Bedroom Tax – HoC library politicised? Or do they not do maths?

The House of Commons library is and has to be a non-political source yet their latest report on the bedroom tax released today reveals they are either politicised and issuing pro-government propaganda or they are incompetent.

Page 1 paragraph 2 sees: –

The estimated savings in each year arising from the measure are £490 million in 2013-14,
£525 million in 2014-15 and £560 million in 2015-16

Skip to page 4 and we see a table of the official data each month from May 2013 to Feb 2014 which I reproduce and this demonstrates that the bedroom tax could not possibly save the figures the government claim and which the House of Commons Library simple repeats:

Month Number Wkly average Yearly £
May-13 547341 £14.65 £418,396,257
Jun-13 542,223 £14.56 £411,937,658
Jul-13 530378 £14.52 £401,831,800
Aug-13 522905 £14.48 £395,078,632
Sep-13 513237 £14.42 £386,167,217
Oct-13 508073 £14.41 £382,016,641
Nov-13 498174 £14.40 £374,313,710
Dec-13 491741 £14.39 £369,223,554
Jan-14 488328 £14.35 £365,641,694
Feb-14 477601 £14.32 £356,862,103
Average £386,146,927


My table using the official figures shows that in May 2013 there were 547,431 households hit by the bedroom tax which had an average cut of £14.65 per week.  This would see a maximum saving (which note well incredulously assumes the bedroom tax holds no costs whatsoever) of £418.39m in a full year.

As each successive month reveals both the number of affected households hit by the bedroom tax has reduced as has the average weekly amount.  The latest figures for Feb 2014 revealing a maximum possible saving of £356.86m

The average maximum saving is then computed and is given at £386.146m above.

Set aside the many valid arguments which show that the bedroom tax costs more than it saves and that the coalition in its naivety assumes it has absolutely zero cost whatsoever (what are DHPs if not costs etc) then why do we see the highly regarded and usually highly independent House of Commons Library persisting with the government propaganda that the bedroom tax will save £490m in its first year?

Is it any wonder than 651 MPs dont have a bloody clue when they read inept and incompetent research such as this?

Surely the austerity cuts are not that deep that the House of Commons Library researchers cannot go down to Poundland and buy a calculator!!

Or has the HoC Library succumbed to the IDS level of dismissing numbers as mere pesky facts?

This simple blog took 5 minutes to draft and that includes the numbers which the HoC library failed to crunch in a bog standard spreadsheet or with a £1 calculator

Whatever the reason this report and research has for this woeful opening statement and assertion that £490m can even in theory be saved is inexcusable and damages the deserved high reputation of the HoC Library as independent.  Get it sorted!





14 thoughts on “Bedroom Tax – HoC library politicised? Or do they not do maths?

  1. They don’t do maths!! How many households can downsize into properties that do not exist? should have been the primary question that was asked, prior to the introduction of the under occupancy penalty charge!

  2. ‘They’ do not do maths or truth! I have lived in my home ( 3 bedroom house) for 22years the weekly rent is £82, my daughter is now 23 years old and has no longer lives at home which means I am charged 25% bedroom tax for two ‘ spare ‘ rooms! Not only is their a lack of smaller properties ( the majority of them are privately owned) the average weekly rent is between £100-£120!!

  3. The original “saving” figures were produced on the basis that NONE of the affected households were able to move to smaller properties. So it was obvious that from the start that they planned on people having nowhere else to go, hence effectively planned and costed on hitting the most vulnerable and pushing them into financial hardship and worse.

    If their own logic (I know – let’s not get into that debate) was to be followed, as more people found alternative accommodation, fewer households would be paying the Tax, and hence I would have expected the projected figures to go down not up.

    The figures are obviously wrong for the current year. Even so, how do they calculate the INCREASES for the following years? Do they know something we don’t? Increases can only come if (1) more households are dragged into it or (2) the current charges will be increased. Increases in the number of households affected could only be achieved if the tax is extended to other housing types or households. The increases might also be found if there was a reduction in the availability of alternative housing for those affected, for example.

  4. The figures contained in the front page summary are Government estimates of the savings arising from the measure. Sections 2.8 and 2.9 of the note refer to research in which the Government estimates have been challenged.

    1. This is highly disingenuous for a number of reasons.

      Firstly, the paper OPENS with the DWP claimed savings figure and sets the scene with these disingenuous figures. Hence a potential querying of them in the York figures is akin to a front page headline and a half-hearted retraction on the bottom of page 6.

      Secondly, the paper states that all analyses to date use the first 6 months of bedroom tax data ad is critical of this outdated data. So to excuse or attempt to explain away this glaring omission that the claimed figures are not mathematically possible is duplicitous as well

      As I say in the blog I (and everyone else) has a high regard for the independence and clarity and objectivity of all previous HoC research reports and that is deserved; yet in this case a huge mistake has been made and a significant obvious oversight has occurred and so rather than trying to explain it away in this woeful manner it would be far better to admit the oversight which is something we are all capable of doing.

  5. Reblogged this on Vox Political and commented:
    The mind boggles at the persistence of claims that there are no costs related to the Bedroom Tax. How many appeals have there been, now? How many extra Discretionary Housing Payments? What about the extra costs of housing people who are evicted and become a burden on their local councils, who have to house them in bed and breakfast accommodation?
    And then there are the suicides. I don’t know how many there have been, but there certainly have been some. What happens to the people left behind and how much does THAT cost – in monetary terms alone?

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