Time to sell all social housing

Social housing needs to be sold.  All social housing, council, housing associations, ALMOs and all the other variants and constructs needs to be sold. Social housing is the housing of last resort; it is where the plebs live and where all the ne’er do wells and feckless scroungers reside; it is Benefits Street personified; it is a dinosaur relic of some post-war Utopian vision of towering concrete monoliths that encourage and abet miscreants of every sort – the breeding ground for Wayne and Waynettas …..at least in the public psyche.

What isn’t anywhere near the public psyche is that social housing:

  • is an economic model that saves every taxpayer money – about £170 per year
  • is a hugely cost-effective way of providing low cost housing
  • is a model that allows the uptake of employment far better than private renting

Social housing needs to be sold for what it is – a huge economic success and huge economic necessity for the good of the country – and not for its common general public view as a political failure.

All of the above virtuous economic points of social housing I have discussed at length before yet I revive them now because a few individuals within the social housing ‘sector’ are attempting to sell social housing with the Shout campaign and councilhomechat, and perhaps I am being too cynical here to say this is a knee jerk reaction and response to the likes of Benefit Street and How to get a Council House and other crass and sensationalist TV programmes.

I use the term sector very loosely above as there is not a coherent representative social housing body that exists to sell this claimed ‘sector’ of about 1200 or so social landlords.  The ‘sector’ couldn’t sell a free lunch and that is why over the last 30 years and more social housing has been perceived as the lowest of the low and the housing of last choice.

Time to step outside of my passion for social housing and look objectively and dispassionately at it and what do we find?

  • A product that 1 million plus families want but cant get  - It is in huge demand
  • A product that is so much better in terms of quality that its competitor private renting – A much better product
  • A service with much better contract terms that private renting in terms of greater security and rights to repairs and involvement and other rights much better than its insecure alternative in private renting
  • A combined product and service that costs half as much as private renting (EHS 2012 figures at £83pw compared to £163pw national averages)

I could go on but social housing in comparison to privately renting is significantly better in all areas and it is so much cheaper.  Ask yourself in what other sector would the best product at the best price be so denigrated? Yet social housing is denigrated and regularly and repeatedly denigrated as being the housing of last resort in the minds of the general public.

Excuse the language but social housing has severely fucked up in not being able to sell social housing as a product and service hasn’t it reader?

Just why this has happened and who is to blame could spawn 50 PhD theses as it is such a monumental cock-up and Gerald Ratner is a marketing guru by comparison, yet we can’t go back and change the many repeated mistakes of the past 30 years or more.

All we can hopefully do is learn from them yet even that assumes there is a willingness and an ability within the ‘sector’ and an organisation that is willing to take on board that selling job which current bodies clearly have not done.

Yet within social housing we find numerous claimed representative bodies who have sold just their part of the social housing – NHF battling on generally terms for housing associations. the CIH battling to sell their inclusion at the government table and its training services and little else; Shelter, Crisis, SITRA and various tenant groups and others in niche areas such as homelessness etc – yet no organisation selling the social housing model in its entirety.  More worrying is that when embryonic groups emerge such as Shout and councilhomechat they preach to the converted and sell social housing to yes you’ve guessed it social housing!

What the general public need to know and especially now when home ownership is out of the reach of so many and the term ‘generation rent’ has become commonplace is that social housing is a huge economic good for them and for the country.  It is an economic model not a political relic of the post war period.

The English Housing Survey figures from 2012 that say the average social housing rent is £83 per week and the average private equivalent is £163 per week is a killer statistic for its economic consequence and for the welfare dependency argument which bizarrely goes hand in hand with social housing.

Firstly it means a social tenant can take up employment in a job that pays £80 per week less in net terms than his private tenant neighbour.  Secondly, that means a social tenant can afford to take a job for about £6k per year less than his private neighbour.

The consequence and REAL simple story is that it is private renting that encourages welfare dependency not social housing.  

Ah but social housing is only cheaper than private housing as it is subsidised will be and is the general public view.  That is a huge myth and easily disproved.  Social housing which has 4 million properties receives £1.2 billion per year in subsidy.  That sounds a huge amount yet it works out at £300 per social housing property per year and under £6 per week.

