has the space they need, in an appropriate property, is sound. This policy is not that. If that was the basis for the policy, they wouldn't have given exemptions to the thousands of older people in larger properties. If they actually wanted to make things fairer they would do something about the disastrous private rent situation. If this is the best solution that the government could come up with to sort out the problem of oversubscribed social housing, it doesn't fill me with confidence that they can do anything else properly at all. All they are doing is pandering to a section of the population who have had to 'tighten their belts' due to the economy, but are still very far away from understanding that £14 a week could be the difference between being poor but fed and sheltered, and having the bailiffs knocking at your door. People think that they understand what being really poor is like because they are struggling or unable to afford their previous lifestyle. They do not have a clue.

Hawkmoon269 Wed 28-Aug-13 12:36:47

Sorry, but who are the people in this clip? It doesn't explain why they're being evicted or what their circumstances are. They do seem to think they "know their rights" though...

Crowler Wed 28-Aug-13 12:38:31

There seems little point in saying that benefit receivers should be moved out of their 3 bedroom social housing because high earners can only afford 1 or 2 bedrooms of expensive private housing: that is irrelevant. The benefit receivers couldn't move into those 1 bedroom flats anyway, because they can't afford them. They can only move into smaller housing if affordable smaller housing is available. And in many parts of the country, developers only build smaller flats/houses for the upper end of the market.

I already said upstream that it's a flawed premise from the outset if there's no smaller properties available (not suggesting that you need to read all my posts, just rather pointing out that I agree on this point).

However, it is relevant because in many cases the affordable social housing stock that you speak of is subsidized in the first place by those same taxpayers - but I will agree this is less relevant outside of the southeast.

Not every person who lives in an expensive flat has swanned in by way of inheritance.

Hawkmoon269 Wed 28-Aug-13 12:38:32

Also, it's pretty distasteful using the alleged example of someone who has hung himself (if that's even true) as an effect of the bedroom "tax".

DizzyZebra Wed 28-Aug-13 12:51:27

The other thing that annoys me is this belief that everyone in a larger property asked for it - Where i live it was quite common for single people to be put in 3 bed flats. Because there are more of them. Now they're stuck because the housing association won't put them in a 2 or 3 bed place due to the bedroom tax, But there are no smaller properties.

Personally i think the whole concept of going by number of bedrooms alone is flawed anyway.

BrokenSunglasses Wed 28-Aug-13 12:52:29

broken I did not say 70% of people currently in social housing, I said 70% of homelessness is caused in some way by DV.

I did recognise this but the thread is about people who are claiming housing benefit, not homeless people, so I think bringing statistics about domestic abuse into it is just feeding into the the socialist, doom and gloom disaster type propaganda.

There are many many people who are no longer getting their spare bedroom subsidy that have chosen to incorporate the extra expense into their budget rather than go on a waiting list for a smaller property or searching home swap sites. This whole debate seems to have missed that point, when rent and mortgages and the cost of living has gone up for many people.

BrokenSunglasses Wed 28-Aug-13 12:55:38

All they are doing is pandering to a section of the population who have had to 'tighten their belts' due to the economy

Policies that make things fairer to the population as a whole is hardly 'pandering' to one section of the population! And this section of the population you are talking about, those people who are also struggling in life, do they not deserve to be taken into account by their government too?

Or should government policy only ever be directed at helping a small, especially poor, section of society?

DizzyZebra Wed 28-Aug-13 13:06:46

BrokenSunglasses

But the policy isn't helping anyone anywhere. It is pandering to a certain mindset - It isn't saving 'taxpayers money' it's pissing more of it up the wall. It isn't freeing up housing because the largest group of under occupiers are exempt.

If anything it will just result in a rise in rent for smaller places, because they will be more in demand, putting single professionals at a financial disadvantage.

BrokenSunglasses Wed 28-Aug-13 13:14:23

If you look at it long term, it will free up housing because people with family sized homes will move out of them when their grown up children leave home, but before they are old enough for a move to be a massive and distressing upheaval.

