Monday, 27 May 2013

MORE MISERY FROM THE BEDROOM TAX ...

Data from 107 local authorities across the UK, shows 86,000 households have been forced to look for one-bedroom homes, of which only 33,000 have become available in the past year.

Inverclyde said 1,100 households would need to move into one-bedroom homes – of which just 96 had been free to rent last year.

The UK government's impact assessment last summer warned that 35% of claimants affected "would be quite or very likely to fall into arrears if their housing benefit were to be reduced". 
They went on to say that those losing out could make up the shortfall by "moving into employment, working more hours, or taking in a lodger".

So, what I would ask is that someone from the UK government, which is clearly so knowledgeable about these matters, should go to Inverclyde and explain the situation.

I realise of course that it is not the fault of the current UK government that Scotland did not overturn the "right to buy" legislation in 1999, when it could have, and direct councils to rebuild a stock of housing for the population that they are paid to serve, but it would be interesting to see them being 'better together' on this policy. The current government has taken these steps and building of social housing, no longer for sale, is underway. However, it is too little and much too late.

But, as London have their hands on the bulk of the economic levers, the pulling of which might ameliorate the employment (or unemployment)  situation, they may be able to explain where all these jobs (into which distressed householders could move) are to be found. I should come with a prepared list if I were them, because I doubt that the local jobcentre has any idea where they are, and local jobseekers will be most interested.

Maybe they would explain too, the best method of approach to ask your boss  for extra hours to meet the exigencies of  your own familial situation. Should these extra hours simply be provided by the employer by way of his/her generosity, or should a colleague lose some of their hours to compensate. (Warning:  Supplementary questions might arise as to how one chooses which colleague to deprive of hours.)

Finally, the UK government minister might want to give a personal and written guarantee (countersigned by several witnesses) that they have repealed the law which expressly forbids the tenant of social housing subletting all or part of their allotted property, and that the tenant may now do that with the blessing of aforementioned minister.

Anyone from Westminster up for that...in Inverclyde...  tomorrow maybe?

No?

How odd. There was I thinking that they were there to serve.

32 comments:

  1. Tris

    There are so many parts to this policy and none of them are about giving someone a hand up. For me this policy is about the following:

    London - Overcrowded and too many poor people, or as we commonly think of them, Londoners. There is a form of social cleansing going on here in central London that is disgusting.

    Choice - Poor people used to have a degree of choice on where they lived. That is now being taken away and if you receive any form of assistance then the state will tell you where you will live.

    Money - This policy will not save money in the short term but will drive people into the private sector thus reducing the need in the longer term for social housing, potential savings in the long term as no social housing will require to be built. In future we will see more reductions in the private sector allowance thus forcing even more people to live in overcrowding, probably remaining in the family home longer than they should thus reducing the need for social housing and possibly even social care. As long as it's not the Windsors or politicians it's ok.

    Division - This is totally a right wing agenda to rob any sympathy from the poor, even turning the poor against the poor. The rise of foodbanks is one step away from the poor house of old and not one politician from any of the three main parties appear to care. Dean and people with his political beliefs will have no problem with this. They will shout that Labour will defend the poor even when they know it is a lie and has been for a long time.

    No, we are seeing a re-writing of everything that the poor and the former real Labour party fought for for generations. My father,sadly deceased now, fought in a war against this type of thing in the UK. He would hate this and hate Labour even more, he turned his back on them in the 70's when as he said ' they turned their back on him and his '.

    Bruce




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    1. It worries me that you are right about the cleansing of London, as poor people are sent to places where it's not so expensive to keep them. Clearly the people running this policy see no hope of betterment in the near future, because they obviously don't see an imminent need for this labour that they are getting rid of to the north.

      I see no problem with demanding that people work for a living, but there first of all has to be that work. And right now, most places there is not.

      The government was warned that, to bring in tough measures against the unemployed when the country was going through a long period of what is depression rather than recession, was folly. As I recall one of its senior advisers on social security, a man from academe, warned them that though their policies were good, this was not the time to implement them. A Tory expert too!

      Likewise, it isn't too unreasonable for people who are having their rent paid by the state, to at least live in houses that don't have a variety of bedrooms. I have relatives and friends with 2 3 or 4 or more bedrooms spare for friends, relative or for nothing at all, but they don't expect me to be paying for them.

