The Bedroom Tax is neither a tax nor even a charge.

Posted 5 Mar 2013 by Walaa Idris

For weeks and weeks now, we have been told by lefties, come April, this ‘appalling heartless’ government will tax poor hard working families on their extra bedrooms! While at the same time gives tax breaks to millionaires!

Now, how does that make any sense is beyond me. Hearing it, who in their right mind will not be shocked and horrified? And that’s just it – it’s all about the shock factor, the feeling of terror and disgust for this government those words conjure up. When debate, common sense and reasoning fails the left, they always resort to shocking (their weapon of choice). It has been used over the years by Russia, China, and Cuba and is still used by North Korea and many lefty dictatorships and democracies everywhere. And now here, in Britain, under the umbrella of free speech and a ‘One Nation Labour’ shocking people is used by Miliband’s party to scare the British public into chaos and trusting them.

When in reality, the issue is very simple. Housing Benefit for social housing tenants, in the past, was paid in full for the whole property regardless of its size or occupancy. All the new reforms did is streamlining it, by paying benefits according to the entitled occupancy. For example, tenants who qualify for one bedroom only are paid for one bedroom only, if they live in a two bedroom property then they are over occupying and need to either move or subsidise the extra rent themselves. Currently over occupying private tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit, do just that, they either pay the difference out of their own pockets or downsize to an affordable accommodation and the allowed number of bedrooms. From this April social housing tenants will operate under the same guidelines and get the same treatment. They will either have to pay the difference themselves for any extra unoccupied bedrooms or downsize like the rest of the working public. The thinking behind the reforms is fairness. Equal treatment afforded to all members of the society who depend on the state to pay or subsidise their living, while at the same time reducing public spending. It’s as simple as that.

I will understand it if they (Labour) were concerned by the inconvenience caused to families for having to move, such as the availability or lack of social housing in some areas, or by the disruption and pressure caused by house hunting and moving. But to only focus their fight on the benefit, call it a ‘Bedroom Tax’ when it is not even a charge to frighten and distress an already stressed segment of the society is cruel and crass. And it says more about Labour and their desperate underhandedness than it will ever say about this government and its attempts to sort out the mess they inherited from Labour.

The politics of scaremongering is ugly and unkind; it might have worked in the past before information became readily available at every fingertip but it won’t work now. Labour needs to rethink how to reach people’s hearts and minds and remember the saying goes “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar” in their case, than you do with the bogeyman.

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10 comment(s)

Claire Warby

Claire Warby
5 Mar, 20:24

This is the most inane post I have seen so far regarding the bedroom tax. You are so out of touch, just like this government. You do realise, do you not, that the majority of people being penalised are the disabled. An already vulnerable group that are now being pushed in to extreme poverty. Any “spare” bedroom they have is not spare at all. It may be used for an occasional overnight carer, the disabled person may need their own room depending on the actual disability i.e medical equipment, unable to share a bed with their partner etc. Their homes have usually been specially adapted too. Also foster families are affected. Even if they currently have foster children in their care the room is still classed as spare. You have no idea. None at all. I suggest you read some of the stories readily available online which tell the truth about this tax. Oh, and please verify where all these one bedroomed properties are.

Jon Leighton

Jon Leighton
5 Mar, 22:19

I think the mistake you make is assuming the groundswell emanates from the Labour Party. My workers relay stories every day about about how the under occupancy charge will affect our clients.

The ‘bedroom tax’ opponents are being heard because of the sheer number of people speaking up about it, not because a political party has decided to campaign about it.

I would urge you to go and speak to those affected because I defy anyone to do so and write a primary colours analysis such as this.


6 Mar, 00:04

Claire, I am very in-touch with what’s around me and a spare bedroom is a bedroom that is empty and has no use. However, I am sure a room designated for overnight stay does not classify as unused. I could be wrong, but many overarching aspects of the overall reforms are still under review.

Jon, I spoke with many, there is a lot of fear emanating from the scaremongering coming predominantly from Labour activist and politicians purely for political capital. Once they (those I spoke with) understand – they hate the inconnivance of it but understand and accept the reasons.

