The bedroom tax vote – Why I won’t be yodelling naked!!!

The bedroom tax vote will NOT, I repeat NOT change the policy ahead of the General Election in May 2015.  The events surrounding it may cause all sorts of political shake ups but the vote will NOT change the bedroom tax for tenants or landlords affected by it before the next General Election.

It will change diddly squat, nil, zip, nada, and absolutely bugger all …just in case you haven’t yet got the picture.  So, please, please, please ignore all the absolute crap you read about this vote and what it means for the bedroom tax.  It means that the bedroom tax will NOT change one iota before the next General Election.

Here is why.

Read the Bill here if you must which is a proposal to change some of the bedroom tax rules.  A Bill needs to go through numerous stages to become an Act or the law.  Yesterday the Second Reading was past with the vote.  After the Second Reading it then goes to Committee Stage then to Report Stage then to a Third Reading Stage then it goes to the House of Lords who can propose amendments and the Bill gets batted back and forth until final amendments are made  and then it gets sent for Royal Assent which puts it on the statute books, that is becomes law.

bill

Tortuous and not a short process just in practical terms.

Then and those who have read the Bill itself will know and seen Section 7 (2) This Act comes into force at the end of the period of 3 months beginning with the day on which it is passed – So a further 3 months and so just in practical terms the chance of this Bill becoming law before the General Election that is within 8 months are slim to none.

I now turn to look at what the Bill says which you will soon see reader is a crock.

Here is what 2(a) says: –

(a) an adaptation has been made to the dwelling to provide assistance to meet a disability need of the claimant, the claimant’s partner or a close relative of the claimant or the claimant’s  partner who resides at the dwelling and the claimant has provided the relevant authority with 

such certificates, documents, information or evidence as to demonstrate, to the reasonable satisfaction of the relevant authority—

(i) the disability need of a person referred to above;

(ii) that an adaptation has been made to meet that need; and

(iii) that the cost of the adaptation is not less than an amount prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State;

In plain English, and as far as that is even possible – where a property has had an adaptation to provide assistance to meet a disability need of

  • the claimant,
  • the claimants partner or
  • a close relative who lives there (a parent, parent-in-law, son, son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, step-parent, step-son, step-daughter, brother, sister, or if any of the preceding persons is one member of a couple, the other member of that couple) then the bedroom tax may change.

Yet what is an adaptation?  A grab rail is an adaptation which meets a disability need.  So is a vibrating pillow for a D/deaf person.  So what type of adaptation is needed to trigger this additional bedroom to be exempted?  Yep that’s one for the MPs to squabble over before this Bill goes anywhere.

And note what 2 (a)(iii) says about that: –

“… the cost of the adaptation is not less than an amount prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State”.

So IDS who is the Secretary of State could prescribe that this only applies to any adaptation costing £1 million or more read literally.  Churlish of me reader? No as this Act says it can be amended by the Secretary of State by statutory interpretation so IDS can assuming this Bill reaches Royal Assent before the next election then issue a statutory instrument to this effect!

And does this really apply to anyone who lives at the property and not just as now the tenant or the tenant’s partner?  Yes it would seem to apply to the tenant, the tenant’s partner and any ‘close relative’ which is a specifically defined HB term as long as they live in the property.  So you know you don’t really want your elderly parents to come and live with you….ahem…!  Oh and this will have to be debated ahead of this Bill becoming the law too.

Oh and Yes. IDS could issue another SI which says this only applies to any occupant if their name is Maud and they have climbed Machu Pichu after they attained the age of Methusalah

Ok I will stop being flippant.

This Bill is going to get bogged down in Committee and Report Stages and there is so much contention within it not least the intention to not impose the bedroom tax if the tenant cannot downsize due to a reasonable offer of alternative accommodation.  Anyone define suitable for me?

Ah yes that will have the same problem that the absence of a definition of bedroom has for the bedroom tax itself.  And the process for appealing any declaration of a ‘suitable’ offer is?  Yes who the hell knows and another matter for Committee and Report Stages.

In simple terms if the fact remains that 94% of bedroom tax households cannot downsize then that must mean that 94% will not have the bedroom tax applied.  That, dear reader, just ain’t gonna happen.  Unless of course the Minister Mark Harper can magic up 470,000 new properties out of the ether as he magicked up the £1 billion alleged cost of this Bill yesterday!

