Bedroom Tax fair? Yes if we take £1.4bn per year of benefit from owners!

The bedroom tax as it is known is officially called the under-occupancy charge. What it means is you are penalised if you have spare rooms.  More specifically the state will reduce your welfare benefit if you have spare rooms.

So why does the state reward you if you have spare rooms?

Council Tax Benefit!  If you are a single person living alone you get a 25% reduction on your council tax bill which means the state pays you £361 per year in benefit for the £1444 average council tax bill.  The state rewards you for being an ‘under-occupier’ with Council Tax Benefit.  Now, the state is saying we will penalise you for this with the bedroom tax – the exact opposite, the antithesis or blatant hypocrisy.

Steve Webb the junior minister at the DWP has been trundled out to explain the ‘fairness’ of the bedroom tax on every show.  He was on Channel 4 News in the week and last night on ITV News when he said that the state is “…paying for 1m spare bedrooms when hundreds of thousands of families are overcrowded.”

So following that rationale from the DWP minister which says it is unfair for the state to pay you for spare bedrooms why do we continue to reward single people with Council Tax relief of 25%?  Why does the state give a man or woman living alone in a house with 2 or 102 spare bedrooms a welfare benefit?

Here is what Council Tax Benefit is as explained on the governments own website:

Part 3: Council Tax exemptions

A full Council Tax bill is based on at least 2 adults living in a home.

If you count as an adult for Council Tax and live on your own, you’ll get 25% off your bill.

If it is right to penalise people for having a spare room or rooms then how can it be right to reward people for exactly the same thing?

If you are a tenant and have no income or an extremely low income to be in receipt of Housing Benefit and live alone in a 2 bed house, a 3 bed house or even bigger you are penalised by having a reduction in your benefit with the ‘under-occupancy’ charge.

Yet if you are an owner-occupier with £20m in the bank and live alone in a 6 bedroom house you get a welfare benefit – the council tax reduction of 25% – given to you.  You are rewarded.

Imagine you are a very well-known footballer earning say £250,000 per week with a penchant for playing away from home with grannies.  Your better half finally has enough and boots you out.  You go and rent a 10 bedroom £3m house in a nice leafy area for £10k a month and live alone there presumably with your tail between your legs.  The £10k per month rent is peanuts as you earn over £1m per month in basic salary and neither is the £3000 per year Council Tax bill.

You clearly don’t need the £750 per year benefit the government pays you for living alone in Council Tax Benefit do you? Yet the government rewards you and pays you benefit for living alone in a lovely big house.

Is that fair?

In context of the bedroom tax with its average £14pw reduction or £728 per year cut is it fair?

I don’t need to say any more do I. Well apart from looking forward to this government’s next logical step which would be to stop rewarding all the owner occupiers who live alone and make them pay 33% more in council tax.

Just imagine how popular that policy would be with the voting public.  We know it must be fair as the government have said it is.  Does anyone know when they are introducing it as I really would love to know wouldn’t you?

Beginning to see the bedroom tax for what it is yet?  Yes a political attack on social tenants nothing more nothing less.

If it is fair to reduce benefit for having a spare room then it is just as fair to take away the 25% council tax benefit deduction for single owner-occupiers living alone which the government rewards them with.

Caution: Do yourself a favour an don’t look any deeper on the government’s Council Tax site above.  Why get angry that you can get further benefit on your second home that you own – yes benefit not just for spare bedrooms but for a spare house!!  Much the same you can leave your property empty for six months and get 100% in benefit – that’s £1444 per year in benefit the state pays you to keep a house totally empty.

So does that say if you own a house the government will give you benefit for spare bedrooms and even a spare house but if you rent one from a council or housing association they will penalise you?  Yes it does…ah noblesse oblige. I would tug my forelock if I had one!

So almost a million empty homes in the UK with the owners receiving benefit for having them empty and spare in their entirety not just in bedrooms but someone who rents one gets penalised for the same issue.  Yes that about sums up the FAIRNESS of this coalition in the bedroom tax.

I don’t suppose anyone has got a list of government ministers who (a) live alone or (b) have a second home or (c) have empty homes do they?  Now that would be interesting wouldn’t it?

Does anyone have any figures on how much the 25% Council Tax deduction comes to in a year for the public purse…you know how much we subsidise the owners?

Hang on if we know the average council tax bill was £1444 in 2012/13.  And we know that nearly a million empty homes and their owners receiving £1444 in CTax because they have been empty for 6 months then that is a simple sum isn’t it – Yes its £1,444 million or if you wish £1.44 BILLION per year – or 3 times the claimed £480m saving from the bedroom tax.

So why has the government picked on tenants when owners get 3 times as much from the state for leaving whole houses empty!!  That makes no sense does it?  Unless the government deliberately targeted social tenants of course!


NOTE – The very crude way I have explained the relief from Council Tax on empty properties is correct but it doesn’t necessarily follow that they all have been empty for 6 months so the £1.44bn is I accept inaccurate.  Yet I doubt by much when you factor in all the single occupied owned properties that get this benefit and all the second homes that can get between 10% and 50% off their Council Tax.  Overall the £1.44bn per year figure is highly likely to be an underestimate.

One thought on “Bedroom Tax fair? Yes if we take £1.4bn per year of benefit from owners!

  1. All very well, but the 25% reduction in Council Tax is not a benefit in the usual sense, it is tax relief. In the case of the footballer, are you suggesting that Council Tax should be linked to income rather than property value? If the said footballer went home to live with his mum rather than rent/buy a large property, he needn’t pay a penny in council tax, in fact the whole team could move in with him and neither would they!

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