Never underestimate the incompetence of local government!
“Never Underestimate The Incompetence or NUTI is usually followed by the word “of local government” and the bedroom tax has demonstrated that time and time again.
The pre-1996 exemption reveals that every decision maker in every local council got this wrong. Whether you think that’s harsh or not its undoubtedly factual and its undoubted and universal maladministration by ALL local councils which the DWP’s maladministration in steering them down this blind alley is no excuse.
It is a cock up of monumental proportion, in fact universal proportion and it is maladministration of universal proportion too and it is monumentally offensive to those who have suffered the impact and consequences of having the bedroom tax imposed in error.
Terms such as ‘technical error’ and ‘loophole’ abound over the pre-1996 issue but they just don’t cut it and are used as political spin or sophistry to try and soften the real issues that this is universal maladministration and a monumental cock up…. Never Underestimate The Incompetence of central and local government in what HAS happened and also the NUTI boys are in evidence again in what they are doing now!
Local councils are seeking to reclaim the discretionary housing payments (DHP) they gave to tenants who they now admit they wrongly applied the bedroom tax deductions to!
Yet local councils have no authority to do this and are acting unlawfully again in seeking the DHP money back!
Madness. Madness, they call it madness – Yes the NUTI boys are in evidence again and this is more than an embarrassment as tenants in St Helens are finding out.
Received a letter just the other day, Dont seem they wanna know you no more, They’ve laid it down giving you the score….Yet Ian Roberts, Assistant Chief Executive (Finance) at St Helens Council as the song continues “”How can you show your face, When you’re a disgrace to the human race?”
The simple explanation is the DHP guidance document issued by the DWP in April 2013 says at 5.10 that you can only reclaim a DHP if any of three circumstances exist.
- Firstly that the tenant misrepresented facts when they applied for a DHP and that does not apply.
- Secondly, if the tenant failed to disclose a material fact and that does not apply either
- Thirdly and finally if there was an error when the (DHP) claim was determined and that doesn’t apply either. The error was in the HB claim not the DHP claim and that error was made by your council.
- want your tenants to perceive you as being in cahoots with the local councils in this FURTHER maladministration farce?
- want to tenants to think even less of you and your efforts in challenging the bedroom tax than they do already?
- realise what that will mean when direct payment of HB goes to tenants and not to you and how low paying rent will be in tenant priorities?
- even realise that the bedroom tax directly creates an unhealthy tension between tenant and landlord that until now you have done little but foster and enhance?
- not realise that the pre-1996 issue when you are identifying as many pre-1996 cases as possible if a gift on a silver platter for you to restore the landlord tenant relationship?
- not realise if all you do is identify pre-1996 cases and do bugger all to stop LAs trying it on by wanting DHPs back and you dont help tenants fight this that you are even deeper in the brown smelly stuff than you are now?
- Do you social landlord ever think?
- Do you social landlord want to be an embarrassment too?
The pre-1996 issue has many facets and councils trying to take back DHPs from tenants who they wrongly imposed the bedroom tax creates much more tensions that need not happen.
Tenants have contacted me to say after having the bedroom tax that was wrongly deducted repaid to their landlord their rent accounts are in credit due to the DHP payments. Those tenants want that money back YET social landlords are holding on to it in fear of the local councils claiming back an overpayment from them.
Yet as the above explains no such overpayment exists as a DHP is NOT subject to HB regulations and a DHP can ONLY be recovered in the circumstances I outline above and none of these three circumstances exist in this situation.
The St Helens letter is below and the above commentary needs to be read in conjunction with it and I will just make one final point. The letter begins “Following a change in your circumstances..” – There has NOT been a ‘change in circumstances’ at all as this is a defined term in HB regulations and even if HBR were to apply to a DHP which they do not, this would NOT be a change in circumstances in HBR terms. The council is simply trying it on and is incompetent.
Tenants in this situation should also quote the above to their councils if they get such an erroneous letter and also ask their local council about what interest payments they are prepared to make to the tenant on the bedroom tax unlawfully withheld and any other compensation payment they are going to make for their incompetence in the original decision and how much extra they are willing to pay for this added maladministration in seeking to recover the DHP which are not recoverable.
Do my eyes deceive me reader? Just looked into the sky and there appears to be those solicitors in cheap shoes type (always a giveaway!) dressed in some form of bird costumes (looks like hawks) holding clipboards and seeking directions to social housing estates! Whatever are they doing?
The offensive St Helens letter: