On the same day as the cabinet reshuffle the DWP released a 163-page interim report into the bedroom tax. Unfortunately this deliberate burial of a report is the best that can be said for it as it really is that bad.
Firstly it only records the first 5 months of the bedroom tax from April 2013 to August 2013 and so this report is already ELEVEN MONTHS OUT OF DATE.
Secondly, the authors of this report who include some well known and respected figures should hang their heads in shame for the content, the quality and the outrageous bias in this report…which I remind is 11 months out of date and purposeless.
Let’s begin with the Executive Summary which starts on page 13.
This Interim Report presents early findings from the evaluation of the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy (RSRS) undertaken by Ipsos MORI and the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research. A final report will be published in 2015.
We have already been told by Steve Webb, then a minister at DWP, that the final report will be published in Summer 2015, that is AFTER the next general election. Hence this sham of a report is to be the ONLY coalition report on the bedroom tax in this parliament which you would not know from reading this cleverly worded sentence.
Note too that this 163-page report claims to be an evaluation, that is an assessment of the bedroom tax policy yet it fails to mention in all of its 163 pages whether the bedroom tax produces any savings at all which was the claimed rationale for the policy. How can you ‘evaluate’ something by not evaluating its principal rationale?
If that doesn’t tell you what this report doesn’t say – that the bedroom tax is a costly failure, then nothing will. It is staggering that the claimed saving is not mentioned in a report consisting of 163 pages.
The opening of the Executive Summary continues:
The objectives of this project are to evaluate:
• the preparation, delivery and implementation of the policy changes by local authorities and social landlords;
To decode and put into simple English, we asked councils and landlords for how they judged themselves! Hardly likely to get any form of objective evaluation from that are we! The summary continues:
• the extent of increased mobility within the social housing sector leading to more effective use of the housing stock;
Hang on a moment!! What increased mobility does this report presume? The last financial year in social housing was April 2013 to March 2014 and the same as the first year of the bedroom tax. Look at my post from April 2014 some 3 months ago which shows that in 2013/14 FEWER social tenants moved in that year than in the previous ten years. YES you read that correctly dear reader LESS social tenants moved in that year meaning that the bedroom tax impact was NOT increased mobility as this report errantly states but REDUCED MOBILITY.
To evaluate an increase in anything means you have to have a benchmark, that is what was movement BEFORE the policy change yet this report – in all its 163 pages – fails to state what mobility was before as the benchmark. The report merely mentions what the movement was and fails to assess whether this was an increase or a decrease. Yet as my blog referenced above shows mobility DECREASED yet staggeringly this is not mentioned in the report…in all of its 163 pages!!
Are you starting to get a flavour of just how biased, inept and overtly political this report is dear reader? Good, but don’t get too expectant as if you want me to notify you of all the faults in this report then I can easily make this commentary longer than the 163 pages of whitewash this report contains. To all those in social housing time to look again at some of the well-known ‘experts’ who have put their name to this charade!!
WHY DIDN’T THIS REPORT HOW MUCH THE BEDROOM TAX IS CLAIMED TO SAVE?
That is a huge and of course a deliberate and stark omission from this report and after all we have Webb, and IDS and Freud and McVey all stating ad infinitum that the bedroom tax saves the taxpayer £500m per year. Yet scour these 163 pages of whitewash and there is no mention of any financial saving!
Let’s now begin to look at the facts this report gets wrong and deliberately wrong as it deliberately chooses ‘facts’ it likes but not those it does not. Top of page 14:
The DWP’s Housing Benefit data show that in August 2013, 522,905 households1 were affected by the RSRS2, which equates to 11.1 per cent of all social tenancies.
The report could and should have used the most up to date data which was released over two months ago and reveals just over 471,000 households affected or even the official data released 3 months before in February 2014 which had 498,000 or so affected. Yet it chooses to use the highest ever figure recorded for those bedroom tax affected. Why does it do this when there have been two further lots of quarterly data released and the last one being two months before this report was published? It can ONLY be that the report wished to convey higher numbers affected by the bedroom tax than is actually the case – a shameful piece of bending allegedly independent research to the whim of government.
Note here that the June 2012 DWP estimate said the bedroom tax would affect 660,000. So why would this report not use the 471,000 figure released by DWP in May?
- Could it be that the DWP being a mere 189,000 or a mere 29% out in its figures and the embarrassment this would cause be the reason?
- Could it be that 189,000 fewer households affected means the alleged ‘savings’ DWP sought are reduced by 189,000 lots of £751.37 per year and in total £142m less than DWP sought?
- Or is it because they have absolutely NO explanation whatsoever for this 29% reduction in numbers?
That last point is very pertinent reader as the only explanation this DWP sham of a report gives is that more people downsized or moved. Yet that is a known mistruth as I stated earlier and the authors of this report know that. So yet again this report is overt in its political bias and KNOWINGLY seeks to mislead the reader and put a false gloss on the bedroom tax.
Let me remind you again of the context – This is the ONLY report the coalition will make on the bedroom tax in this parliament! So when you go back and read the 2012 (purported) impact assessment which says we don’t know the impact on gender, race or disability but we will be monitoring this on an ongoing basis, you now know the coalition misled there too and of course the policy itself being introduced without knowing the impacts and consequences reveals it for what the policy is – a back of a fag packet piece of politicking.
