The UNLAWFUL bedroom tax imposed by IDS sees him steal £22m from the disabled!

Fully updated 5 February 2014

IDS is going to change the bedroom tax legislation without debate or discussion on 3 March to make stealing £22m from the disabled lawful. We all need to stop him.

This post is a major update of the numbers of exempt bedroom tax households who have had the bedroom tax UNLAWFULLY IMPOSED upon them by the incompetence of IDS and the DWP.

For example today Birmingham announced that they have over 2000 households who have been UNLAWFULLY IMPOSED with the bedroom tax against the DWP estimate of just 95 households.  That is 21 times more than the estimate IDS gave for his alleged ‘small’ number!  It also means IDS has STOLEN about £1.5m from Birmingham tenants and 87% of them will be disabled and two thirds – a million pounds alone – has been stolen from women in Birmingham so far this year by IDS.

That amount is rising by the day and that amount IDS calls ‘small!’

Even the London borough of Westminster announced they had 124 households who had been UNLAWFULLY IMPOSED (and no apologies for thee capitalisation or shouting – it deserves to be said for what it is and SHOUTED from the highest rooftops)

The DWP estimate for Westminster was 7…yes that’s seven but at the latest count it is 124 or almost 18 times the estimate of IDS.

The DWP estimate equates to just 0.76% of all bedroom tax cases yet Westminster is 12.7% (and see other figures below.)

So even London which has 22% of working age tenants affected by the bedroom tax compared with twice that number in the North West at 43% still has almost 13% of bedroom tax cases that were UNLAWFULLY IMPOSED by IDS’s cock up.  Make no mistake this is not a small loophole reader, it is a major major cock up and says so much about how thought through and considered the bedroom tax policy was!

Are there 60.000 families who have had the bedroom tax wrongly imposed?

Just How big is the ‘small’ issue IDS says it is?

Ready for some numbers on the pre 1996 exempt bedroom tax issue that will (a) expose that the policy is ill considered; that (b) blows the DWP’s estimate of a ‘small’ number of 3000 – 5000 only being affected by this, and (c) exposes that the coalition has no credibility over the bedroom tax and the wider welfare reforms it is imposing?

Yes thought you might so let’s have a look!

The DWP and Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud have all said the number of those households who were wrongly imposed with the bedroom tax as a result of the DWP’s error is between 3000 – 5000 nationally.  Let’s say 4000 which is the midpoint.

I estimated the number to be 40,000 or ten times the DWP amount of their midpoint of 4000.  This caused some commotion and was the lead story on the front page of the Guardian.  It has also been covered on Sky News and elsewhere such as the housing media when my 40,000 estimate has always been seen as the highest estimate.  It will shortly form part of a Dispatches programme on Channel 4 in early February as well

So was I so far off the real figure or was my 40,000 an underestimate or if you will, and no pun intended,  a conservative estimate?

It is very much looking like the latter as the table below of early figures suggests.

DWP fig

40,000 fig

Early figs

If national average

  Exeter

5

47

31

26,000

  Milton Keynes

12

122

78

25,400

  St Helens

24

243

456

74,500

  Sefton

24

240

500+

83,000

  Waltham Forest

11

112

146+

51,600

  West Lancashire

8

83

150+

72,300

  Wirral

29

289

528

72,800

  TOTALS

117

1136

1889

  AVERAGES

16

162

270

57,900

Column 1 is the local council name: Column 2 is what the council should have with the 4000 DWP est.

Column 3 is the number the 40,000 estimate should give: Column 4 is the early number identified

Column 5 is the extrapolated figure

What the early figures shows is that it may well be much higher than my 40,000 estimate and circa 60,000 households wrongly imposed with the bedroom tax.

Some notes as to why the figures above are a conservative estimate.