I appreciate that the policy will cost money in paying higher rents on private, smaller properties, but then that is balanced by all the people that are choosing to stay put and make up the shortfall in their HB themselves.

It may not actively help anyone, but it does make things fairer overall for the population as a whole, and I think that in itself is very worthwhile.

noobieteacher Wed 28-Aug-13 13:15:06

Interestingly Oldham is a labour majority council - many councils have waived the bedroom tax because it is not feasible (there are not enough smaller properties for people to move in anyway).

Suicide is a very common occurrence in times of recession and depression. My grandfather killed himself when he found he couldn't support his family in the 1930s - you'd think in 2013 the policy makers would be a bit more cautious.

noobieteacher Wed 28-Aug-13 13:32:03

I think this year the recession will start to really bite. People have had bits of cash floating around to keep going on, a bit of credit, friends etc. Now we can't ask anyone for anything any more, we have finally lost our credit rating due to redundancy or non-payment, and our savings have been used up.

No more blank cheques being sent through the post with an invitation to spend on a new credit card!

But this year it's really going to bite. Government contracts have run out with nothing to replace them, the little bit of charity that was swilling around for people when times are hard has dried up as there are too many people requiring access to it.

Why on earth Oldham council wants to add to the misery because a family won't or can't pay an extra £15 a week is beyond me.

DizzyZebra Wed 28-Aug-13 13:32:37

I'm not sure it does make things fairer though. It's too one size fits all.
In my area like i said, we now have 3 bed flats that no one will move single people or couples in to because of the bedroom tax - But only ground floor ones will go to families, because they don't allow families with children under 12 to live in 1st floor + flats.

Obviously people with children over 12 can move in to them, but then once they've left home the parents will have to move, eventually there will just be a load of empty flats because there won't be anyone eligible to move into. I've lived in emergency housing etc and most people in them have younger children, i've never known anyone in one with older children - These people will get 2/3 bed houses.

Surely you'd rather see someone in need get it, even if it might be bigger than they strictly need, than it sit empty and rotting? What is the point in that?

My mum lives in a housing association property too - She was quite happy in her 2 bed flat. It was perfect with her mobility issues, being ground floor. She asked for help with the homophobic, violent neighbour who kept attacking her and her partner and poisoning my dog when we were there, and their only solution was to move HER. I don't think that's very fair that she will end up paying because of a violent criminal and the authorities refusal to boot him out.

Not only that but like i said, Judging by number of bedrooms alone is silly to me. My first house was 2 bed and it was bigger than most 3 bed, every room was massive, i had a massive, secure back garden. Someone with three children could comfortably live in that house, i'd even say 4 in fact, if they were all the same sex or young enough to share and not be overcrowded, yet i've been in 3 bed houses that i would feel cramped in with two children.

DizzyZebra Wed 28-Aug-13 13:33:16

MY first house was housing association btw - Not some big fancy pad. It was just very large and well laid out.

Viviennemary Wed 28-Aug-13 13:38:56

It's a benefit reduction. A reduction in subsidy. In no way a tax. The way social housing is allocated is a joke. The whole thing needs to be reformed.

DizzyZebra Wed 28-Aug-13 13:41:25

I'm not against people being allocated according to need BTW. I just don't think this policy adresses that, and i don't think any policy will without the whole system being changed first, and certainly not with a blanket policy.

BrokenSunglasses Wed 28-Aug-13 13:46:20

But only ground floor ones will go to families, because they don't allow families with children under 12 to live in 1st floor + flats.

I agree that this sounds ridiculous, but I think the problem there is with the policy of not moving children into flats, not the policy of removing the spare room subsidy in HB.

I lived in a tower block for a couple of years of my childhood, and many of my cousins lived in then for their entire childhoods. It was fine, and I have lovely memories of those homes.

OhDearNigel Wed 28-Aug-13 13:49:50

Yes, because those in social housing can really afford the astronomical private rents, deposits and can easily get references, can't they?

Not forgetting the caveat of "no DSS or pets" that most private landlords put on their tenancies.

