Can anyone link to a rational explanation of bedroom tax from the right?

(63 Posts)
specialmagiclady Wed 03-Apr-13 12:05:59

I mean, something with numbers and, you know, evidence? I have seen lots of reasoned argument against it and so far, so unbelievably livid and enraged.

In the interests of balance, I'd like to see some (I repeat) reasoned and evidence-based comment from someone intelligent who thinks it's a good idea.

Thank you

dreamingofsun Wed 03-Apr-13 19:41:49

frees up larger houses, which are obviously scarce, for crowded families to use.

My MIL always goes on about the welfare state being based on need. People don't need multiple spare bedrooms, so why should they get funded by the working public.

public finances are in dire straight due to prolific spending by labour (amongst other things). some pruning at this stage will hopefully mean we don't get into the same state as countries such as greece where you can't even get healthcare/pensions etc

ttosca Wed 03-Apr-13 21:10:11

dreaming

> frees up larger houses, which are obviously scarce, for crowded families to use.

Houses are scarce, however, the solution is to build more houses, not to try to (effectively) kick people out of their homes.

You should know that there isn't enough social housing with single rooms for all the people in social housing with double rooms. Assuming this 'tax' manages to kick people out of their homes, it will either make them homeless, or otherwise drive them into private rented accommodation. Private rented accommodation is more expensive to rent, so the housing bill will actually go up in these cases.

Furthermore, many of the 'spare rooms' are not spare rooms at all. They are being used by professional an family carers. That is why 2/3rds of the people who will be hit with this 'tax' are disabled people.

> My MIL always goes on about the welfare state being based on need. People don't need multiple spare bedrooms, so why should they get funded by the working public.

They don't get multiple spare bedrooms. These bedrooms are not 'spare' and in any case there are not enough single bedroom homes.

> public finances are in dire straight due to prolific spending by labour (amongst other things).

No, they're really not in dire straights due to prolific spending by labour. The deficit was at 3% before the financial crisis.

> some pruning at this stage will hopefully mean we don't get into the same state as countries such as greece where you can't even get healthcare/pensions etc

The 'Queen' just received a £5 million 'payrise', and MPs just spend £275,000 on Wine and Champagne. Unpaid tax (evasion and avoidance) costs the UK in the tens of billions per year.

Don't you think it would be better to address these issues before making disabled people homeless with a nasty, ineffectual tax?

niceguy2 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:21:05

I'd have thought you of all people Ttosca would fully understand that this is not a tax at all. To describe it as a bedroom tax is wholly inaccurate, misleading and something I'd expect from the Daily Mail rather than your good self.

A more accurate description is 'the removal of the spare room subsidy' but that I grant you does not roll of the tongue as easy. It also sounds much less unfair doesn't it?

So the left have repackaged it as a 'tax' and I admit have done a very good job of marketing a blatant untruth.

nocake Wed 03-Apr-13 21:28:54

It's a policy that as a concept makes sense. If the state is paying for your housing it should only pay for the number of bedrooms your family need. Simple and straightforward...

Unfortunately there are huge problems woth how it is being implemented, as many people have pointed out. There isn't an unlimited supply of housing so people can't move to smaller houses because there aren't enough of them. Parents with non-resident kids will end up with nowhere for their kids to stay when they visit, which will damage their relationships and further alienate families. Families with disabled kids sometimes need an extra bedroom... I could go on.

ivehadaverybadday Wed 03-Apr-13 21:32:13

OP I was going to post a very similar question. What I want to know is, can anyone link to any articles in which the Govt has explained how they can charge people extra for houses that are deemed too large for them when there are no smaller houses for them to move into?????

It sounds like a great plan, have everyone in social housing that fits their needs. But in reality IT DOES NOT WORK because we have practically no social housing that people can downsize to. So I really really want to see something in which Cameron. Clegg, Osbourne, IDS has managed to explain where all these people are supposed to move to??????????

It makes me so FUCKING angry, and it doesn't personally affect me at all.

ivehadaverybadday Wed 03-Apr-13 21:34:45

Also I know someone who is in the process of downsizing, it was agreed with her HA ages ago, a house was identified and allocated to her (currently empty) and she was supposed to move 2 months ago. They have stalled and stalled, and as from now she is paying the bedroom tax. I totally and utterly despair.

ttosca Wed 03-Apr-13 22:02:47

'nice'guy-

> I'd have thought you of all people Ttosca would fully understand that this is not a tax at all. To describe it as a bedroom tax is wholly inaccurate, misleading and something I'd expect from the Daily Mail rather than your good self.