  • The figures are in many cases from just one landlord in each area and usually the former council housing department which has stock transferred.  So in for example Sefton above the figures will be higher when other housing associations in Sefton are added to the 500+ figure given to colleagues at Reclaim today by One Vision Housing
  • The figures will NOT include those that have succeeded to the tenancy since 1996 who if the continuous HB claim criterion is met will also be exempt.
  • The figures have been given to me from councils and from housing associations

Yet the real issue is just how incompetent is the DWP estimate of 4000 compared to the final figure which I suggest may well be 60,000 if not more

Just the figures above from seven council areas alone has taken up almost 50% of the entire DWP estimate for the whole of the country and there are over 300 more to add to this!

Even if the lowest ‘early’ figure of Exeter equates to the final figure it will still be 26,000 families across the country that have wrongly had the bedroom tax imposed.

Just how little is the knowledge of and the forethought put into the bedroom tax by the coalition?

What does this say about the bedroom tax and the other welfare reforms of this coalition?

If it is 60,000 households each with 2.4 persons in each household then that is 144,000 men women and children who have been wrongly imposed with the bedroom tax and that is one hell of a lot of offensive consequences for those people.

It’s a number that is the size of the population in Blackpool or Windsor or Oxford or Middlesbrough or Ipswich or Guildford.  A number that only Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen has a greater population than in Scotland: A number that only Cardiff and Swansea better in Wales, and only Belfast beats in Northern Ireland.

It’s a number that Iain Duncan Smith says is small!!

It is conceivable when Liverpool and Knowsley figures are added to the other three areas of Sefton, St Helens and Wirral above that make up Merseyside that number alone may be more than 4000 households wrongly having the bedroom tax imposed and more than the DWP estimate for the whole country.  And note that Merseyside has less than 5% of all bedroom tax cases nationally.

  • Anyone still think this is going to be a small number?
  • Anyone still think my 40,000 original estimate was hot air and attention seeking?
  • Anyone still think the bedroom tax policy was well conceived?
  • Anyone still think the bedroom tax was well thought through?
  • Anyone still got any confidence in this coalition over the bedroom tax?
  • Anyone still got any confidence in the coalition’s wider welfare reforms?

Anyone still believe that the pre 1996 number focus is anything more than a clever political strategy by the DWP to move the focus away from the huge cock up they made and away from the bloody offensive impact it has had on tens of thousands of men women and children?

So now that the DWP risible estimate has been exposed for what it is I do wish the media would focus on what this has meant for those exempt.

  • Just how many have skipped at least one meal a day to pay for a tax they didn’t have to pay?
  • Just how many have not been able to afford to put the heating on because of this?
  • How many in addition to these numbers have already moved and left the family home because of this inept policy and the DWP cock up?  Yes these people are in addition to the numbers above too aren’t they reader?
  • How many families and wider families have lost the ‘family home’ due to this error and felt compelled and indeed advised to leave the family home they have decades of memories in?
  • How many have been evicted for bedroom tax arrears when the bedroom tax wasn’t due at all?  Whether the law sees that as “eviction by oppression” or not it most definitely means that in any other terms!

I ask again, is there anyone that still…..oh hang on…what’s that noise in the sky?  Is it hawkish solicitors circling ready to bombard all and sundry with compensation claims? Ahem!

If wrongly imposed bedroom tax tenants who are exempt because of the pre 1996 issue began a Parliamentary Ombudsman complaint against the DWP for maladministration.  And especially if they live in Chingford or Wirral West.

The procedure is tenant writes directly to DWP with the maladministration complaint (and copies this in to their local MP.)  If no response from DWP or an unsatisfactory one they then ask their MP to take up a Parliamentary Ombudsman complaint on their behalf which of course their MP can hardly refuse to do.

In Chingford that would see IDS launching a Parliamentary Ombudsman complaint against his own bedroom tax policy!! 

And Esther McVey having to do the same for Wirral West constituents which of course the above early figures in the table shows there are many of these tenants in her constituency who have had the bedroom tax wrongly imposed upon them!!

But imagine these Wirral tenants are in neighbouring Frank Field’s Wirral ward of Birkenhead.  Can you see Frank Field – he of tenants should brick up doorways or knock down walls due to the bedroom tax – standing up in the House of Commons to announce he has today launched 200 separate cases of maladministration against the DWPs bedroom tax policy?  Or any other opposition MP across the country doing the same?