DizzyZebra Wed 28-Aug-13 14:43:54

Brokensunglasses - I don't know the reason for the rule about no children in upper floor flats so i don't know why they dont just stop it. I've seen upper floor flats i'd happily live in with children.

I think renting over all needs look at TBH. If we want more people privately renting then landlords need to be stopped from charging astronmical fees and rent, They need to be forced to ensure their property is up to standard, and this stigma with HB claimants needs to go (Although i understand thats not always the landlords decision).

If we want more social housing then the right to buy needs to go and tenancies need to change so that needs may be reassessed at intervals to prevent the large number of OAPs we have on their own in 3 and 4 bed properties now.

Common sense needs to be applied though too - There is absolutely no point in penalising people for living in a house when there is no other options available. If there are no one bedroomed places, why are people in two bed places being penalised? They physically cannot do anything about that. They cannot pull a one bed bungalow/flat from their backside.

I also think that if someone is on a waiting list for a smaller place and actively looking for a smaller place, they should be exempt for that period, Or the amount paid in that period should be refunded should they find a privately rented place so that they can afford the bond/first months rent in advance.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 28-Aug-13 14:54:54

Could everyone please remember our Talk Guidelines? Fine to attack another poster's post - NOT fine to attack another poster. Thanks.

BrokenSunglasses Wed 28-Aug-13 15:11:18

In many ways I agree with you, but I don't think it's as easy as just saying that landlords should just have to stop charging as much as they do.

They make charges in line with the property's value and often what their mortgage payments are, therefore the rents reflect market value which is fair. I know some landlords are unscrupulous bastards, but many are not. They are just doing something to provide for their own future, which involves a lot of work and a big risk that they will have nothing to show for it.

Yes, landlords need to keep their property's up to standard, but to do that they need to charge enough rent to pay for it, and it doesn't come cheap.

HB claimants need to look to other HB claimants if they want someone to blame for the stigma they face. Insurance companies, mortgage companies and landlords don't say 'no DSS' for no reason. They say it because they are significantly more likely to lose money because of them than they are because of people who pay their own rent. There is much more that government and councils could do to tackle that problem without making the risk and the cost belong to the landlord.

I also think that if someone is on a waiting list for a smaller place and actively looking for a smaller place, they should be exempt for that period,

I agree with this, but I think to qualify for exemption you should be willing to move into the next available property within a 10 mile radius, otherwise you will end up with people refusing to move because they don't like the alternative they are being offered at the same time as expecting the exemption.

MiaowTheCat Wed 28-Aug-13 15:45:21

I have no issue with the principle behind it, the implementation has been shit. I don't think we should be subsidising under occupancy but there isn't the housing stock out there (even privately round here there are few 1 beds even for the nice juicy 'professional' market, let alone benefit claimants... and no way when you want to stay in the social housing sector) to do it properly.
As for complaining to councillors, both of my parents are councillors in a large city, and both have been strongly and loudly opposed to it, so hardly doing nowt.

BoffinMum Wed 28-Aug-13 15:54:19

The problem is not about people, it's about housing supply and circulation.

I'd ditch the bedroom tax and simply convert all social housing leases to shorter periods, say 5 years, with reviews of housing needs carried out regularly on that basis. Then I would get on with building a lot more family flats, very rapidly, along with the necessary schools, surgeries, transport infrastructure and so on where needed. Because that means we'd all get a more stable society whilst ensuring that we came out of the post 2006 economic crisis in fighting form. And by the time I peg it, we would have accommodated the additional 10 million people who will have appeared in the UK during my time on the planet, instead of pretending they are somehow less worthy of a home for reasons of luck rather than judgement in many cases.

Problem is those policies are far too practical and do not allow enough opportunity for vilifying the less fortunate. How on earth can people have a good rant about that?

Misspixietrix Wed 28-Aug-13 15:58:36

Thats a good Idea actually BoffinMum

BrokenSunglasses Wed 28-Aug-13 16:10:53

It's a nice idea in theory Boffin, but I can't say I relish the idea of either my tax bill or the national debt doubling to pay for it.

Crowler Wed 28-Aug-13 16:23:15

What does DSS stand for?

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