Those EHS figures again reader? Social housing £83 per week and privately rented £163 per week.  So a £6 per week ‘subsidy’ returns a better product and service than its only competitor who charges £80 per week more!  Yes let’s avoid telling the general public of that simple but stark economic benefit and of course there is no need to tell employers that as they can create more jobs in area which have higher levels of social housing.  Inward investment in a geographic area has much to do with the proportion and availability of low-cost social housing as potential and existing employers know full well.

Government, in all political persuasions, do not.  It is easy to lambast the current coalitions anti social housing policies and forget about the lack of opposition alternatives now and their failures in the past.  Yet in current figures the £1.2bn social housing subsidy means that social housing has lower rent levels which save social landlords charging the public purse the same levels of housing benefit the private landlord does.  The private landlord gets on average £30 or so per week more in HB than the social landlord or about £1500 per year more in taxpayers money.  Take away the £1.2bn social housing subsidy and social landlords would need to receive £30 per week more in HB for its 3.5m or so HB claimants.

Sorry reader that’s maths and it means take away the £1.2bn subsidy and 3,500,000 social housing properties would need to receive £30pw or £1500 per year or so more.  Ok I will keep this simple – take away the £1.2bn per year subsidy and the HB and taxpayer bill goes up by £5.5bn per year.

Social housing being subsidised is a fantastic invest to save policy that sees £1.2bn invested and achieves £5.5bn of savings.  And that is also why it saves every taxpayer about £170 per year in tax.

Sorry reader, sorry social housing dimwits who couldn’t sell a free lunch I know numbers are difficult but 2 plus 2 always equals 4 (unless your initials are IDS) and numbers create pesky facts and not many understand them and would rather not bother with them.  I agree it is far easier to think social housing costs the taxpayer and far easier to say it is the housing of last resort and far easier to sell social housing internally than externally and far easier to not bother selling social housing for what it is!

All of that scorn of mine is encapsulated in one simple point in another excellent blog from Jules Birch on the value of social housing which was the subject of (yet another!) housing conference which opened with: -

Ruth Davison of the National Housing Federation was in no doubt speaking to the annual conference of the Housing Studies Association in York last week. ‘It’s time to stop researching and start broadcasting,’ she told the assembled academics.

I’m not sure anyone in the audience was ready to go quite that far, but her underlying point was well made. The evidence about the beneficial impact that housing can have across a vast range of fields is out there and the political parties seem at least for the moment prepared to listen. So why not shout about it?

I’m not sure anyone in the (housing) audience was ready to go that far!!!!  That far!!!!  That message has been needed for over 30 years to sell social housing and to sell the huge ECONOMIC benefits that genuine social housing has for the country but still social housing professionals view it in a political dimension and are still reticent about shouting it from the rooftops!

  • Social housing couldn’t sell a free lunch.
  • Social housing couldn’t fight its way out of a wet paper bag.
  • Social housing can’t see the wood for the trees ….
  • Please feel free to add your own pithy but accurate saying dear reader and by all means use Panglossian to describe the sectors view of its own performance in this area…well if you can find anyone in the sector who admits selling social housing is part of their remit that is! (in fact don’t even ask that question as you will be directed to a right to buy officer!)

The scale of the incompetence and neglect that social housing has had in terms of selling social housing to anyone who is not a housing ‘professional’ is immense.  In fact the term housing ‘professional’ is and has to be a misnomer as part of being a professional is to sell your profession to those outside of your (alleged) profession.  Yet in that social housing has failed spectacularly and failed spectacularly for 30 years

 

 

 

 

 

 

The truth about the bedroom tax. It costs the taxpayer MORE

Karen Buck the Labour MP tweeted a stunning and stunningly simple message which exposes the bedroom tax for what it is, a costly mistake.

Here is how the bedroom tax costs the taxpayer in just one case the princely sum of £7,398.92 per year more in Housing Benefit.

The HB bill for this social tenant who downsized from a social housing 2 bed to a social housing 1 bed (Yes no private rental involved here!) increases from £5,384.83 per year to £12,783.75 per year.

kbuckbtax-page-001

This social housing tenant would have received £103.20 per week in HB in the £120 per week 2 bed social housing property after the 14% bedroom tax deduction was applied.  Yet she downsized to a 1 bed “affordable rent” (sic) social housing property with a rent of £245 per week all of which is payable in Housing Benefit as there is no bedroom tax and because the misnamed affordable rent property attracts 100% in HB.

Of course if the tenant had moved to a 1 bed private rented property in Westminster then she would have received £255.50 in LHA per week and cost the taxpayer a further £547.88 per year more.  Though she would have had to pay £51.04 per week to cover the shortfall between her £255.50 LHA and her rent of £306 per week.