I put 'tax' in quotes, as it is only a 'tax' in the sense of being a penalty.

> A more accurate description is 'the removal of the spare room subsidy' but that I grant you does not roll of the tongue as easy. It also sounds much less unfair doesn't it?

No, that wouldn't be accurate either, as it's not a spare room subsidy. Firstly, the 'extra' room in many cases is not 'extra' at all, as it is being used by carers.

Secondly, calling it an 'extra' room implies a choice, where often there is none - as there is not enough social housing which has single rooms or a smaller number of rooms to fit smaller families.

Thirdly, it's just disingenuous to call it a 'subsidy'. If there were enough houses, these rooms wouldn't be an issue at all. We should assume - as everyone but the nasty coalition govt. seems to do - that families will more or less move in to houses which are of suitable size.

So no, it's not a 'subsidy' either.

niceguy2 Wed 03-Apr-13 22:48:43

So you do agree then that it's not really a tax correct?

Fairness is a relative concept. I'm sure it feels incredibly unfair to those who are affected. And understandably so. For the taxpayer who isn't in receipt of housing benefit and have to squeeze into whatever house they can afford. Or for those families in a small house because someone else is sat in a bigger house with a spare room, they are likely to feel the change is fair.

Any withdrawal of any benefit will always affect someone negatively. And there will always be someone who then complain's that it isn't fair.

But as mentioned before, unless you want to deny the obvious fact that we DO need to make cuts then someone must be affected. The age of magic wand politics is over. We are now in an era where we have to accept that even the government has limited powers.

moondog Wed 03-Apr-13 22:53:40

' Parents with non-resident kids will end up with nowhere for their kids to stay when they visit, which will damage their relationships and further alienate families.'

I know plenty of families in all sorts of situations who don't have room to put up people who don't live with them on a day to day basis. They either bunk up on the sofa or in a sleeping bag or stay somewhere else.

Are you suggesting these relationships are so fragile that the government must pay for extra space in order to maintain them?
I really have heard it all now.

Gillg57 Wed 03-Apr-13 23:02:52

Everyone in social housing is not a benefit claimant. The majority work, do not claim benefits of any description and they too are taxpayers. Social housing is not subsidised. Social landlords are simply required to charge a fair market rent, with the emphasis on fair. It was always intended to house a mixture of people. If you eliminate the aspirational then there is no-one left to aspire to be and the immediate community and the wider community will suffer. It strikes me that the biggest gainers are private landlords charging unfair and unjustifiable rents off the back of housing benefit payments that their tenants (the majority of whom are actually employed) have to claim in order to have a roof over their heads.

Gillg57 Wed 03-Apr-13 23:05:44

'...we DO need to make cuts then someone must be affected...'

A somewhat illogical statement in the context of the bedroom 'tax'. It is not a cut ie a reduction in payment. It is putting in place an additional income stream.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 04-Apr-13 08:02:58

This is a link to the DWP site on the subject of Housing Benefit and spare rooms. There is also a section on Under-occupation of Social Housing that you might find interesting. Unlike public housing, when claiming Housing Benefit for privately rented property, the number of rooms and the number of occupants is taken into account. So it seems only fair to apply the same size criteria to public housing.

niceguy2 Thu 04-Apr-13 09:54:23

Sorry, i don't understand. What additional income steam?

ttosca Thu 04-Apr-13 21:08:00

Disabled victims of bedroom tax granted urgent judicial review

Disabled people who are set to be hit by the government’s controversial “bedroom tax” have won the right to an urgent judicial review of the new rules.

disabilitynewsservice.com/2013/03/disabled-victims-of-bedroom-tax-granted-urgent-judicial-review/

specialmagiclady Fri 05-Apr-13 08:23:12

Thanks, feel more balanced now. Still think it's foolish if the smaller housing stock isn't out there. People will be pushed out to private landlords, benefit costs will go up. Savings may not materialise. If the net result, though, is that the social housing is better distributed that could be ok. I guess... (Not entirely convinced)

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 05-Apr-13 17:42:25

Initial estimates are that the majority won't move to smaller properties but stay put and take the reduced HB. However I think there will be big pressure on Housing Associations and councils to make a much better job of persuading tenants to downsize where appropriate, and to build suitable properties in general. Smaller accommodation for older people has to be a priority, for example, just because of the way the demographic is going i.e. we're all living longer and more of us are living solo...

undercoverSAHM Fri 05-Apr-13 17:47:24

<Firstly, the 'extra' room in many cases is not 'extra' at all, as it is being used by carers.>

I thought you didn't lose the subsidy if a carer needs the room?