Thank you both for taking the time to comment.

Jon Leighton

Jon Leighton
6 Mar, 00:31

Each Monday morning I review the previous weeks incident reports from the Support services I run in Nottingham. Whether it’s a person with severe learning difficulties being fleeced by a payday loan company or a family about to lose their home as a result of being laid off from a zero hours contract job, nothing compares to the impact of the under occupancy charge.

This policy is separating families from the homes they’ve lived in for 31 years. (Real case in my service today) – It takes no account of rising rents in the private sector. Heard of two clients today who want to downsize but they’re in arrears, they have no money to find the bonds and rent in advance which predatory letting agents charge. They are stuck. Destined to accrue more arrears and possibly being evicted.

But I do understand why you might think things will be fine. DWP ministers make statements like this to assuage their wavering Conservative colleagues to get them onside:

Steve Webb (Conservative: The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions)

“I have been interviewed on various television programmes, which have featured case studies of people who were obviously distressed—and I do not doubt that some people are distressed by this change. Obviously, however, if they approached their local authority, they would not be affected by it. That is the issue. They would go to their local authority, which has been given money to help them; the authority would help them, so they would not be affected.”

So I understand that you may be entirely relaxed about the next 6 months. The Discretionary Housing Payment will save the day.

In all my years working with vulnerable people and seeing how many hoops they have to jump through to claim discretionary payments, I’d say Steve Webb is at best being utterly naive. The official DWP guidance states that disabled people in adapted accommodation and foster carers will be given priority by local authorities. There’s no mention of the myriad of other types of cases we hear about. Steve Webb describes the DHP as if it will be a catch all. I seriously doubt that.

The Conservatives have badly misjudged this issue. They would do well to listen to some of their dissenting Conservative colleagues in the House of Lords.

Lord Freud as you, should be worried.

Jon Leighton

Jon Leighton
6 Mar, 01:45


Steve Webb is of course a Liberal Democrat, not a Conservative.


6 Mar, 12:47

The HB reforms do not affect the severely disabled, parents with disabled children, pensioners and those who need around the clock care, because they are exempt form it.

The sad and appalling thing is the scaremongering from those who are simply after political capital not what’s best for people, and have no shame using people, particularly those in need, as their scapegoat.

Jon Leighton

Jon Leighton
8 Mar, 08:10

I’ve been researching this issue now for about three months so it’s fair to say, I’ve read my fair share of DWP circulars and scoured the articles about it. It was was therefore worrying to see the Prime Minister get muddled up (as you have) about who is and isn’t going to be affected.

The devil is in the detail.

Jon Leighton

Jon Leighton
8 Mar, 16:15

This may interest you.


8 Mar, 18:30

Thanks Jon for taking the time and keeping me updated. You say the devil is in the details, but somehow you seem to ignore a crucial detail.

And that is pensioners, the disabled and those who need overnight care are exempt. Another detail you missed the project is still live, and organic plus local authorities have been given the freedom to assess and assist those in need and support – those who might have been missed by the rules as they currently are.

Don’t want to come across as if I don’t care but, as a nation, we are drowning in debt and something must be done – unfortunately curbing public spending is one of them.

Jon Leighton

Jon Leighton
13 Mar, 10:03

I’m thrilled that the government have been forced into a partial U-Turn on this. This is vindication for all the people campaigning against this ill thought out policy.

As for the debt issue, we’re one of the richest countries in the world and I do not accept your premise. It feels like the chancellor is trying to run the economy like he runs his own current account. We don’t need kitchen sink economics, we need massive fiscal stimulus to get the economy growing.

Reckless austerity measures courtesy of the Coalition is damaging the economy.

Need I remind you of Robert Chote’s comments from the OBR?

He said: “For the avoidance of doubt, I think it is important to point out that every forecast published by the OBR since the June 2010 Budget has incorporated the widely held assumption that tax increases and spending cuts reduce economic growth in the short term.”

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