Oh what a tangled WEBB we weave, when first we practice to deceive!
Hansard last night records the following transcript in which Steve Webb the junior minister at the DWP is speaking in an adjournment debate over the bedroom charge (aka bedroom tax, under occupation charge, spare room subsidy) and is asked to give way…
“No. I apologise. I am sorry, I cannot remember the hon. Gentleman’s constituency, but he cited a case where a carer had to come in and use a spare bedroom. To be clear, the rules allow for a non-resident carer who has to stay overnight to have a room. Obviously, I do not know the full details of that individual case, but a spare bedroom is allowed for a non-resident carer.
Chris Leslie: I am afraid that the carer rules do not capture that particular case, but I wanted to ask the Minister a particular question about the bedroom tax—sorry, the spare room subsidy. I know the name is important, much like the community charge which some people did not want to call the poll tax. Can the Minister provide a figure for the number of households affected by the bedroom tax that include a disabled person?
Steve Webb: The hon. Gentleman glossed over his constituent’s case, but to be clear for the record, a spare bedroom is allowed for a non-resident overnight carer and it is important that he does not alarm people about the issue”
Steve Webb was at pains to state that a spare room is allowed for a non-resident carer, “…but to be clear for the record” he says and goes on to repeat “…but a spare bedroom is allowed for a non-resident carer.”
Steve Webb, to be clear and for the record, you have misled parliament and that is not the case at all!
The absolute fact of the matter is that a non-resident carer is ONLY allowed a spare bedroom when that non-resident carer is delivering the care for the tenant or the partner of a tenant. The non-resident carer does not see a spare bedroom exempted in a household where the care is provided to anyone else.
I reported yesterday of precisely one such case of a lady who lives with her 4 year old twins and J her severely disabled 17 year old son in a 4 bed fully adapted property.
J has cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, is oxygen-dependant, has severe brain damage, epilepsy and lots more. J is a majority wheelchair user and can take barely a few steps and is on high rate DLA for motobility and care indefinitely. No ‘spare’ bedroom for this deserving case!
This clearly deserving case for a non-resident carer does not allow a spare bedroom for the non-resident overnight carer and the bedroom charge applies.
J sleeps with his bedroom door open as does mum who doesn’t sleep Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday nights in case J wakes up which he frequently does. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday a non-resident carer comes in to allow mum some sleep in the 4th and allegedly ‘spare’ bedroom.
Yet because J is not the tenant or the partner of the tenant the bedroom charge does NOT allow the non-resident carer a spare bedroom exemption.
For the record minister you have just misled parliament, unless of course you do not realise that such incredibly deserving cases exist or that the bedroom charge policy has failed to see such cases….and just for irony mum’s MP is none other than Esther McVey, the Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and the Minister for Disabled People!
OR, is it hopefully now that you have knowledge of the case – and if you need more details you could ask your colleague Esther McVey, yes the Minister for Disabled People, who has been written to over this case and failed to respond to this ‘spare’ bedroom issue – that you have in fact changed the policy and simply not told us about it?
What was that again minister? You said, for the record of course, “…a spare bedroom is allowed for a non-resident overnight carer and it is important that he does not alarm people about the issue.”
Minister, I do hope I am not causing you alarm over this case yet as you will know this will set alarm bells ringing all over the hearts and minds of the general public as they realise just how unfair your policy is and read about the above case.
How do you sleep at night with all of these overt and knowing mistruths you tell they will ask. Please let me know and I’ll pass your tips on to the mum in this case.
For the record and to be clear you need to change it !