The BBC website says:

"Disabled tenants will be allowed a bedroom for full-time live-in or overnight carers. If a full-time carer is a husband, wife or partner, then they will be expected to share a room. However, they can apply for a discretionary housing payment from their local authority if the disability means the partner needs to sleep in another room."

<But in reality IT DOES NOT WORK because we have practically no social housing that people can downsize to>

I thought there were 85,000 1 bedroom properties available? Once those have gone, then people can legitimately complain that there is nowhere smaller to move to.....

AmberLeaf Fri 05-Apr-13 17:52:00

Or for those families in a small house because someone else is sat in a bigger house with a spare room, they are likely to feel the change is fair

Its not really like that though.

The majority of tenants [social] 'sat in' bigger houses with spare rooms getting housing benefit, are pensioners and they are excluded from the bedroom 'tax' ruling. so those under occupied bigger houses will continue to be under occupied.

It won't make any difference to people who are over crowded now and as ttosca says, those being hit by this need the 'extra' room.

AmberLeaf Fri 05-Apr-13 17:54:36

If a full-time carer is a husband, wife or partner, then they will be expected to share a room. However, they can apply for a discretionary housing payment from their local authority if the disability means the partner needs to sleep in another room

Discretionary

Thing is thought that generally speaking people are allocated social housing based on need - so, you won't usually be allowed to rent a HA/council property that is significantly bigger than you need.

The two main exceptions to this (I know there will be other specific circumstances but these are IME that main exceptions)....

A) people who have been allocated bigger properties because there are insufficient smaller ones available locally. For example single people given 2 bed properties because the property is, despite being family sized is not family suitable (ie high rise flats) Or families allocated a 3 bed property when they have two children under 10 who could share a room.

B) people whose housing needs have changed significantly since they were allocated their property - this is mainly older people whose children have left home but continue to occupy the 3/4 bed house they have lived in for years

Group B are not affected anyway - the 'bedroom tax' doesn't apply to pensioners who make up most of that group.

Group A, well, fuck 'em [shrug] They can move into more expensive private rented accomodation or cough up. Its a choice, see, and we all have to face hard choices in these times unless we are millionaires eh angry

dotnet Fri 05-Apr-13 18:22:30

The thing which hurts is knowing that people have the feeling they are being forced out of their homes. They may have lived there for donkeys' years, they've got their friends and neighbours nearby, they've put down roots - it's just not right. You don't treat people like that.
BUT there would be nothing unethical, I think, in offering decent pay-offs to get people to volunteer to move out of too-large flats and houses... That's what private landlords in London used to do, if they wanted to sell on, without the nuisance of tenants in situ. And local authorities did the same thing if they wanted to redevelop an area.
Why not offer a reduction in rent and first claim on one of the revamped accommodation units in their old home to people coming forward whose house or large flat could be converted into two properties?
But just saying 'your flat's too big so we're going to relieve you of some of your housing benefit you plutocrat....well, that just plain stinks.

niceguy2 Fri 05-Apr-13 20:53:14

If a full-time carer is a husband, wife or partner, then they will be expected to share a room. However, they can apply for a discretionary housing payment from their local authority if the disability means the partner needs to sleep in another room

That seems fairly sensible to me. I don't see why a carer who is also the spouse should automatically be entitled to a spare room. Surely common sense dictates that the assumption should be that a couple sleep in the same bedroom unless there is a good medical reason why not. And therefore a discretionary award sounds reasonable.

Labour took the magic money tree away when they left and now we have to choose how best to spend what little money we have. So expecting husbands and wives to share as the default seems reasonable.

ttosca Fri 05-Apr-13 23:27:58

niceguy-

> Labour took the magic money tree away when they left and now we have to choose how best to spend what little money we have. So expecting husbands and wives to share as the default seems reasonable.

There was never any 'magic money tree'. The deficit was caused by the financial crisis - which is global in nature. It wasn't caused by spending too much on schools and hospitals.

Have you learned the difference between the debt and deficit, yet?

After a double-dip and potentially triple-dip recession, have you come to realise understand that counter Keynesian bloodletting during a recession usually increases, not decreases the deficit, due to decreased tax revenue and rising unemployment costs?

I'll accept your apology.

ttosca Sat 06-Apr-13 00:00:24

Here, try and memorize this:

Mythbusters: "Britain is broke - we can't afford to invest"

nef and the Tax Justice Network have paired up top economists and journalists to write a series of guides exploring the truth behind common economic myths. This first mythbuster, prepared by Howard Reed and Tom Clark, addresses the question: is Britain really ‘broke’?

www.neweconomics.org/mythbusters

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