Bedroom Tax ‘Fundamentally flawed’ says Shepton candidate

Chris Inchley
Chris Inchley “Bedroom tax will mean cuts in living standards or rent arrears”

The hapless Work and Pensions secretary IDS’ next great welfare reform, the Bedroom Tax, appears to be disarray today as he announced a partial U turn of his failed policy, Now foster parents and people who have service children will  be exempt. Chris Inchley, Labour candidate for Shepton Mallet says  “The real problem with the Bedroom Tax is that it is fundamentally flawed. It is based on a theory that people with lots of spare rooms in the socially rented sector are blocking properties for others who need homes and  that those with spare rooms should move into smaller properties.”

Chris believes that the reason why the Bedroom tax is flawed is because there are not enough smaller houses to fill those who have spare rooms and those in the private sector are more expensive then the larger socially rented homes and these houses are peoples homes. “So effectively this will mean a living standard cut or rent arrears. The amended proposals from the Government for the Bedroom Tax is not being applied to those people with disabled children, that’s almost half a million households that are home to a disabled person who are set to lose over £700. Tenants affected will face a 14% cut in housing benefit for the first “excess” bedroom and 25% where two or more bedrooms are “under-occupied”. The government, which estimates the average household affected will lose £14 a week, says the policy will save the exchequer £500m a year”

“It doesn’t add up.”

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, which represents Housing Associations, said: “The DWPs’ continued claim that DHPs [additional funding to mitigate the worst effects] will protect all of the most vulnerable is simply not true. Even if DHP was divided equally only among those receiving disability living allowance, they would receive only £2.51 a week, compared to an average loss of £14 per week. It doesn’t add up.”

Chartered Institute of Housing chief executive Grainia Long said: “Other people are also unfairly affected, for instance, people who need a bigger home because of a disability should also be exempt. We know that the open market doesn’t cater particularly well for these people, and they should not be penalised for living in social housing when in many cases there is nowhere else for them to go.”

“A wrong headed policy”

Chris says  “I take the view that this is a wrong headed policy, I hope MPs fund themselves at this level for their expenses for their homes! Because someone rents a social housing home, it is still their  home. Socially rented properties are cheaper than private rented sector and this government has done little to boost supply of affordable housing or to tackle high private rents. This assault on low income families continues with tax and welfare changes, including tax credit cuts, and the VAT rise to 20% will be compounded by wage freezes, and failure to tackle fast rising cost of living, pushing 500,000 more children into poverty.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “By the 2015 election, the majority of children in Britain will be living below the breadline. For any civilised society, that should be shaming.”

Chris cays “And all this at a Time when the Conservative Liberal Democrat government are cutting tax to millionaires, it appears the wealthy can pay less and the poorest pay more, this is simply perverse.”

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