This Bill is a dog’s breakfast.

It will never come to be law and yesterday was just a game of politics between the parties and absolutely bugger all to do with changing the lot of the bedroom tax tenant or landlord or the policy itself. It was just political chicanery with feigned concern for the bedroom tax affected tenant and MPs looking out for their own backsides and only their own as per usual.I could write many more reasons why this Dog’s Breakfast of a Bill will never materialise but there is no need.

I did tweet earlier this week that if this Bill was passed and in operation before the next general election I will yodel naked from atop Nelson’s Column.  Don’t worry reader and as you can see from the above I have no plans to practise my yodelling!

 

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11 thoughts on “The bedroom tax vote – Why I won’t be yodelling naked!!!

  1. I actually feel a bit depressed reading all the jubilation on Facebook etc. I’m still liable for bedroom tax, still got arrears building. Nothings been won. Doom & gloom – no more than yesterday. I feel sorry for all the people who think the bedroom tax is licked 😦

  2. This is not a ‘Government Bill’ – it’s a private member’s bill…..which can be ‘rushed through’ if it is urgently needed. OR the government in charge can see how the voting stage goes and change policies before the next stage (Iain Duncan Smith might just take it upon himself to do this OR he might ‘give in’ to pressure from other MP’s …and seeing as there’s a general election next year….I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. However, we know how adamant he can be. I don’t think it’s fair to ‘disappoint’ people by the above feature as we don’t know how long it will be before the beginning of the end of the bedroom tax. I’ve messaged both Andrew George MP and Chris Bryant MP to see if they have any indication of when the committee stage will be : http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-information-office/l02.pdf

  3. Good points. Absolutely right. However but its the first time will of parliament has come down against Bedroom tax and many govt ministers supported bill , All the LibDem ministers so hope they apply pressure now from in govt for change BEFORE election. With our legal case the supreme court is still working on whether to grant disabled a supreme court hearing, hope this bill acts as a mandate of sorts for this court to get involved, they should decide in October. Other thing is when we personally get taken to upper tribunal the bill might help. Hope also it becomes centre of burning rift in coalition. Govts been forced to make concessions before on foster parents/armed forces AND without the LibDem opposition but with public/press pressure.

    Just trying to squeeze some comfort from it Joe

    1. Jayson, I fully appreciate trying to get some comfort from this and if there was any I would highlight it. However – and knowing your situation – there is no legal advantage at all in this that I can see. Nothing has in fact changed and it is highly unlikely to change ahead of the next general election.

      The will of parliament is also different to the will of the Executive. The government (the Executive) still want to keep the status quo and that will has NOT been changed. All that has happened is parliament has said, hey lets have another look!

      I fully hope the SC does hear the MA & Ors case as the DHP as justification for the discrimination is a legal fiction and frankly bad law. I also maintain this has been poorly argued as the amount of bedroom tax DHP can be identified as £60m in 2014/15 in S1/2014 HB circular and that is for all bedroom tax cases.

      It can also be identified in DWP data that 66% of bedroom tax households or 320,000 affected contain a disability and they lose £252m per year in bedroom tax cuts. So how can £60m meet a £252m need?

      3 in every 4 disabled households cannot get a DHP on this basis and a lot more than the 1 in 4 that could require rooms for separate sleeping or for disability equipment storage and many other disability related reasons.

      Your case and the Hereford LHA case of 2012 prove that a discrete group of disabled persons can be identifiable and therefore this should be put into regulations as exemptions.

  4. I am a 58-year-old Disability Studies specialist and disability activist from Montreal, Canada who has been communicating frequently and voluntarily, since January 2012, to senior United Nations officials, on the welfare crisis for the United Kingdom’s sick and disabled.

    I will bring your analysis to the attention of the UN’s human rights office, in Geneva, as well as to Ms. Leilani Farha, the newly appointed Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, who is a fellow Canadian.

    My view is that MP Andrew George’s Affordable Homes Bill is too watered down and problematic as written, and gives the disabled false hope.

  5. I heard about the UN investigation into benefits in the UK and emailed our Human Rights case to the cprd. Lots of couples in our position where we cannot share a hospital bed have are fighting human rights cases in the UK. We are one up at the moment but because of the regulations the govt/dwp is fighting the cases with little mercy

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