What a damning indictment of the bedroom tax and its claimed savings to the taxpayer!

What a damning indictment of the coalitions “affordable” (sic) rent policy too?

What better retort to IDS, Freud, Mcvey et al saying the bedroom tax saves the taxpayer?  What better retort to the nonsense Grant Shapps MP said today about the savings from the bedroom tax will go into building new properties!!

Yes dear reader, the Tories are lying when they say the bedroom tax saves money as it costs the taxpayer MORE.

 

 

 

JRF report on bedroom tax – as inept as the policy itself…unfortunately!

The bedroom tax is pernicious and has many victims but I never imagined one of those victims would be the Joseph Rowntree Foundation or JRF.  The report released yesterday was staggering in its ineptitude and this from one of if not the most revered social policy think tank in the UK in the JRF.

To explain I use the ubiquitous follow-up piece that the Guardian always does in giving free rein to in this case JRF to ‘sell’ their research to the public as they do here in a piece by its Policy Director Kathleen Kelly.

I took time contemplating whether to comment on this as JRF has produced consistently excellent research for decades and known for consistently producing excellent research.  Yet they have been so inept in this bedroom tax report and in their recommendations that it has to be said.  So, with some reluctance below is why this bedroom tax report is inept and it is not happy reading!

The Guardian article states in its opening and correctly sets the scene -

The bedroom tax has left tenants struggling to cope, failed to free up larger homes for big families and saved less money than the government estimated.

Agreed and no issue with that but it goes on: -

 Our report, published today, adds to earlier research by the BBC that found just 6% of people affected by the bedroom tax have moved into a smaller home and half those who have stayed put have fallen behind on their rent.

Oh dear! JRF here give credence to the myth published by the BBC a week or two earlier that the bedroom tax is responsible for 6% of social tenants moving.  There is no correlation at all and what has escaped JRF analysis is that for a decade or more about 7% of social tenants move in any case.

Take a look at the English Housing Survey an authoritative report published yearly which says in 2012 that 249,000 of the then 3.88m social tenant households had moved – This is 6.4% and previous years figures for a decade or more says the same. The first year of the bedroom tax has seen fewer social tenants move than in the years before the bedroom tax was live yet somehow JRF go along with the huge myth that the bedroom tax is responsible for more tenant movement.  This is an incredibly flawed and lazy analysis.

The report goes on: -

The fact that savings are £115m below target and, at savings of £330m, form only a paltry part of the £19bn overall welfare savings, mean that the time is right to take a more nuanced look at the future of the policy.

There is one simple reason that the claimed savings are £115m below target and hat is because the DWP target saving was based on the bedroom tax affecting 660,000 households and ‘saving’ £480m per year.  Yet the bedroom tax affects 498,174 households not 660,000 and so affects 24.5% less than the original estimate so the saving is reduced by 24.5%.  This is basis arithmetic without the need for any analysis as to why the figure is 24.5% less.  And 24.5% of £480m the expected DWP ‘saving’ is £117m

Kathleen Kelly then goes on to suggest 6 ways to improve the bedroom tax and here setting aside my well-known objections to the policy per se the suggestions given are staggering in their ineptitude and present the coalition with a gift horse as they can now taint JRF’s analysis to be as shambolic as the bedroom tax policy itself is!

There are six options if we want to make the policy sustainable, other than outright abolition.

1. Give people the chance to move
The bedroom tax currently hits 100,000 people who are willing to move but who are trapped in larger homes because of a shortage of smaller homes. We could require landlords to make tenants an offer of a smaller home to move into before the bedroom tax is applied and housing benefit is reduced so that it does not punish those who want to move but are unable to do so.

This is the Lord Best amendment in the House of Lords and does have merit at least superficially.  Why should the tenant who is willing to move but can’t because of lack of availability be penalised is the essence of it.  Yet “we would require landlords to make tenants an offer of a smaller home…” exposes the futility and unworkability of this proposed solution.  How can a landlord be required to make an offer when the lack of availability means they can’t make such an offer?  Unfortunately this inept analysis gets even worse.

