Bedroom Tax – The private tenant can see his children, the social tenant can’t!

If you live in London, Land’s End or John O’Groats you get £71.70 in Job Seekers Allowance.  If you receive ANY welfare benefit it is the same wherever you live.  So why does a private tenant in Cardiff get 49% more in housing benefit and why does a private tenant in London get 289% more in housing benefit than a social tenant?

That can’t be right I hear you say reader, the government tell us that the bedroom tax is only the same in HB terms as the private tenant gets. Yet that is just another bedroom tax lie from IDS, Freud et al and as the table below shows if the tenant getting housing benefit has a private landlord they get between 49% more and 289% more in benefit.

Take the scenario of a single person or couple, that is a 1 bed household need and see what happens when they live in a 3 bedroom property.


SRS Rent









Cen London








































As you can see the Liverpool tenant gets 25% of his social rent deducted (the bedroom tax) and so receives £58.50 per week in housing benefit as his landlord is a social landlord.  Yet if he was to rent a private property the same tenant would get £92 per week in housing benefit.  This is 57% more.

Yet if the tenant was on JSA he would receive £71.70 whether his landlord was private or a social landlord.

The exact same goes for the Brighton tenant who would receive £72.75 in HB if he live in a social housing property but £150 per week and more than double if his landlord was a private landlord. And yes the same Brighton tenant would receive £71.70 in dole regardless of landlord.

The above figures for LHA come from the governments own website here and the average 3 bed social housing rent figures come from the redoubtable Ferret Information Systems which you can access here in all its 352 pages listing social rent levels and more across the country.

If the government feel it is acceptable, which they do, to pay £71.70 per week in dole wherever the benefit claimant lives and whether their landlord is social or private then how is it acceptable for the private tenant to be paid at least 50% more as the social tenant in housing benefit?

I am surprised nobody has used this as a bedroom tax appeal argument as I would love to see what the first tier and especially the Upper Tribunal judges would make of a human rights argument that being a social tenant denies the right to family life which it does not do to a private tenant.

It can’t be right that say a separated parent can afford to have two spare bedrooms in a PRIVATE property for his children to come and stay yet a SOCIAL tenant cannot have this facility.  It cannot be right that all separated parents HAVE to live in PRIVATE rented accommodation if they want their children to stay over at weekends and in school holidays. Yet that is the reality of the bedroom tax and that simple and common example highlights the human rights arguments for a bedroom tax appeal.

Should the absent parent be forced to move into a property costing the taxpayer between 50% and 289% MORE just so he can see his children and the children can stay with the separated parent?  Of course not but yet again that is the reality of the ill-conceived, pernicious and blatantly discriminatory bedroom tax policy.

The “absent father” (and I detest that phrase though invariably it is the dad that has to leave) has his rights to see his children and his rights to his family denied and is discriminated against with the bedroom tax if he lives in a social housing property.

Why should the absent parent be forced to give up the social housing security of tenure he needs to provide much needed stability for his children as that is the ‘behavioural change’ the bedroom tax imposes on the absent parent in the nudge theory of IDS and Freud.

There must be tens of thousands of absent parents among the near 500,000 bedroom tax affected households for whom the bedroom tax policy denies them a right to family life in  secure social housing property.

So dear reader next time some government minister says the bedroom tax is only what Labour did to the private tenant in 2008 or in fact any MP says this you will know they are talking through their hat.  You will also know that the bedroom tax for absent parents means charge the state 50% – 289% more in benefit or risk losing access to your children.  You will also know just how ill-conceived, irrational and discriminatory the bedroom tax policy is.


Just as a footnote there are approximately 1.7m private tenants getting HB and this means they receive just over £2 billion (TWO THOUSAND MILLION) per year more than social tenants for same number of properties.

The bedroom tax with 498,000 paying £14.70 per week in average bedroom tax saves at most £381m per year (and added costs of it means it costs more than it saves)



14 thoughts on “Bedroom Tax – The private tenant can see his children, the social tenant can’t!

  1. Hi mate, Do you have any lists of councils who don’t use DLA for concessionary HB payments? and also any other tribunal decisions you have I’m helping Clive Betts MP and Ian Lavery MP re challenging this Cheers Neil

    Date: Sun, 23 Mar 2014 18:38:05 +0000 To:

  2. I have sent this to Iain Brodie-Browne Lib Dem Councillor who always quotes private sector with social housing when justifying fairness with the bedroom tax.

    1. I have just looked and there at 19 3 bed private properties available in Bootle alone at £400pcm. The 1 bed LHA rate for a single person is £395pcm. That was on rightmove and sure zoopla and other sites will have more

  3. “How is it acceptable for the private tenant to be paid at least 50% more as the social tenant in housing benefit?” – It is because private landlords charge more than social ones. My one-bedroom private let costs as much as a three-bedroom council house with a garden.

