Sunday, 10 March 2013
It is a bedroom tax!
There is a curious debate going on the Chronicle & Echo's website about whether the coalition's 'bedroom tax' should be called a tax.
Some more reactionary contributors want it described as a benefit reduction and even claim that it somehow a measure to 'help' thousands of people on the housing list by redistributing homes eitherb those in the public sector or those belonging to housing associations.
It all seems so simple-there are people living in council properties with extra rooms, and there are people waiting for homes-whether bigger ones or just a home!
So the simple solution is that you decant those selfish folk living with an extra room and move them elsewhere!
Now it would seem that the legislation is not simply talking about bedrooms, but if your old council property happens to have a dining room,then that is deemed a bedroom and subject to the legislation.Either move out or pay more!
My Auntie lived in a council house in Stranraer for many years.It was built with a wee dinettebetween the kitchen and the living room.
Would that be considered an extra bedroom?
Now apart from the brutally arbitrary nature of this legislation it has all the hallmarks of social engineering, or if you prefer it,urban cleansing.
It originated in the days of the Shirley Porter regime in Westminster when the Tory Lady hated the idea of working class families living in wards that might return Labour councillors,and so they were 'cleaned' from the area,making the likelihood of a Tory councillor.
It was also a policy that kept some areas free from the infection of poor people,never attractive to the eye of Tory grandees.
To suggest that a family perhaps settled in a home(for which they will have paid for many times over) should be required to move from their neighbours and friends,from their familiar environment,from the home they have built up over many years,is simply inhuman.
many of the ranters and ravers on the website were concerned about value for money, and feigned a concern for those on the housing waiting list and their suffering.
The answer of course is not to shuffle people from place to place as their family size changes but simply TO BUILD MORE BLOODY HOUSES!
Of course the coalition has no problem with selling off council houses-then you can have as many empty rooms as you like, but all that means is the housing stock is reduced and there are even less houses available to rent,driving more people into the arms of private landlords.
And of course there is the insurmountable problem,both locally and nationally of the shortage of smaller houses and flats anyway.
Even if a tenant in Northampton agrees to downsize to avoid paying extra,there are no smaller properties available anyway.
Does that mean if there are no properties available then the 'tax' does not have to be paid?
I understand at the last count there was a tiny handful of small properties available,and evn less now NBC has promised priority to servicemen returning (and there will be more of them given the redundancies in the armed forces!)
So the coalition is offering a cheap gimmick,designed to appease the Taxpayers Alliance and other assorted opponents of public housing and at the same time making no effort to really solve the problem of public housing.
No building programmes,the greedy bankers why have a stranglehold on any prospect of mortgages and of course the usual litany that seeks to blame the poor,the dispossessed and migrant workers.
This is a government with no shame,and the greatest shame is that the Lib-Dems are party to this and the Labour Party failed to build enough homes during their term of office.
However I have ome suggestion that might help.There is an elderly couple living in central London with a house that has ooh hundreds of spare bedrooms, they also have a large empty property in Windsor a big one out in Norfolk and an enormous property up on Deeside.
They also have dozens of other big houses that they call 'grace and favour' residences dotted all over London.
Perhaps they could help?