So we are loudly told with front page banner headlines Clegg and the Liberal Democrats are now against the bedroom tax. Oh but hang on that U-turn changed within the hour late last evening as Clegg & Compo and the rest are only for a partial revision of the bedroom tax. I see so its what the Joseph Rowntree Foundation advocated (without credulity see here) a few months back and the bedroom tax should not apply to “the disabled” and not to those who have nowhere to downsize to…or at least that is what it appears and as per usual this is soundbite politics not detailed written policy. Still lots of publicity that serves to highlight that Clegg (a) still has a pulse and (b) that Clegg still has a knack of what Prince Philip calls pedidentary – that is putting ones foot in ones mouth without any forethought!
Politics is the art of the possible and is pragmatism writ large and just as I explained with the normally excellent JRF report such a position of the bedroom tax not applying to anyone ‘disabled’ (however defined) and only applying where there is nowhere for the tenant to downsize to (however that is defined) is utterly impractical.
As it is often stated without any challenge that 63% of bedroom tax households have someone resident with a disability then this would take 63% out of the bedroom tax being applied. What flows from that is that 63% of the (alleged) savings would be lost to central government. So lets look at some numbers.
Currently 471,000 households have an average yearly bedroom tax of £748.80 applied making a theoretical maximum saving of £353 million. Note that is THE maximum possible the bedroom tax policy could save yet the coalition still maintain the saving will be £500m per year which is mathematically impossible from the above factual figures though doesn’t stop the likes of the BBC still reporting them a that is what Freud et al still disingenuously maintain!
“Ministers say private sector renters do not get spare rooms for free, and argue the policy will save around £500m a year. But critics say it is forcing households into arrears”
says the BBC today here yet as the basic arithmetic above reveals the Ministers have overestimated the maximum an theoretically possible savings by £147m per year or by 42% whichever you prefer!
So as 63% are disabled the maximum theoretical saving to central government reduces by 63% to £130 million or a whopping 74% less than the aforesaid innumerate Ministers still adhere to!
But presumably the government would then not have to provide the £60m of DHPs they allocate to local government to mitigate the impacts of the bedroom tax (and see HB circular SI/2014 which details this allocation).
So the maximum saving becomes £190m per year and £310m less than the coalition (oh yes that include Clegg and Compo et al) still illogically maintain it holds and seek. But hang on then we would need to reduce that figure by taking out of the bedroom tax those current tenants who could not downsize due to no smaller properties being available.
The DWP proudly proclaimed in April that 6% of social tenants had downsized and the sham of an alleged bedroom tax monitoring report released yesterday said much the same. Hence 94% cannot downsize as the smaller properties are not available. Ergo the £190m maximum theoretical saving must reduce by 94% leaving just a maximum theoretical saving of £11.4 million per year – which is some £488.6m less than the innumerate coalition ministers claim it does save and seek!
So we arrive at a point which sees the absolute maximum ‘saving’ from the bedroom tax become £11.4 million or thereabouts.
To set against this we have the added public purse costs of administering the bedroom tax which is done by 340 or so local authorities on the government behalf. 471,000 or so additional HB decisions means if each decision costs more than £24.20 each then this extraordinarily cheap cost per case would see the cost of the bedroom tax outweigh the maximum £11.4m it could save!
Oh hang on what about the estimated £1500 per case each bedroom tax appeal cots central government as this too is an additional cost of the bedroom tax.
Sorry reader, I realise the above contains sums and many of you don’t really like sums but then you are in good company as clearly the coalition don’t like sums either! If you didn’t already think Clegg was an incompetent buffoon you must realise that now, though I do have to admire his outrageous optimism as he clearly believes he and his Liberal Democrats have any power or influence now within the coalition or will be in any such position after the May 2015 general election.
He is almost as deluded as anyone who asserts the bedroom tax in its current pernicious guise saves any money such as IDS and Freud, though their delusions are they can fool all of the people all of the time with their repeated lies which still get repeated even after they have been found out.
While I am constructively criticising this charade I cannot leave out the Daily Mirror who are tweeting like mad across social media sites that “Its the Mirror that did it” and similar nonsense. Did what dear reader..oh yes… claim a victory for the bedroom tax with this even more back of a fag packet idea that Clegg has come up with that is just as much back of a fag packet as the original delusion of IDS in the bedroom tax itself.
Though of course the real scorn needs to be directed at Her Majesty’s official Opposition, that is the Labour Party. Not once have they challenged the innumerate and delusional assertion of the coalition that the bedroom tax saves £500m per year. As all that takes is the ability to multiply the number of households (471,000) by the average yearly cut (£749) which gives a maximum of £353m and reveals the coalition is over egging the maximum possible saving by 42% and is therefore must be lying as well as being incompetent and innumerate.
Sorry reader I cant be bothered wasting any more of my time or yours with this charade. The idea put forward by Clegg and immediately revised cant work and is a nonsensical and illogical idea by a politician and the party he leads desperate to hold onto any last vestiges of ‘power’ he believes he and his party has. The fact the media hype this into a story while not knowing what the hell they are talking about and without the competence to do some basic maths on a £1 calculator…well what’s new!
I have just watched what can only be called car crash politics with Lib Dem Danny Alexander attempting to explain the new Lib Dem bedroom tax policy…and if Clegg is an idiot which he is then Danny Alexander is the biggest incompetent f*ckwit!
Not only does he squirm and wriggle and finally give in and watch here as it is so cringeworthy to be amusing BUT Danny Alexander states he is going to put a new DUTY on councils and housing associations to reduce under occupancy.
A DUTY is a mandatory action that can ONLY apply to a PUBLIC body yet of course the real name of housing associations is PRIVATE REGISTERED PROVIDERS and no government can put any form of DUTY upon a private body. It seems the erstwhile Mr Alexander does not know this and why should he as he has only been in high politic office at the centre of government for 4 years yet a spotty 16 year-old kid studying any form of government or law could tell you this fact that Danny Alexander clearly does not know!
Do you think dear reader that the Lib Dems are a tad unprepared and a tad incompetent to be trying to wriggle out of their vote FOR the bedroom tax and making a huge pig’s ear out if it?
Politics is like a septic tank, the big chunks always rise to the top!!!
PS Do watch the C4 interview it is so funny!!