Don’t apply the bedroom tax if the tenant is willing to move but can’t is the essence.  Personally I fully agree with this but JRF are living in cloud cuckoo land with this proposal and totally divorced from political reality.  If as has been uncontested that only 6% are able to downsize each year then this would mean that the bedroom tax would not apply to 94% of current households if the under occupying tenant simply said they were willing to move.  Some figures have suggested that 14% may be able to move yet that would still mean the bedroom tax would not apply in 86% of cases.  Why would this or any government even bother with the policy given those figures?

 2. Define what is a bedroom and what is not

The confusion around which rooms count as bedrooms and which don’t has been confusing for tenants. With central government refusing to clarify the matter and leaving it to individual councils, decisions have been highly inconsistent. Introduce minimum sizes for single and double bedrooms to clear up the confusion.

 

Yes, yes, yes and oh dear!  We have to look at why the government steadfastly refuse to define the term ‘bedroom’ to see why defining it means the policy is dead in the water.  Take the simple case that is well-known that in legislation bedroom needs to be 70 square feet in floor size and apply that as one constituent part of the what a bedroom is.  If its 70 square feet it’s a bedroom if its 69 or less it’s not.

How many homeowners have ‘bedrooms’ of less than 70 square feet and believe they own or are paying a mortgage on an asset they believe to have 3 bedrooms?  If they suddenly found out they own a 2 bed plus boxroom property their asset value and equity drops dramatically and all the borrowing they have against it becomes a huge risk for those who lend.  Cue biggest financial crash ever seen and 2008, the Great Depression and even the South Sea Island Bubble pale into insignificance.

The proposed solutions continue…

 3. Allow spare bedrooms in some cases

Many people with disabilities rely on the extra space a spare room provides to store their medical equipment, or for a place for their carers to sleep. Similarly, a divorced parent who has shared custody of children will need somewhere for them to stay on visits.

Again yes but again what a lazy analysis and lazy and unworkable suggestion.  The disability lobbies have produced some excellent research (as have JRF) to show that disability gives higher costs of living and higher need for space.  Yet what would the criteria be for additional space and do able-bodied persons also need storage space?  Yes I would argue they do and most households have a ‘junk room’ where they store a whole range of things and especially so in a flat over a house as these tend to have far less storage space in any case.  Would the spare alleged ‘bedroom’ be extended to grandparents too and so many more similar questions can be asked which quickly reveal this proposal to be unworkable and incredibly cost intensive to determine.

That leads nicely into the next suggestion for improvement of the policy (a reform of a claimed reform anyone?)

4. Allow people a spare bedroom in all cases

Looking across the profile of the country’s entire housing stock, having a spare bedroom is a well-accepted norm among homeowners. Working-age social tenants make up only 3% of under-occupied homes. Reducing somebody’s benefits only where there is more than one spare bedroom would address this inconsistency.

The DWP original 2012 estimate had 81% of likely bedroom tax households underoccupying by one (alleged) bedroom.  Hence allowing 1 spare ‘bedroom’ would take 81% out of the bedroom tax altogether.  As I said earlier are JRF living in a political cloud cuckoo land?  Of course this is also a suggestion put forward by Riverside and many other social landlords to allow 1 spare bedroom in each household and it has the same implication – it would see 81% taken out altogether and an unknown percentage of the other 19% reduced from a 25% HB deduction to a 14% deduction.  Why on earth would ANY government bother with such a diluted policy?

That makes a further important point that this paucity of thinking and political analysis in the JRF report is mainly a concoction of previous suggestions by others that have been rejected or dismissed because of the financial and political implications they would give. It is lazy naivety writ large!

 5. Make hardship payments a long-term solution

The government has set aside a £155m pot of crisis funds (discretionary housing payments) to help tenants struggling to cope with the bedroom tax, but this fund will not last for long. Many tenants will require long-term financial help in order to cope. The crisis fund should be reformed to help them.

No they have not set aside £155m at all and this is an incredulous thing for JRF to say.

The government has this year set aside or allocated £60m for bedroom tax DHPs not £155m and the £155m is the total amount of DHP for ALL reasons not just for bedroom tax purposes. Has JRF simply bought the government rhetoric on this or is it too lazy to see the £60m figure for bedroom tax DHPs as clear as day as written in the S1 HB circular of 2014?

This also alludes to the purported fact that DHPs are and can only be short-term when they can as a matter of fact be given indefinitely as the DHP guidance manual says they can.  Hence there is no need to reform what is already in place.

