Subtitle: Freud is a liar with the math skills of Osborne and data veracity of IDS
Subtitle: DHP payments reduced next year by £15m
Subtitle: Freud announces a sneaky £10m DHP cut THIS financial year
This weeks House of Lords debate with comments in red
Housing: Underoccupancy Charge
Asked by Baroness Hollis of Heigham
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to revise their underoccupancy charge so that, as in the private rented sector from 2008, it applies only to new tenants.
NOTE: LHA for private tenants only applied to new private tenants, the bedroom tax applied to all existing social tenants is the context
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): My Lords, as restrictions on entitlement to housing benefit based on accommodation size have been in place in the private rented sector since 1989, the local housing allowance introduced in April 2008 could be phased in. We have no plans to make similar arrangements for the removal of the spare room subsidy, which has already been applied, as it delivers a consistent approach to the treatment of housing benefit claimants across both the private and social rented sectors.
Baroness Hollis of Heigham (Lab): My Lords, the sectors are very different. The private rented sector seeks to make profit out of people’s housing benefit. That does not apply to social housing. Social tenants hit by the bedroom tax, through no fault of their own, are now trapped. They are unable to move to smaller social housing as it does not exist. They are unable to move to private housing because private landlords are rejecting or evicting them. They are unable to get discretionary housing payments because most are refused. Debts are mounting and lives are being destroyed. Will the Government please at least apply the bedroom tax only to new tenants who can cope with the new rules, as in 2008, perhaps over a transitional period until we have enough new housing to meet housing need?
Lord Freud: My Lords, the number of transfers into one-bedroom social rented accommodation in the past year is running at 108,000. (Is this higher or lower reader Freud doesnt say does he?) There are more people in the private rented sector, not fewer, (NB Freud does not say here that private tenants get on average over 30% more in HB than social tenants does he reader?) and DHPs are—if anything—underspent. Our indications are that they will be underspent. I am pleased to say that in Norwich, with which I know the noble Baroness is very closely associated, the spend was a little higher: £166,000 in the six months, against the allocation of £288,000. I am puzzled that Norwich has not put in a bid for additional (see below) funding. I urge it to do so because it has until 3 February to do it.
Lord Dholakia (LD): My Lords, will my noble friend indicate what discussions are taking place with local authorities to ensure that they and the public are aware of the discretionary housing payments?
Lord Freud: My Lords, we have a range of meetings and interactions with local authorities. In particular, at the moment we now have a £20 million discretionary fund on which they can bid. I am hoping to get as much of that money to them as possible. (As much as possible? So it is not all going in DHPs then!! See below for sneaky £10m cut before March 2014)
Lord Jenkin of Roding (Con): My Lords, the House is becoming very well aware that the party opposite does not approve of the removal of the spare bedroom subsidy. Could the Minister confirm that if the policy were reversed, it might cost as much as £1 billion over the next two years? Would the Opposition not be a little more convincing if they could give us some idea of how they would replace that?
Lord Freud: My Lords, this is a substantial saving, as my noble friend says. Our central estimate is that we will save £500 million a year on this programme, which makes it an important contributor to the Government’s deficit plan. If the Opposition maintain their policy, they need to look at how to find that money back. Not only that, they will run the risk of having to have a similar policy in the private rented sector.
OH DEAR..£1BN OVER TWO YEARS? Lets look at that shall we and how definitive of the ignoble conniving Lord to say “WILL!”
- Currently there are 523,000 hit by the bedroom tax according to official DWP figures. Yes the same DWP in which Freud works!
- The average bedroom tax is £14pw or £728 pa.
- 523,000 multiplied by £728 is the MAXIMUM yearly saving and this is £381m.
- £381m per year is AT MOST £762m in two years.
Then of course take out the 40,000 to 60,000 pre-1996 cases at £728 per year and this is a £29m reduction per year. Then take out the DHP money (and I so could go on but you get the point!)
Yes the point that Lord Freud is knowingly and deliberately misleading Parliament or in lay terms lying through his teeth
Lord Best (CB): My Lords, has the Minister had a chance to read the report from the Defra Select Committee, chaired by Anne McIntosh MP in the other place? It recommends that rural communities should be exempt from the bedroom tax because it is so difficult for people in rural areas to move down to smaller premises. Staying put means they can be paying £25 a week that they were not paying before, creating a great deal of hardship. Has the Minister had a chance to read that report and react to it?
Lord Freud: My Lords, I have looked very closely at the issue of rural communities. That was why, this year, we put in an extra £5 million a year to handle the subsidy arrangements, which buys out a substantial proportion of the cost of this policy.
The Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds: My Lords, what flexibility is there for housing authorities in the implementation of the underoccupancy charge in circumstances such as when a child dies and the house thereby becomes underoccupied?
Lord Freud: The basic principle here is that when a child dies or there is a death, there is a 12-month run-on so that tenants remain entitled to that room for that full year. However, the underpinning support for making sure that these cases of hardship are managed is clearly the discretionary housing fund, which is running at £180 million this year and will be at £165 million next year.
How many lies here reader?
The original amount of bedroom tax DHP was £25m of the £150m overall budget. Yet Freud is saying here this applies solely to the bedroom tax and in doing so he is knowingly and deliberately lying again.
The total amount of bedroom tax DHP money is at most £45m and possibly £35m this year see below for the conniving and sneaky £10m reduction in this years DHPs. Yet Freud is trying to say it is £180m isn’t he!!
He is also sneaking in an announcement that this year it is £180m yet all other coalition figures have been saying it is £190m this year. So when I asked above reader is ALL of this money going to be spent we now see Freud admitting that £10m of this is NOT going to be spent.
Then we see Freud using this £10m reduction this financial year to make the FURTHER £15m per year cut to DHPs – a total of £25m in all – look smaller than it actually is. What a sneaky little shit!
I don’t excuse the language reader, the cap fits!