Tory councils gerrymandering over the pre 1996 exempt issue?

I receive lots of calls and emails on a daily basis over the pre 1996 issue usually from tenants thanking me for the part I played in this and all I did was publicise the issue when the real credit goes to Peter Barker.

A number of these today have really interested me and they all concern Tory run councils that still have council stock such as Basildon in Essex.

What seems to be going on is that tenants receive a letter from the council on letterhead which says ‘Housing and Revenues’ so it could be HB or the Housing Department.  The letter states you have a credit on your rent account so please fill in the attached and we will send you the money by direct transfer into your account.

The ‘credit’ in the account exactly matches the bedroom tax to date for the property and the tenants it is being sent to just happen to be pre 1996 cases! Note as this point these letters have been sent to a few tenants with differing bedroom tax figures on their respective properties and so knowing the differing bedroom tax amounts suggests it is not a scam letter either

There is no revision letter of the HB bedroom tax decision (the revised pre1996 decision) or is there any other notification such as your HB will be paid in full henceforth which accompanies it.  A few tenants have then phoned Basildon HB to be told “we don’t send out letters anymore!!!!)  They could send out an ‘ordinary’ letter they said which could take about 8 weeks!!

I kid you not reader and those who know anything at all about HB will know what is going on here.

To explain:

  • Every time a new decision is made on your HB the local council HAS to inform you by letter of the change in decision
  • The pre 1996 issue is a new (revised) decision
  • So Basildon Council HAS to inform the tenant and also
  • Has to inform the DWP that this is a pre 1996 case

Here we see Tory run Basildon Council trying to circumvent its duties by not sending out a new benefit decision (unlawful anyone?) and also keeps the pre-1996 exemption cock up numbers below what they really are to spare DWPs blushes!

Basildon is the heart of Essex Man that political phenomenon which has seen it be staunchly Thatcherite during her terms then staunchly Blairite during his terms and now back as Conservative again.  Still I am sure the Minister for Local Government will not like this gerrymandering at all in any local council as he is the MP for the neighbouring constituency arent you Eric Pickles?  Anyone starting to see the POLITICAL significance of the pre 1996 exempt bedroom tax issue which is correctly called an OFFICIAL ERROR and not a loophole?

Hmmm !

Oh by the way I was informed from a reliable source that the DWP estimate of a maximum 5000 has been taken from the Single Housing Benefit Extract (SHBE) for pre 1996 cases.  As far as I am aware the SHBE does NOT contain data such as tenancy start date or tenancy succession dates so just how DWP can use the SHBE to estimate their figure …..curiouser and curiouser!!

7 thoughts on “Tory councils gerrymandering over the pre 1996 exempt issue?

  1. also it said at the bottom of the letter….
    it is intended that changes are made to the law that in future your housing benefit is once more reduced by under occupancy, so at some time in the near future your rent will once again increase

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