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Bedroom tax: a hardline ideological punitive bludgeon just like the poll tax

Oppose the Bedroom taxWhat exactly is the point of the bedroom tax? Its ostensible purpose is to free up accommodation from those who don’t need it to those who do. Just about everything is wrong with that argument. If that were really the rationale, the obvious way to solve the problem would be to build more social housing when the total build last year including all tenures was just 98,000 houses, the lowest level since 1923 and less than half the average annual house build over the last 40 years.

And if that were the real motive, why confine it to social housing and exclude private tenancies, let alone owner-occupied housing where surplus rooms (to use the government’s phrase) are far more prevalent? So is it to save money? If so, the bedroom tax is particularly ill-suited because if tenants are forced to move, there is nowhere near enough one-bed social housing available to accommodate them and they will be forced into private tenancies at market rents which will cost the State more in local housing allowance than the saving in housing benefit.
Even on the government’s estimate the bedroom tax will only save less than £0.5bn. Put that against the write-off of £10bn of taxpayers’ money from the government’s recently reported massive IT failure in health care. Put that against the £35bn lost each year through tax avoidance over which the government has only shed crocodile tears and made no serious effort to reverse. Put that against the £50bn being laid out for HS2 which despite PR puffs about improving ‘city connectivities’ will only reduce journey times by little more than 30 minutes. Put that against the £50bn being essayed for Boris Island to replace Heathrow or even the more modest £20-30bn being eyed up for increasing yet further the urban monstrosity of Heathrow? Or even put it against the low billions that Cameron was eager to spend on bombing Syria and likely starting another Middle East inferno.

So the bedroom tax won’t actually save money, but even if it did, it would pall beside the colossal mountains of money that the government can instantly lay their hands on for breathtakingly risky or unnecessary ventures whenever they want. No, the bedroom tax is a gratuitously nasty little impediment thrown into the path of some of the most helpless members of society, including two-thirds who report a disability, of whom even after just 3 months half have been forced into rent arrears, and a quarter of these had never before in their lives been in rent arrears. In London owner-occupiers and private landlords are having a ball from rising house prices, while in the rest of country the under-class are being deprived even of the little that they possessed. The bedroom tax is the monument to the Coalition’s values and mentality.


  1. Syzygy says:

    When something like the Bedroom tax does not make much sense, we need to ask who benefits:

    ‘The dire impacts of the ‘Bedroom tax’ on individuals are heartbreaking but the real targets are the social housing associations whose viability are threatened by the likely large scale rent arrears… and their subsequent difficulties in arranging finance:

    ‘The social housing sector is an intricate machine; significant manipulation of policy and funding levers without fully understanding the potential impacts, is likely to cause major disruption to the way the sector works, both in terms of its ability to support its tenants and its ability to attract investment for development of new affordable housing.‘ (1)

    Why would the Tories want to cripple housing associations and clear the inner city? …Just think of the rents that private landlords will be able to charge for newly acquired ex-social housing in Kensington and Chelsea… and the prime locations that will become available for purchase.

    But perhaps more importantly, it moves away potential ‘trouble’, creating much more easily defended areas for the wealthy (just like the heavily defended citadel in Soylent Green)(2). By relocating individuals and families to cheaper areas, the assault on social housing also provides the means to break up natural communities of mutual support. Public protests and rioting are invariably urban phenomena, as we saw in the London riots.

    Boris may have said that there would be ‘”no Kosovo-style social cleansing” of the city’s low income households on his watch, but he has diverted 80% (£93.3 million) from affordable housing programmes to the Mayor’s Housing Covenant, which aims to help middle income earners into homeownership.

    In war, the first casualty is truth … and as Warren Buffett said:

    “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

  2. As I stated before its introduction the Bedroom Tax is nothing other than a full frontal assault on those who have nothing.

  3. Rob the cripple says:

    But of course labour only built 3000 council houses yet allowed into this country millions knowing it would cause the housing bubble which it did.

    The question is why? mortgages may well be the answer.

    My Labour party council offered us everything lower rents, new kitchen, new bathroom new homes new what ever you wanted , but let the Labour council sell off the council housing stock we refused they got angry we had to use solicitors to stop them doing it. yet today my council only has 1/3 of it’s stock left after offering people reduced prices one council house was sold for £5,000 .

    Prescott was totally interested refusing to answer a single letter or email.

    Now we have this bedroom tax and a Labour government which is basically not sure it would back it and maybe even worse keep it.

    says it all really a labour party so far past it’s best days.

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