    If we had a three-bedroom private let, we would still have to make up the difference from our benefit – just like social tenants, because it would be judged as too big for us. Our LHA just about covers the rent, we don’t get to keep any of the money. Now the landlord wants to raise the rent (as it hasn’t been increased in the five years we lived here). Our benefit will have to cover the shortfall because there is nowhere else to move to.

    Now answer THIS: How is it that if my relationship breaks down, we will both end up homeless? Both of us are under 35 so are only entitled to a shared accommodation rate, if we became single. If either of us wanted to keep the flat, we would have to pay an extra £20 or so a week. How is that fair? I regard independent housing as a right, don’t you? I want the full control of expenditure, eg energy bills. I want to use the bathroom, whenever I need to. I want to be able to stay up all night, when insomnia hits without worrying about inconveniencing a stranger in the other room. I want privacy.

    LHA is set to pay for the third cheapest flats on the market regardless of what your rent actually is. Take your data and actually check what is available on the market. Can you find even one house that is good enough for you, never mind your children? Private lets are generally in a poor state of repair and landlords don’t give a toss – you can move out if you don’t like it, they say. Recently, it became almost impossible to rent a flat – no DSS, you see. Still, it is possible to find a one-bedroom house that is covered by LHA even if the rent is the only thing going for the house. When it comes to a single person under 35 who has to find a room – it is impossible as ALL rooms are more expensive than the LHA.

    My disability means that no stranger would really want to share a flat with me. Hell, sometimes I do not want to share my life with me. As it is, the landlord can give us only a two-month warning and we have to be out. So, if my relationship ends for any reason (including death), then I am really screwed. I will have to find a room for rent that I can afford (impossible) and then keep moving every six months or so once the other tenant realises all the unsociable aspects of my illness. I would have to get rid of all my furniture and general stuff or else pay the removal costs (can’t drive because of my disability), which I couldn’t afford. That is in addition to the heartbreak of a relationship breakdown. Then, in three years’ time, I will be judged old enough to have my own house. What will I furnish it with? If we had a council flat, one of us could stay on in it indefinitely.

    So ok, absent parents are favoured by the LHA but not all benefit claimants have children. Single people are much worse off. Especially disabled single people. The benefits are unfair but do not go pitching private tenants against social ones cos we are both in the same boat. It wasn’t us who sold off the council house stock. It wasn’t us who stopped building it. We didn’t vote the Tories in in the eighties and we didn’t vote them in four years ago. It’s not us getting rich or even living in cushy houses. It’s the private landlords’ greed and the buy to let scheme which allowed them to buy up the houses, cause a housing bubble and subsequent crisis and now left them unable to keep the houses in a liveable condition.

  4. Because Social rents are much cheaper than private rents.
    Private renters CANNOT afford spare rooms unless they are very very lucky and happen on a rare extremely cheap let.
    LHA rates are calculated with the same rules as the bedroom tax: number of bedrooms dependent on your circumstances.
    The amount you get then depends on where you live and is set at the bottom third of rents. This means that you should be able to afford the bottom third of properties of that type in your area. In practise it will be less as many landlords will refuse to take people on Housing Benefit.

    Recent studies show that over a third of people in private let have a shortfall in rent which they have to make up out of their benefits.
    To make things even better most private tenants can be kicked out at a couple of months notice.
    As the previous commenter said, take your figures and check available lettings. If you can find 3 bedroom properties with a 1 bedroom LHA allowance, then you’re a miracle worker.

    1. As social housing receives £1.2bn per year in capital subsidy this equates to a subsidy of £6.05 per property per week and so a private property should be £6.05 pw more expensive to negate the subsidy. English Housing Survey 2013 has average social rent at £83pw and average private rent at £163pw – at £80pw more expensive and £74 more expensive per week when the subsidy is removed then PRS rents are simply profligate and take the mickey out of the tenant AND out of the taxpayer. And as others have said social housing is of much higher quality and has much greater security for the tenant – better product at a better price

  5. my niece visited me today, her & her partner & baby are moving into a 4 bed private rented house in 2 wks, she stated that she was entitled to £450 housing benefit per month, my hubby & i are only allowed £268 per month for our 3 bed social housing home, which we have lived in for 25 years, we have to pay £23.45 per week bedroom tax, my MP the dreaded Ms McVey has the cheek to say the bedroom tax was brought in because it was not fair on PRS tenants who have to pay for more rooms that they want. and that the housing bill would go down if SR tenants affected by the BT moved into private sector accommodation. someone should give Ms McVey a calculator.
    my niece can have 2 extra bedrooms and a lot more HB, PERFECT EXAMPLE of this Gov
    penalising & showing their contempt to the social housing tenant.

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