      Roughly speaking it's not an altogether bad idea (with exceptions of course), but if you are going to force people to move out. THERE HAS TO BE HOUSING FOR THEM TO MOVE TO. Otherwise it is just persecution.

      It doesn't even save money because it costs a fortune to evict people and there is an obligation on the state to find them somewhere else to live unless they are single and under 60. (I think.) And in Scotland the right to a home is now enshrined in law. As it should be.

      Blue Labour has become the Tories. As I've said so often. If they want power in the UK they have to be. They need to take the votes of the South East.

      I don't know what old Labour people are doing with this shower, who have started dismantling everything we understood to be Labour policies...and all to suit the SE of England.

      Once again, that's democracy. The bulk of the people who live in that SE quadrant of the Uk want these policies.

      We, on the other hand don't.

      What's the most obvious solution in the world?

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  2. Its difficult to know what the agenda is, except to say its very damaging indeed. They've successfully managed to vilify anyone who's accepted any form of benefit and turned them into second class citizens.

    Outright incompetence or ideological fuckwittery? They had to know how many one bed homes were available versus people who'd be forced to move into them, which to me, screams ideology.

    I don't believe people should get a free ride as such, but this is pretty cynical stuff. All UK mainstream parties have totally lost sight of what they're there to do.

    I'm not keen on living in such a divided country, the bedroom tax might not affect me directly, but the ramifications will affect everyone in the end.

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    1. They don't care. As far as they are concerned poor people can sleep wherever they can find a room. I already know that some people have had to give up their homes and sleep on mates' sofas or on the floor. Technically they are homeless.

      Mates are not necessarily pleased because if they stay any longer than a few days, the visitors mean that the 25% discount on council tax disappears.

      So people end up sleeping a few days here and there. it's diabolical.

      And the way they have spread hatred of the unemployed, the sick, the disabled (and now anyone with the look of a Muslim about them...thanks Nick Robinson), so that they can do whatever they like to them, with not much backlash from anyone, reminds me of Germany in the 1930s.

      Sorry, that's controversial, but that's how it seems to me that it was, and how it seems to me that it is here. I hate it with a passion. I'm so ashamed that we are a part of this. It seems inhumane to me.

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    2. The truth is never controversial as Britain is sleep walking into a totalitarian state aided by an inept media.

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    3. People seem to get rather shirty about comparing what's happening in the UK with what the UK fought against, CH.

      I realise that it's not quite the same. There is no persecution of jews, for example, but it seems to have element of similarity in other respects.

      Propaganda from government, used by press to degradate the sick and disabled and the unemployed and foreigners as being the root of all our problems, so that when they are hit hard, the public doesn't do the decent thing and react against persecution, but instead takes the government's side.

      When it doesn't work... ie, when people discover that even if we starve the poor and the sick to death and repatriate all foreigners, still the country will be in a mess, who will they blame?

      Who is left?

      The one lot it won't be is the one lot which is actually responsible. The terminally stupid and greedy ruling classes.

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  3. Pa

    I agree people should be encouraged to do something but not because they are scroungers but because of their physical and mental health. But unless you sort out things like childcare and employment opportunities it is very difficult to start.

    I would bring things in like the YTS again. It wasn't the best scheme in the world for young people but what it did do was get me out my bed in the morning, I got a chance to receive some training and work with real men and women thus starting to shape my view on the world.

    I would also seriously look at things like a living wage, I read somewhere that 70% of tesco staff received benefits. We should not be subsidizing these companies in this way. By all means provide appropriate and ehtical tax rules but not at the expense of the poorest.

    There are no easy answers but the methods being used just now are about division and about looking after the top 10% of society. I would argue that if we are truly to compete in this ever changing world then we should be in a race to the top not the bottom. A more even distribution of the vast wealth this country has would be a start . I might even go as far as a one off wealth tax that might give us a chance to start again, how much money do people really need and it might just raise enough to get us going again.

    Just my thoughts, like your blog by the way.

    Bruce

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    1. Yes, we need schemes to get people into work. But we need the work first. We must create jobs.

      People can't work if there are no jobs.

      There are also no houses for single people to live in, and VAST numbers of single people.

      Building houses for single people to live in would create work and apprenticeship possibilities...

      Do you see where we are going here?

      So once we have load s of people employed in the building trade, building suitable houses for the population... and there is a bit more money being spent, because people have money, then maybe some of the tax take from that could be spent creating jobs to improve the pot holed roads we all drive about on...

