Spike’s poetic genius and the bedroom tax in Coventry

Said Baby Tern to Mother Tern, When can I have a brother, Said Mother Tern to Baby Tern, One good turn deserves another!

Probably one of the worst efforts of the comedy genius Spike Milligan penned in his poetry for children though another springs to mind entitled Christmas Day with the bedroom tax and the austerity we have in the UK today: 

A little girl called Sile Javotte said look at the lovely presents I’ve got. A little boy in Biafra said, Oh what a lovely slice of bread!


I could write reams and reams on how brilliant Spike was, the only man allegedly to have a medical certificate to say he was sane which he insisted upon after his traumatic shellshock he endured in Italy in WW2 – I like that sort of defiance!  The man who sent letters to Prince Charles which always started Dear Trainee King and of course include below is a Youtube video of his response to Prince Charles eulogising over him after Spike was awarded the lifetime achievement award which always brings a smile.  Even in death Spike wanted to have “I told you I was ill” on his gravestone but the Church wouldn’t allow so he had Duirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite put on it instead – Irish for you’ve guessed it I told you I was ill!

I’m sure spike would have found a way around the pernicious bedroom tax too.

Anyway I digress and one good turn deserves another – Yes today a nice tweet thanking and praising me was put out by Coventry against the Bedroom Tax so as one good turn does deserve another here’s something for them in Coventry……..

Coventry tenants offered £300 per spare bedroom to downsize is a story from their local paper today the Coventry Telegraph concerning the ‘benevolence’ of the local Housing Association, Whitefriars.

Firstly here’s Whitefriars take on the story: –

Simon Brooke, head of income management at Whitefriars, said he believed the scheme would prove attractive to many residents. “We realise there are a lot of people who remain living in the same home where they raised their family and the house is now too large for their needs. “With the ever increasing costs of utility bills, it can also be very expensive to pay for gas and electricity to heat large homes.  “These homes are now needed for families in the city. If people want to down-size then this scheme gives them the help and support they need to make the move.”

Ah what a nice lot they are at Whitefriars the housing association which took over the former council housing in Coventry.  They are caring for their tenants aren’t they reader? 

Hang on before you decide here’s my take on it …..

Whitefriars can set a new affordable rent to replace the social rent they previously charged – but of course the story doesn’t tell you that does it! Let’s take an example to show what this means. 

Say a 3 bed Whitefriars current social rent is £95pw and a private 3 bed rent in Coventry is £138.57 per week which is £600 per calendar month – both fairly accurate figures.  The difference is £43.57 per week.  An affordable rent is set at up to 80% of the private rent and this means it can be set at £110.85 per week which is 80% of this £138.57 per week affordable (sic) rent figure.

So Whitefriars making this former social rent into an affordable rent after they have got the existing tenant to downsize could get an additional £15.85 per week in rent (£108 – £95) after giving the existing tenant this ridiculously low bung to move and thereby get in an additional £827 per year in rent.  So if the existing tenant on a social rent has one spare bedroom then Whitefriars gains £527 in the first year and £827 each year thereafter.  If the existing tenant has two spare bedrooms then Whitefriars gains just £227 in year one but then £827 each year thereafter.

You still think Whitefriars have the tenant’s interest at heart reader?

Anyway while you ponder that take a look at Spike’s genius response to Prince Charles below:


6 thoughts on “Spike’s poetic genius and the bedroom tax in Coventry

    1. Another case happened in Reigate and reported in January. Hence councils know that anything under 50 square feet cannot be a bedroom AND they have powers to and do prosecute landlords for renting out the same. Hence why they never asked landlords for bedroom sizes in the first place reveals that the bedroom tax decision making process they undertook was fundamentally flawed. Secondly, landlords knew of this too and that any of their bedrooms measuring under 50 square feet could not be deemed a bedroom. Yet we have numerous examples of this including Whitefriars in Coventry stating a room 8′ 2″ by 4′ 3″ (35 sq/ft) is a bedroom and holding stubbornly to that line.

  1. Social Services say my boxroom with a boiler is not suitable for a foster child but council say it’s ok for bedroom tax. I couldn’t put a lodger in it for safety reasons plus it’s too small.

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