It is commonly stated that DHPs can ONLY be given on a short-term basis yet the guidance explicitly states they can be given indefinitely and so once again we see JRF buying into a myth and NOT conducting a proper analysis.  I fully agree that DHPs tend not to be given indefinitely but that is not the point; rather the point is JRF can be easily ridiculed for these proposals and painted by IDS et al as just another biased ‘leftish’ organisation and JRF up till now rightly deserve to refute such a slur on their reputation.

The final suggestion I have no objection to at all: -

 6. Stop counting disability benefits as income

When applying for crisis funds – which are means tested – the disability benefits people may receive have in some cases have been counted as income and can make disabled people less likely to qualify for crisis payments.

As I state above JRF has published many excellent research documents over the years as to the higher costs that disabilities in all their forms, physical, learning and sensory dictate.  And that is why I am so angry at JRF for this woeful analysis and woeful proposals.

The old adage that is takes 20 years to build a good reputation and 5 minutes to lose it is very much at play here.  I am astounded at just how bad this report is at how bad the research is and how bad the analysis is because, to date, JRF research and reports have been so good. Yet this is staggering in its ineptitude per se and not just by comparison.

I truly hope JRF do not get tainted by this aberrant woeful piece of work though I imagine the spads  (SPecial Advisors or spin merchants) for the coalition are rubbing their hands with glee at the ineptitude of this report as they can and will tarnish JRF for this.

What have you done! (Shakes head, still amazed at chronic ineptitude!)

 

 

 

McVey and her underground TAX

How many times dear reader have you heard Esther McVey say the bedroom tax is NOT A TAX.  TAX IS WHAT YOU PAY ON INCOME IT IS NOT A TAX IT IS A SPARE ROOM SUBSIDY.  Yes that would be the same McVey in whose constituency we find that 94% of all new HB claims since the election have come from private tenants who get £3.2m more each year in LHA than social tenants would get in HB (Now that is what a real subsidy is!)

ITISNOTATAXITISNOTATAXITISNOTATAXITISNOTATAXITISNOTATAXITISNOTATAX – ok you get the picture.

In fact you should really get the picture below!!

You may well know that McVey is the MP for Wirral West which is separated from Liverpool by two road tunnels for which you have to pay a toll.  The tunnel toll is supposedly going up again and so today at a protest we see McVey holding up a banner and posing for a photograph.

What do you think it says on her banner?

mcvey tunnel

Yes it does say “Axe the Tunnel TAX “

You could have chosen to hold up a banner saying “Say No to Tunnel Tolls” and as you can see there are SEVEN such banners to hold up and pose for the picture; yet you, the very media savvy Esther McVey chose to hold up one of just two banners calling this a TAX!

Is the gentleman behind you is looking at your other face? Poor chap!

Bedroom tax – a big KISS to naive social landlords

Commentators for social housing just don’t know their backside from their elbow when it comes to communication.  And the rest of this 10 minute post shows I am being complimentary to social landlords

Today sees a 65 page report on the bedroom tax from the all party select committee which when read is a strong critique of the bedroom tax policy.  YET IT WILL NOT BE READ and that is THE issue.

By contrast the government issues a soundbite that the bedroom tax saves £1m per day – AND THAT WILL BE READ AND COMMUNICATED TO JOE PUBLIC.

That in a nutshell is the issue – that social housing / housing commentators / the social housing ‘sector’ just don’t get.

The ‘sector’ is truly inept and incredibly naive in communicating in the political arena in simple terms.

Joe Public couldn’t give a flying fig for the minutiae of a 65-page report which is 15,000 words plus on the welfare reforms.  They will never ever read such a tome and frankly couldn’t be bothered to ever read some very salient points such as Scotland will take 60 years to find enough 1 bed properties for the need the bedroom tax creates which it says at paragraph 56 when read correctly.

15,000 plus words and then appendices of evidence compared to the governments simple message – the bedroom tax saves £1m per day!  You don’t need to be Einstein to figure what will be believed and what will resonate in the mind of Joe Public!

I could write 20,000 words here as to why the bedroom tax will cost the public purse and taxpayer more and totally destroy the unsubstantiated and frankly bullshit claim that the bedroom tax saves anything at all let alone £1m per day.  Yet that matters not a jot to Joe Public who dont have the time to read such an argument whatever the validity, the bedroom tax saving or cost is ALL they need and want to know.

Yet ‘housing’ yet again gets on its narrow parochial high horse and discusses the ins and outs of a gnats arse when it comes to such reports.  That is fine for an extremely limited number of housing people who may want to know that but Joe Public couldn’t give a hoot.