Unsurprisingly despite the authors of this sham of a report being (formerly?) well-respected researchers they do not conclude that reader; rather they pad out a report of huge bias, of no significance whatseover as its 11 months out of date and serves no useful purpose at all, in order to take the 30 pieces of silver. And you thought it was only in the USA where academic research could be bought!!
Above I commented that the research pre-assumed an increase in mobility (downsizing) yet there was an actual reduction in it. The context of this bias is emphasised when it comes to arrears as we see on page 20 of this sham report:
Landlords reported that, five months into the RSRS, 41 per cent of tenants have paid the full RSRS shortfall, 39 per cent have paid some and 20 per cent have paid none.
I extrapolated and put a low figure on this of around a £140 million increase in arrears here.
Yet this DWP (sham) report denies the correlation of the bedroom tax with this huge increase a few paragraphs down when it says:
Total arrears (for all reasons) held by social landlords increased by 16 per cent between April and October, although it must be emphasised that the cause of this is uncertain and we cannot directly attribute this increase to the RSRS.
So the DWP is prepared to start with an errant hypothesis (increase in mobility) which the report fails to state actually REDUCED not increased and also we see a denial that the bedroom tax led to increased arrears! Just how biased and discredited can any report get?
Perhaps dear reader the £140m or so increase in arrears is all due to fairy dust?
Another convenient use of carefully chosen fact, which in fact is not fact, occurs on page 17 and says: –
Nationally, 11.1 per cent of all social tenancies are affected by the RSRS5
Hmmm! The source of this assertion is the 2011 census says the report. Yet dear reader you know my penchant for numbers (what IDS and DWP call pesky facts as 2 + 2 always = 4) so if 547,000 affected is 11.1% of all social housing then the size of social housing must be 4.928m properties.
Yet the English Housing Survey for 2012/13 has the social rented sector having just under 4m properties (3.864m) and so 547,000 bedroom tax affected would 14.16% not 11.1%. Yes reader the DWP and their paid lackeys in this report cannot do basic arithmetic.
However look again at the wording and recall what I said above that this very politically sensitive document will have been proofed long and hard before it was released. “Nationally 11.1 per cent of ALL social tenancies are affected by the bedroom tax”
We all know that those of state pension age are exempt from the bedroom tax and if we return to our old reliable friend in the EHS we see that 1.05m social housing tenants are over 65 years of age or some 28.5%. Take these exempt bedroom tax households out of the figures and we see the 542,000 originally bedroom tax affected represented 19.3% of all social tenants that could have been hit with the bedroom tax.
And did you know this sham report is an independent report reader? That is what the DWP press office released on twitter today:
Yet the biggest lie, and known lie is the claim that the HB reforms save money. As I have commented many times (see here for example and sources) the official figures published by DWP show the HB bill at May 2010 to be £20.8bn per year. In June 2010 after the first mini budget DWP said HB reforms (such as bedroom tax) would reduce the HB bill by “nearly £2bn per year” giving a target of £18.8bn. The latest HB bill – again by DWP official figures – is £23.7bn and nearly £5bn per year OVER target.
Yes dear reader the DWP has been at the fairy dust again hasn’t it!
And by the by the £6bn claim the DWP Press Office say is in the report is not to be found anywhere in the 163 pages of whitewash and bull!
I will make one final point and include one final picture of a graph in this scurrilous sham of a report which shows that over 75% of local councils include DLA as income when assessing a disabled person for a discretionary housing payment.
What’s that reader? You say you have heard Cameron say on numerous occasions that the disabled are exempt from the bedroom tax? Yes you’re right he has and here is one of those occasions from another blog
So to summarise:
- This sham report presupposes errant hypotheses and fails to acknowledge that LESS tenant have moved due to the bedroom tax
- This sham report says it is not the bedroom tax fault for the £140m increase in arrears
- This sham report makes no purposeful comment on why there are 471,000 households affected by the bedroom tax and not the original 660,000
- This sham report is 11 months out of date and serves no purpose whatsoever
- This sham report is overt in its political bias and those responsible for it should be ashamed of themselves
Finally – This report makes no comment on the alleged bedroom tax savings the coalition constantly states the policy achieves whatsoever. NO COMMENT AT ALL. That alone shows just how much of a failure this policy is and just how political this sham of an ‘independent’ report is. Don’t bother wasting your time in reading it!
This sham report says there is no correlation between the bedroom tax and the significant rise in arrears I quantified at about £140m in my immediate comments yesterday.
Today I have just quickly re-read the DWP’s impact assessment for the bedroom tax of June 2012 (here) which is of course riddled with the savings rationale for the bedroom tax and also how this will be monitored on an ongoing basis which it has not. Yet significantly the DWP says this about the link or correlation between bedroom tax cuts and arrears and says the link is straightforward!! Yet in this sham report the link has no apparent correlation!!!!
…it is straightforward to identify those reductions as having been generated as a result of the introduction of the size criteria!!”
Oh and finally dear reader I am being called a sceptic and a cynic for mentioning that a 163 page evaluation report on the bedroom tax fails to mention savings at all and fails to mention that mobility reduced – You know the bits the sham report missed….oh and the bits the other commentators missed!! Ok I missed them first time round in my immediate comments of yesterday so we can all sometime not see the wood for the trees!
Yet, how the hell can you have an alleged evaluation of the bedroom tax that runs to 163 pages and NOT mention the alleged savings one bit!!
Oh dear there I go again being cynical in stating the bloody obvious