Is the bedroom tax just a convenient policy which allows social landlords to deflect attention away from their decades of incompetence in social housing? Yes it is and in allowing the bedroom tax myths to go unchallenged in the public’s mind, of which the bedroom tax is just the latest example, social landlords permit the vilification of social housing and the social tenant to flourish because they are incompetent.
There are so many myths around the bedroom tax and I don’t just mean the nonsense of social media sites that say Muslims are allowed a spare room as a prayer room or that paedophiles and sex offenders are exempt, both of which are bollocks. I mean real genuine myths used as propaganda for the coalition…and critically myths that social landlords fail to counter as they allow myth to become fact because social landlords as a (purported) sector are bloody incompetent and they do not know how to campaign or raise awareness of just how great social housing is in ECONOMIC terms for the taxpayer.
For example we (the general public) are told the bedroom tax levels the playing field for the social tenant to that of the private tenant or Labour introduced the bedroom tax in 2008 for private tenants so whats the problem for doing so with the bedroom tax which is the same argument and of course total and utter bollocks
Scenario – Take a single man of 35 in Liverpool
The private rented option is that he will get £395 per calendar month in housing benefit which from a quick look at http://www.rightmove.co.uk can afford 65 currently available 3 bed private properties price at £400 per calendar month.
Yet that same man is given a 3 bed social property with a rent of £400 pcm and he will receive only £300 per month towards that property as the bedroom tax takes 25% deduction
Now dear reader try this wherever you live and you will find exactly the same that (a) the private tenant gets so much more in housing benefit and (b) costs the public purse so much more and (c) the private tenant is ALLOWED to live in under occupied accommodation.
Even in ridiculously priced housing in London the 1 bed private housing benefit rate of over £250 per week can afford any 3 bed social property and that is common right across the country whether you live in Land’s End or John O’Groats and everywhere in between.
Now what does this mean nationally for the taxpayer? (Using Tory narrative)
There are 1.7m people renting privately and claiming housing benefit and each private tenant receives on average £24 per week more in ‘handouts’ than the ‘handouts’ given to the social tenant.
So that’s £24 per week times 52 weeks and we see the private tenant gets about £1200 per year more in handouts than the social tenant
£1200 per week more in ‘hardworking taxpayer handouts’ for 1.7m scroungers sees the public purse pay OVER £2 BILLION PER YEAR MORE TO THE PRIVATE TENANT than to the social tenant for the same property.
Yes reader this is the same private tenant who is ALLOWED to under occupy a property at the states expense and without any bedroom tax or being labelled as a scrounger.
The same private tenant who is ALLOWED to have a SPARE room that the government want to deny and tax the social tenant for.
Hang on Joe you’ve missed out the fact that social tenants are ‘subsidised!’
Yes reader it is true that social housing gets £1.2bn per year in subsidy yet private housing costs £2bn per year more in higher housing benefit.
So private housing costs £800m per year more to the taxpayer than social housing AND that’s double the cost of and highly superficial £400m pa bedroom tax saving?
Yes true but that’s only half the story reader.
The £1.2bn per year given to ALL social housing and not just the tenants claiming benefit is an invest to save policy. The £1.2bn invested produces a saving of £2bn as without it the social tenant would be charged and have to receive the same level of housing benefit that the private tenant gets.
After all that is fair isn’t it everyone getting the same level of benefit? Yes that is why JSA and all other benefits are the same level right across the country.
YET the £1.2bn invested in social housing prevents social tenants having to receive the same amount in housing benefit than the private tenant which is £24 per week or so more….and there are 3.4m social tenants claiming housing benefit.
So here’s the simple bit reader. Take the £1.2bn of subsidy out of social housing and the 3.4m social tenants would have to receive £24 per week or £1200 per year more in housing benefit.
Oh I see now Joe so if we take away the ‘subsidy’ that social housing receives of £1.2bn per year it would cost the taxpayer OVER £4 BILLION PER YEAR MORE. Yes reader you have it now and the easiest way to put this is social housing gets £1.2bn per year to save the taxpayer £4bn per year!
I see so this is not a subsidy at all then, it is bloody good sense! Yes it is.
Hang on Joe are you saying the vilified social housing sector which is also said to be ‘subsidised’ as if it costs the taxpayer actually saves the taxpayer billions PER YEAR? Yes that is exactly right reader as the above figures prove.
So Joe why does the government attack the social tenant and social housing as being subsidised and why do the government not attack the far more costly and FAR HIGHER PRIVATE SECTOR HOUSING TAXPAYER COST?
That’s called politics reader!
Now come on Joe surely if the above was true, not that I’m doubting your figures which are correct, then social landlords or the social housing ‘sector’ as they call themselves would be shouting this from the rooftops and letting the general public and their hearts and minds know all of this! It make huge economic sense for the country after all and social housing produces a huge financial saving for the country. It is not this pathetically subsidised service that is being painted of scroungers etc. And it means that the lower rents charged in social housing has far less ‘welfare dependency’ than private housing as the private tenant needs to earn more to take a job given his higher housing costs.
Yes dear reader…but that just shows that social landlords don’t sell their service and don’t sell and raise awareness of how good social housing is for the country and just how much social housing saves the .
Joe are you saying that social landlords and its alleged lobbies in the Chartered Institute of Housing and National Housing Federation couldn’t market themselves out of a wet paper bag? Are you saying the Labour Party and in fact all political parties none of who advocate social housing don’t know what they are doing and just don’t realise how good social housing is for the economy? Are you saying Joe that the taxpayer is being hoodwinked over this into believing they pay more in tax and not less in tax because of social housing?
No dear reader it is the facts saying that!
What I am saying reader is that social landlords need to get off their fat lazy and overpaid arses and start to sell social housing. Social housing provides the best standard of rented housing with the best level of customer service and protection and at the lowest cost.
In what other industry would the best product and the best service with a huge demand (waiting lists) be seen as the lowest of the low? Yet that is what social housing is seen as, the housing of last resort and the great and the good of social housing have allowed that to happen over decades juts as they have allowed the hearts and minds of the general public to be swayed by the bedroom tax and other welfare reform spin.
Social housing has no advocates. Not even within social housing or at least those who can get the message across that social housing is a huge economic success for the country and for the taxpayer.
Just what the hell have they been doing. Why has social housing, this reputed ‘sector’ not sold what they do to the public? That is unforgivable and incredible ineptitude and a huge hole that no one has chosen to fill or even thought to fill.
Yet before every party conference and with every new housing minister and before every general election you read that social housing is a central issue and a key one on the agenda. Absolute bollocks and deluded fantasy takes hold yet again amongst housing professionals and organisations. The general public, and five-sixths of them are not social tenants remember, couldn’t give a flying fig about social housing and their only issue is to make sure there is no more of ti around where they live!
Social landlords and their lobbies and umbrella groups have allowed the housing of last resort tag to become common currency before the welfare reforms and this allows the bedroom tax and other policies to put in the final knife and twist it till the last drop of blood flows out.
Social landlords unless they act radically and quickly will soon see social housing dead and despite the huge economic benefits it brings to the country and despite it saving every taxpayer money. Let social housing die and the economy is well and truly f*cked yet that is what social landlords are doing. Social housing needs to re-invent itself as a movement, not the political movement it was often seen as, the old dinosaur of alleged socialism, but as an economic movement and persuade the hearts and minds of the huge economic benefits it brings.
Now i am being naive reader aren’t I? Social landlords being proactive? Being able to get any message across as a ‘sector’ …in fact social landlords just being able….