In the bedroom tax ‘Housing’ has let DWP say so many known myths which have been unchallenged and have become ‘fact’ in the publics eye.  There are a million spare bedrooms the taxpayer is paying for is one such fallacious claim and there are so many more such as work 2 hours more to pay the bedroom tax – and argument wonderfully demolished by Hilary Burkitt last year that failed to go outside of ‘Housing’ – and the £1m per day saving is just the latest in a long line of nonsense claims from DWP that Joe Public if they knew the facts would call outright known lies.

Yet these lies and that is what they are have never been challenged and there are a number of reasons for this which highlight a huge problem for the alleged sector that ‘Housing’ is.  Firstly, it is a notoriously conservative sector that very rarely raises it heads above the parapet.  Secondly, it is not a sector it is a collection (note not collective!) of 1200 or so individual social landlords.  Thirdly, there is nobody that represents this collection of landlords in terms of PR / awareness raising / spin (call it what you will!)

It is incredibly naive in the political arena and you only have to look to the even more disparate private rented sector to demonstrate just how politically naive it is.  The PRS lobbies such as the NLA figuratively ‘jump down the throat’ of any government who even flies a kite for 0.000001% of any change to its members whereas the SRS remains quiet and apathetic to the fundamental destruction of the social housing model which is the consequence of the welfare reforms!

The social housing ‘sector’ despite calling for years for social housing to be a political priority (with many false dawns), now that it is there just doesn’t have a clue what the hell to do!!!

Q) Who REPRESENTS social housing?

A) Er….er….er……oooh never thought of that before!

Therein lies a huge problem for the social housing ‘ sector’ and for the social housing model.  The Tories don’t like social housing as a model.  Labour are ambivalent with Miliband also saying Thatcher’s RTB was right. Lib Dems are a side issue with no support for the social housing model either and are having an internal leadership struggle over the bedroom tax with anti BT Farron posturing against ?-BT Clegg!

Yet the social housing model SAVES the taxpayer billions each year and always has.  The current figures shows private landlords receive £2bn+ more in HB for the equivalent properties yet who the hell is shouting that from the rooftops on behalf of the social housing model? Er…..er…..er…exactly!

Social housing means a social tenant can afford to take up employment that pays £6k gross per year less than his privately renting neighbour as his rent is £80pw less.  It is a fantastic invest to save service for the public purse and taxpayer.  It is a huge economic fillip for the country yet Joe Public dont have a clue about that and why is that?   Er…..er….er….!

Instead Joe Public believes social housing is wasteful, believes it is subsidised, believes it is a drain on the taxpayer and also believes it is the housing of last resort and all yes ALL because social housing can’t and hasn’t got its huge economic and social benefits across and there has been nobody willing to stand up and say that on behalf of the ‘sector!’

Earlier today I posted about a dad who emailed me to say he had won his bedroom tax appeal just as his daughter won hers a few weeks before.  The reason that is very pertinent is the dads comments in the email about the bedroom tax: -

“From the very beginning you said don’t moan about it get off your arse and do something about it”

A message that ‘Housing’ or the ‘sector’ needs to take on board.  A very very simple message much like the bedroom tax saves £1m per day x

x = kiss = KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!!….and boy have social landlords been stupid!

 

 

 

Bedroom tax – a right right to family life as parents and daughter both win appeals

I have a huge smile to my face as a tenant informs me he has won his appeal just as his daughter did a few weeks earlier.  Yes bedroom tax wins for the parents and for their daughter will sure make this Essex family a happy one!

in both cases there is not a full statement of reasons but in simple terms the daughter won by saying the alleged spare bedroom was a study and so she is taken out of the bedroom tax altogether.

The father saw the bedroom tax reduced from 25% to 14% as one of the alleged bedrooms was not big enough to be a bedroom the Tribunal ruled.

So a room usage win for the daughter and a room size win for mum and dad.

However the key issue here is what the dad said in his email to me about 20 minutes ago: -

Hi Joe
I sent you a copy of my daughters tribunal win on the 28/03/14
I can now send you a copy of my own decision 01/04/14
Many thanks Joe I couldn’t have done this without your blog
From the very beginning when you said don’t moan about it get off your arse and do something about it

Stop moaning about how bad the bedroom tax is and get off your arse and appeal.

We can all imagine how happy the two households of the same family are and that really does bring a smile to my face and to anyone else’s face.

Stop moaning about how bad the bedroom tax is and get off your arse and appeal.

Am I being too subliminal reader!!  Oh ok here’s some advice for you

Stop moaning about how bad the bedroom tax is and get off your arse and appeal.

Just in case you didn’t get that

Stop moaning about how bad the bedroom tax is and get off your arse and appeal.

PS – Here’s how to do that in the simplest terms call it a bedroom tax appeal for dummies of call it a bedroom tax appeal strategy for moaners or whatever you like.  Yet it works and that is the key thing so just in case you haven’t got the point of this….Stop moaning about how bad the bedroom tax is and get off your arse and appeal.

 

 

 

The bedroom tax is domestic violence and abuse

At times I have mildly vented my spleen at the bedroom tax. Today I am going the whole hog and with good and informed reason in light of a joke of an article in the Sunday People.

I am also calling for the Chief Executive of Womens Aid to resign over it.  I am also stating that it is time the Labour Party grew a set of balls and also sacked their spokesperson on domestic violence and abuse – and it is telling that I do not even know the name of who that person is!

I have worked with domestic violence and abuse organisations for more than ten years mostly female yet also with the odd male domestic charity so this is not a rant of ignorance and it concerns what is called a sanctuary room.

A sanctuary room is is where a room in an abused home is made a strong room with strong doors and bars on windows for example so if the perpetrator gets into the property the woman and children can lock themselves away….in terror until the police can arrive.

Yet the bedroom tax is charged on such a room!

Does anyone in their right fucking mind think anyone ever sleeps in such a room!  Would you be able to sleep at all in circumstances where your life is in imminent danger?  No of course you would not be able to and so how can a room that is not used for sleeping in be a bedroom and have the bedroom tax applied?

How can it be that a room that is used once in every blue moon be deemed a bedroom?  There dear reader is why the bedroom tax is a back of a fag packet policy in a nutshell.

So what are the Women’s Aid Federation of England (WAFE) doing about this?  Are they advising their members the refuges and other domestic abuse services to support their tenants and clients to appeal the bedroom tax?  Are they lobbying government to take away the bedroom tax from a sanctuary room which is a situation they have known about for at least two years?  No, they are simply moaning about it with a quick comment in today’s Sunday papers…oh and it is Mother’s Day to boot!

Just what the hell does WAFEs chief executive think her role is if not to defend the rights of women victimised and affected by violence and abuse.

Then there is the Labour Party.  If ever there was an issue on which to go big in opposition to the bedroom tax then it is the sanctuary room.  It is outrageous that Her Majesty’s Opposition (giving Labour their official misnomer of a title) who also have had two years and more to highlight the sanctuary room issue and the absurdity that such a room has the bedroom tax levied on it to have stayed silent on this.  They are not ignorant of the issue they are just incompetent and ineffective.

Levying the bedroom tax on a sanctuary would galvanise the entire country and expose just how offensive and ill-conceived the bedroom tax is as a policy.  No one in any rational mind could argue that a sanctuary room is a bedroom for bedroom tax purposes or even the often irrational minds of the likes of IDS and McVey.

This is a gift horse of huge political capital that will acutely embarrass the governments bedroom tax policy yet WAFE and the so-called feminists in the Labour Party are where exactly?  Probably being taken to lunch in some swanky bistro in central London celebrating Mother’s Day while so many more Mother’s are checking the locks on their sanctuary rooms!

I don’t want to be reading academic studies in a few years time when the data is in that the bedroom tax created an increase in domestic violence and abuse.  Yet I will be reading them as that is a direct result of the bedroom tax and the canon of evidence that financial and money problems in a household lead to violence and abuse is voluminous in this area and this is precisely what the bedroom tax does by reducing income into a household.  If I do have to read this my first thoughts will be WAFE and the Labour Party could and should have stopped this and  easily stopped this.

The anti bedroom tax groups across social media and self-serving journalists on the Sunday People who miss the real issues and like to say the Tories have blood on their hands when it comes to the bedroom tax must realise that the Labour Party has too.  So do social landlords and councils who state a sanctuary room is a bedroom.  And while they all dither and miss the real issue the lives of women and children are put at risk by the bedroom tax ineptitude of all of you.  Isn’t it time the real perpetrators of this in the coalition got blamed instead?

Happy Mother’s Dayl!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,557 other followers

%d bloggers like this: