Why don’t we campaign for IDS to resign Joe? No need the Tory party vultures will do it for us I replied.
The ‘great’ experiment with the bedroom tax has cost the Tories any hope of winning the next election. The bedroom tax is a putrid, fetid carcass that is getting up everyone’s nose and it’s not a question of IF the bedroom tax is dead, it’s when.
I predict no later than May 2014 the bedroom tax will be no more and this despised and pernicious policy will be the night of the long knives for IDS and Freud though the decidedly not fragrant McVey will survive for another day in the sun yet the acrid smell she has around her will fester awhile.
By 16th May the DWP need to enter the Upper Tribunal to appeal the room size issues that Fife threw up as this is 6 months since they were granted permission to do so and DWP cannot win that Upper Tribunal case with the sheer weight of first tier tribunal wins on room size. The DWP knows that the Upper Tribunal will not be able to resist the scores of bedroom tax appeals winning on room size by the day. The DWP knows, as does the Tory hierarchy that they will lose any appeal and in doing so more than a hundred thousand households will be taken out of the bedroom tax altogether or have it reduced from 25% to 14%.
The risk of losing is far too high in political terms coming less than a year before the next election.
Yet by May 2014 tenants will have appealed over this first years bedroom tax decision and have appealed over next financial year’s bedroom tax decision too, should local councils be stupid enough to make these legally unreliable decisions. The room usage arguments that the Bolton Upper Tribunal obviates of a bedroom being a room used and furnished as a sleeping room will ensure mass appeals and rightly so. Not for the sake of direct action but because they are just and no local council KNOWS what use tenants put their rooms, rooms not bedrooms mind, to; Or do councils know how rooms are furnished.
Councils to make legally reliable decisions have to KNOW how rooms are used and furnished and the only way they can do that is to incur the huge additional cost to THEM, not to central government, of going out to inspect each and every property. That is something councils will not do and should not do and instead they must tell central government correctly that as the agents of the DWP they (a) cannot make a legally reliable decision if they don’t inspect, and (b) they will not go to the expense of inspecting. Local councils even Tory-run ones must grow a set and tell central government of this.
The picture by the way is the Tory party fighting over the bones of IDS and the bedroom tax policy he holds dear and reader I have spared you the real gory imagery in the above picture. Imagine a pack of hyenas or vultures circling overhead and that is the Tory party to IDS. IDS will see what ruthless is when his bedroom tax is finally defeated which won’t be via a 10 minute rule bill or and early day motion it is when the tenant proves the pen is mightier than the sword.
When tenants use that pen to sign their names to the inevitable standard letters of appealing this years bedroom tax decision and if local councils are stupid enough to make 2014/15 bedroom tax decisions to them too.
Ask the bedroom tax tenant to sign a petition against this years bedroom tax and a further signature for next year’s and they will do it in a flash. Yet a petition wont work but two appeal letters will and all they require is two signatures and yes it really is that simple reader.
ALL of the current 523,000 housing benefit decisions to impose the bedroom tax in the first place are legally unreliable and all it takes is a signature on a letter from the tenant to correct that In doing so the bedroom tax is dead.
Every single bedroom tax household has legitimate cause to appeal because the decision-making process was a sham, a legal sham as I have maintained all along. That is wrong Joe said so many. The tribunals are not concerned with process or how a decision is made only what decisions was made I was told. Yet the courts are concerned with it and rightly so for it is a sham. Tribunal judges at the first tier tribunals KNOW it was a sham as should every council despite their futile but understandable objections to attempt to justify these sham decisions. Nobody likes their decisions overruled but the number of successful appeals on room size and soon to be room usage en masse say that and individual HB officers at individual councils just have to accept their decision they were forced to make by DWP were and are a sham.
Local councils could not and did not KNOW what use tenants rooms are put to and how they are furnished. That is the rub in its simplest form and the courts are having none of it. This is real justice at work and ‘British justice’ that no politician can spin their way out of by saying this is a removal of a subsidy that is economically justified. It is not and the bedroom tax DOES cost the public purse more than it could ever save and I have co-authored a piece on this that will appear this week.
There is no economic justification for the bedroom tax policy and very shortly Joe Public will know that.
They won’t necessarily care that the burden of costs will fall on local government and the smug IDS and smug Treasury at central government will make a saving. Joe Public once it realises the simple statement that the bedroom tax costs the taxpayer more than it saves will kill the bedroom tax.
Joe Public already knows the downsizing rationale doesn’t work and when it knows the bedroom tax costs MORE than it saves they will simply say then what is the point…what is the point of the misery it causes to people they know who are not scroungers…what is the point of the policy at all if it does not save money…and it must mean the bedroom tax was a political attack and incredibly ill-considered and reveals this coalition have no credibility.
Coming on top of the huge numbers of tenants who have had the bedroom tax imposed UNLAWFULLY and the DWP having admitted that and having admitted it was THEIR error and on top of the Universal Credit fiasco and huge public purse cost of that ill-considered IDS and Freud brainwave, then the policy is dead and politically so is Iain Duncan Smith.
The Tories may well try to spin this as the brave IDS who tried valiantly to take on the burgeoning cost of ‘welfare’ and heroically failed. Yet the fact all he did was increase the cost and have Joe Public confronted with TV news programmes of very deserving disabled people in huge distress because of this pernicious policy and the Tory war on the scrounger policy has been and will come back to haunt the Tory party.
The bedroom tax and the wider welfare reform policies have become an electoral millstone around Tory necks and the Tories know that. The gentleman’s clubs and the 1922 committees and the Reform Clubs and the rest of the places the Tory establishment frequent and decide policy and strategy know taht the bedroom tax is a lost cause and know IDS is a lost cause and will side with the arch enemy of IDS, in Osborne and play up the alleged upturn in the economy and the phrase ‘long term economic plan’ (LTEP) that so many sycophantic back benchers have been told to repeat as a mantra at every turn will be trotted out and trotted out and trotted out.
Indeed shifting cost from central to local government which is what the bedroom tax has done will make Osborne even more of the ‘blue-eyed boy’ in the Tory hierarchy and Pickles will do his best to stop Tory local councils lobbying DWP of the huge added costs they face in administering the bedroom tax. Yet there are so many more Labour-run councils who WILL grow a set and even for Lib Dem ones who will be keen to disassociate the Lib Dems who they got into bed with in this coalition. Even UKIP who were the first party to say they would repeal the bedroom tax know that the bedroom tax is toxic and a pungent fetid rotting political corpse.
In summary, reader, the appeal template letters will come out and be widely available for your very ease of use shortly. Sign them and issue them to your local council. It costs you nothing to do, there is no cost other than a first class stamp should you be unable to hand the letter in personally. You dear reader, the humble tenant have the death of the bedroom tax and the getting rid of the acrid smell it has in your hands. You hold the aces and you have the power to do this and I strongly suspect you will go through with putting your X on the standard letters which is the same as not putting a X next to the Tory party candidate in any election.