      More work, more money, more buoyant economy.

      And yes Tesco and other companies) if you can't afford to employ people on a living wage, then try making a bit less profit you greedy bastards instead of the taxpayer subsidising you.

      Let's get it done.

      Oh Lord, I wish you luck trying to get a wealth tax going... pfffff. Can't see any party going for that, good idea though it is.

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    2. PS. Pa's blog is really excellent. One of my first to look for.

      Should be posts every day though Pa!!! :))

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    3. Tris

      Totally agree, building houses would be a start but I just don't believe that is part of the plan here at all. The Scottish Government might try but with the limited powers they have it won't be easy, plus Labour councils won't go for anything that makes things better for people.

      Wealth Tax, yeah I would be strung up but wouldn't it be nice if those at the top in some cases just cared a bit more starting with the Windsors who seem to just take take take.

      Bruce

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    4. Well, they are building some in Dundee, Bruce, but not enough, and certainly not enough single apartments.

      But I'm all for you taxing the Windsors till the pips squeak. It's beyond me how that lot live in the lap of luxury at our expense.


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  4. Hi Tris, not really a comment here just to let you know I'm fine just been on a downer for a wee while, getting back to normal now so be warned the cynicism that is Arbroath1320 WILL be returning! :-)

    As a wee aside Boorach has mentioned over on cybernats (http://www.cybernats.com/?p=2052) that he has not been able to comment on this site since you have made your changes to the site.

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    1. Well I'm really glad to hear you're OK... I was just asking the other day if anyone had heard from you.

      Good to see you. Being down is the pits.

      Damn. I'm sorry about Boorach. I put that code thing on, to stop all the spam, but I took it back off. I wonder if he can get on now.

      I'll see if I can contact him. Thanks for the heads up.

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    2. I'll stick a post on cybernats and he might see it. :-)

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    3. I did that Arbroath...and he has seen either yours or mine, because he's done a test below.

      :)

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  5. Replies
    1. Geez CH... thats a long read.

      Could you precis it in 25 words LOL

      Nah, I joke, I get the drift.

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    2. The general gist is that the City as a wealth creator is total bullshit as most of it disappears offshore, surprise surprise. i.e remove the City of London and Britain would be wealthier by tens of billions.

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    3. That was 36 words... try again :)

      OK Joking...

      The MPs/Lords/Windsors must have some personal interest in it being there then. They must be gaining something from it.

      You really never can tell with them. I wouldn't trust one of them a tiny fraction of a little millimeter.

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  6. Completely agree about the race to the top versus the race to the bottom. This was brought home when Westminster was trying to pit private employees against government/council employees. Talking about why all these scrounging civil servants got such a good deal - they should get the same as those in the private sector.

    Why not the other way round exactly? Why is it always a race to the bottom with Westminster instead of seeing good practice and aspiring toward that instead?

    I have no idea how you do this, but I've always felt it isn't that we don't earn enough - its that everything costs so much these days. The things we absolutely can't avoid paying for, we pay through the nose for.

    And the idea that we're subsidising jobs in the private sector is just daft, almost as daft as private rents now being higher than a mortgage.

    Finally, I would blog more often (no groaning at the back) but others say things a lot better than I do. I also have a habit of descending into nonsense.

    I can't help it. For example, right now I'm in my Dad's spare room completely surrounded by Tena Lady sanitary products, there are pads of differing sizes to full on pants. I have no idea why they're here.

    Rest assured, if I am caught short this evening, I should be more than fine.

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    1. I think it's the low wage economy thing Pa. They seem to think that the only way that people will invest in Britain is by allowing them to pay very low wages and make very large profits. This seems to mean subsidising them as well.

      So not only do Tesco employees (for example) have to have their wages topped up by the taxpayer to stop them from starving to death, they also have to be allowed to take on people from the dole for no payment at all.

      Every little bit helps.

      On the subject of costs, I was just thinking that in the last few days of May, it is so cold in Scotland (well, in Dundee), that you can see the puffs of steam as people's central heating boilers are working. With gas at the incredible price that it is, how on Earth are poor people expected to be able to pay their bills this year?

      Finally as for your descending into nonsense... yep, I see your point. I hope you had a erm comfortable night.

      :)

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    2. Hello again.

      Yup, I had a dry night, which is to say, I had no need of any Tena products.

      In terms of heating costs, that was what was at the forefront of my mind (my Mum is currently paying £217 a month, I can't quite figure out why either...) But its not just that, its housing costs in general, which is tied in with the Bedroom tax.

      I grew up in a council house and there was no shame in it, it was just another method of housing. Now though, its sneered at - same as housing association arrangements.

      I'm not one for tin foil hats, but the entire drive of home ownership is a falsehood, its government's way of indebting the population, a population with responsibilities is a quiescent population. Get a mortgage (the bigger the better) get married, and have kids... Its human nature, but government take advantage of it for their own ends.

      I don't think there is a conspiracy a la Bilderberg (I don't think they're that good to be honest) but there is a lose agreement among political parties that this is the way forward. So they're making it harder for people to house themselves cheaply, forcing people into expensive arrangements.

      Coupled with most politicians complete ignorance of how people really live (for example, not understanding that moving house can cost thousands) then blithely suggesting people (who are already on a low fixed income) just up sticks and relocate?

      These politicians are arseholes.

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    3. I agree. Home ownership was about control of people. Give the workers the chance to own a home (take on massive debt) and they will never be able to afford to strike again.

      Most continental countries have a far smaller housing market than we do. I remember a German friend telling me that only really rich people in Germany owned houses.

      But now, if you rent a home you are looked down on.

      Another British snob thing.

      And why is Labour so against a local income tax. Why should people who are out of the income tax bracket altogether be paying maybe £1,000 for local services out of their £9,000 a year.

      And why, if it's assumed that the standard situation is 2 adults to a household (together with children), is the discount for single occupancy only 25%? Why not 50%?

      Unless your mum is running a sauna, she surely shouldn't be paying that kind of money for her heating. But it is scary how much the costs have gone up and will go up in the future.

      Incredible that we are paying so much for imported gas in Scotland when we have enough in the North Sea to keep Scotland running for at least a decade.

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  7. http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2013/may/uk-unnecessarily-going-wrong-direction

    The chairman of the Scottish Human Rights Commission has said the UK is going “unnecessarily in the wrong direction” on welfare changes – and said the Scottish Parliament would not propose such policies.

    Speaking to the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee about reforms including the bedroom tax, Professor Alan Miller said: “I don’t think this parliament would do that. There is no political will to do that.”

    He believes the UK government should be following in the lead of northern European countries who are “still investing in promoting access to employment and training” and that the “UK is unnecessarily going in the wrong direction”.

    Professor Miller added: “Welfare reform has attached this stigma to it…that just go against human dignity and reality of life in the UK…The Bedroom Tax is one of the most compelling human rights issues in Scotland. It’s not something we should be sitting round the table talking about in this day and age.”

    He also said if economic and social rights were embedded in a Scottish constitution, we wouldn’t be facing something like the bedroom tax.

    Deputy convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee Jamie Hepburn said:

    “Professor Miller’s contribution to this debate shows just how wrong the UK government's austerity agenda is.

    “As he said – we shouldn’t be in this place. The bedroom tax is one of the most destructive policies to have been introduced by Westminster, and it will damage families.

    “Despite 90 per cent of Scottish MPs voting against this tax, it has still been imposed – and these welfare changes are stigmatising people and hitting our most vulnerable the hardest.

    “Professor Miller made it clear he believes that the Scottish Parliament would never introduce measures such as the bedroom tax.

    “In fact he said if Scotland had its own constitution, where economic and social rights were embedded, we would never face something like the bedroom tax.

    “The message of the Yes campaign is clear - the only way for us to have our own constitution is with a Yes vote on September 18th, 2014. With powers over our economy and welfare, we would create the fairer and wealthier society we all want to live in.”
    ****
    I thought this was interesting. Of course, no one can possibly say what a future Scottish parliament would or would not do, but it seems reasonable to assert that we probably wouldn't go down the road that the UK has followed. The northern democracies are closer to our ethos.

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  8. I hope Ian Smart is enjoying his holiday!!!!
    Have you read his brothers article on Bella?

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    1. Yeah jutie... good one, huh?

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  9. In a 'normal' country, the media would be all over a story like that. Normal countries don't have another countries media though.

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    1. Yeah, and they don't have their governments either.

      I know the Johnson Press isn't Scottish, but who owns the Herald.

      The Press and Journal and The Courier although very local are Scottish (but Tory).

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    2. Thanks CH. I see the Herald is right at the bottom of their list (as is Scotland in general).

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