Would it even matter if the maladministration claim was not upheld?  I doubt it would (though suggest such claims may well be upheld) as just the spectacle and political embarrassment this would cause and just how much doubt this would cast on the coalition’s credibility is more than enough.  Maybe more than enough to prevent the coalition changing the legislation as this would be seen as a cover up for their cock up in the first place…and of course keep this cock up (which they risibly call a loophole!!) firmly in front of the full glare of the media.

Anyone still think this is “small?”  No didn’t think so!!

UPDATE 5 Feb 2014

It appears Birmingham has just announced at Cabinet that the numbers there are 2000+ and rising and not all landlords figures in yet.  IDS and DWP estimate for Birmingham was 95 – so it is over 21 times the DWP estimate!

Earlier today LB Westminster (DWP est of just 7 households) revealed it was 124 or almost EIGHTEEN TIMES the DWP estimate

Pictures tell numbers so much better and here is a very quick chart that shows just how wrong, badly wrong IDS and the DWP got this estimate, which I remind you dear reader is of those who have been UNLAWFULLY IMPOSED with the bedroom tax when they are exempt.

PRE96EXEMPT

What charts dont say is that, to date, IDS and the DWP have stolen at least £25m from those who are exempt and have had the bedroom tax imposed unlawfully…TWENTY FIVE MILLION.

Thanks to the data and research from ReClaim this means that about £17m has been stolen from women; about £4m or so stolen from family carers and a whopping TWENTY TWO MILLION STOLEN FROM THE DISABLED!

Yet we also now  know that IDS is going to change the legislation without debate or discussion on 3 March to make stealing £22m from the disabled lawful.

We need to stop this megalomaniac despot and deluded zealot from doing so.  You could do much worse than look at the very well received bedroom tax campaign pack here to see what you can do to stop the zealous IDS from the orgasm he will have fro being a despot and changing the bedroom tax legislation to make it lawful to steal £22m per year from the disabled

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12 thoughts on “The UNLAWFUL bedroom tax imposed by IDS sees him steal £22m from the disabled!

  1. It entirely depends on the enterpretation of a housing benfit claim. If it merely consists of a single continuous uninterrupted claim, with no restarts due to official bungling or declarations of ‘change of circumstance’ then IDS may well be being pessimistic, not optimistic. They could easily escape on that technicality, forcing cases into laborious appeals.
    So what are the facts, chapter and verse, about the eligibility to Bedroom Tax? Can we see some relevant quotes from the act, for a start?

  2. Does anyone know who found this loophole? There appear to be different people / organisations laying claim to its discovery

  3. Can I ask if as you state “f it is 60,000 households each with 2.4 persons in each household then that is 144,000 men women and children who have been wrongly imposed with the bedroom tax and that is one hell of a lot of offensive consequences for those people” there is ONLY one claimant per tenancy/property thus the figure is surely being manipulated whilst totally correct I have no doubt, BUT quoting figures based on 2.4persons per address 2.4 persons DO NOT claim housing benefit ONE person does so surely it’s 1 not 2.4 persons (although as i say I agree they are all affected but don’t all claim) thus I think this is possibly with all good faith mislead even more.

    Bedroom Tax Chat (on Facebook 🙂 )

    1. The Bedroom Tax affects everyone in the household as by definition and by fact there is less money in hat household. As such this is not just for effect rather it represents the reality

  4. Joe I understand that all members of the family are potentially affected BUT as I say ALL members of the family DO NOT pay rent thus surely all figures are divided by your 2.4 average NOT x it which you are supposing? the point I’m trying to make is IF as indeed I believe it to be correct that roughly only 60,000 divided by 2.4 (don’t have a calculator handy and maths is not my strong point 🙂 ) but would this figure not then look far better against the figures raised against successful exemptions rather than saying 10 were exempted here, 25 there etc you can say whatever the total of all exemptions are which will then make the still affected surely sit up and take notice if say 50% were already free of this (figure plucked out of the sky, simply for affect) can you see what I’m saying ?

    Bedroom Tax Chat on Facebook 🙂 “The original Facebook Bedroom Tax page”

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