10 lies from IDS in 4 short bedroom tax responses – plus ca change!

Yesterday, Monday 2 November 2014 Iain Duncan Smith was questioned in Parliament over the welfare reforms and below I look at the numerous LIES he gave in relation to the bedroom tax.

IDS gave responses to only four questions yet managed to include at least TEN LIES in these four short responses. I enclose the transcript from Hansard and annotate the LIES and say why these are known and deliberate lies, in this case about the bedroom tax, underneath.

I have a huge bugbear here and rightfully so and that is when did will all become so blasé about IDS lies?

IDS peddles deliberate and known lies habitually and while we expect MPs to bend the truth and be economical with the actualite and all similar euphemisms, this MP and Minister lies through his teeth with immunity and impunity.  It is not and never has been acceptable in our parliamentary democracy for a minister to lie to parliament yet IDS has made this commonplace and that is an affront to democracy and an affront to parliament.

How have we arrived at a stage when we EXPECT IDS to lie and then simply say there’s another lie yet do nothing about it?

This is political apathy writ large from all quarters with a disgraceful apathy towards democracy itself by the opposition MPs, the media and the electorate.  In not bringing IDS to task over this he simply carries on with further lie and deceit and brings democracy and parliament into disrepute. Yet IDS is merely portrayed as the pantomime villain whom we expect to lie and we allow to continue to deliberately and knowingly lie.  In light of the inaction over his repeated lies he works on the basis of tell a lie often enough and people believe it to be true.

Expect in the next parliament ministers to assert the moon is made out of cream cheese and political democracy to be what it is rapidly becoming – the behest of he who shouts loudest as we see with Farage and EU migration at present.  There are as many Brits who live abroad in the EU countries as EU nationals who live here yet rather than question how the hell is EU migration an issue, we accept that it is and such myth leads the political agenda.

We reap what we sow and what we fail to challenge. Perhaps this is a knock on effect of the politics of soundbite in the Blair years rapidly becoming even more dumbed down in the social media age as soundbite is now limited to 140 characters in Twitter.  Yet whatever it is it is simply wrong and a huge affront to democracy.

If I haven’t bored you to death already here are those lies from IDS.

Under-occupancy Penalty

Julie Hilling (Bolton West) (Lab):

What recent estimate he has made of the number of people subject to the under-occupancy penalty who have moved into a smaller home since the introduction of that penalty.[905812]

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Mr Iain Duncan Smith):

The latest published figures showed that, as a result of various actions, 65,000 people were no longer affected by the removal of the spare room subsidy [1]. As at December 2013, around 22,000 had downsized or moved a year ago [2]. New figures to be published in due course show that if that trend continues, up to 50,000 will have moved or downsized by now, with the total no longer affected even higher.

Julie Hilling:

The justification for the cruel and heartless bedroom tax is that it would force people to move into smaller homes. As only about 5% of people hit by the tax have been able to move, not least because in areas such as mine there are no smaller properties to move to, does the Secretary of State accept that this policy has manifestly failed?

Mr Duncan Smith:

Actually, I do not, and by the way I think the hon. Lady’s figures are not correct.[3] I gave her higher figures even for last December. The rationale for the policy was fairness. The previous Government left us with the situation where some on housing benefit in the private sector were not allowed [4] to occupy houses that had extra rooms, so balancing that is fair. Getting housing benefit spending under control after it nearly doubled in cash terms[5] under the previous Government, and helping those living in overcrowded accommodation[6] while we build more houses[7], giving them a chance to move into houses where they can fit their families—that is decent and fair.

Mrs Anne McGuire (Stirling) (Lab):

Given that, according to recent surveys by social landlords, more than half the people impacted by the bedroom tax are now in arrears, what advice would the Secretary of State give those social landlords, particularly housing associations, about the unsustainable financial position they now find themselves in?

Mr Duncan Smith:

Of course, we always keep in close contact with social landlords to ensure that they do what they are meant to do and do not overcharge. The Homes and Communities Agency’s latest figures show that arrears have fallen in the same period from last year and rent collection among housing associations is stable at around 98%, so I think that it is safe to assume [8] that the under-occupancy penalty has had little effect on housing association arrears.

Gregg McClymont (Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East) (Lab):

The bedroom tax surely has a claim to be the most wrong-headed and iniquitous policy introduced by any Government in recent memory. The Government’s justification for this cruel tax was that putting it on social housing tenants would incentivise families and individuals to move into smaller homes, but the policy has one fatal flaw: the absence of homes for those families and individuals to move into. Surely the Secretary of State must today concede that the policy has been an abject failure and scrap the tax immediately.

Mr Duncan Smith:

Apart from the rhetoric, the reality is that the hon. Gentleman is wrong. It was his Government who started the process in the first place. I remind him that when they introduced the local housing allowance, they refused [9] to allow anybody who accepted that benefit to live in a house that had extra bedrooms, because that would be unfair on those who were in that accommodation. We have restored that fairness. That is the right thing to do, and it saves £500 million [10] a year.


[1] The figures 65,000 down?  LIE.

The latest published figures were released in Aug 2014 for the period up to May 2014.  At May 2014 there were 481,603 households hit with the bedroom tax.  The DWP initial figures for the start of the bedroom tax were 660,000 so the bedroom tax affects about 180,000 less or nearly three times the figure quoted by IDS.

[2] As at December 2013 around 22,000 had downsized?  LIE

  • No figures are collected or recorded anywhere for those who have downsized due to the bedroom tax. The bedroom tax downsize is just one type of move within social housing.
  • 7% of all social tenants move each and every year and this equates to about 280,000 total moves each year.
  • The claimed 22,000 even if true over 9 months equates to 29,260 in the first year which is just over 5% of those affected by the bedroom tax.
  • HENCE there have been fewer total moves by bedroom tax affected households than by all social tenants in general

[3] The figures IDS gave are 5% so how can he say they are not 5% and higher than this? LIE

[4] Those in the private sector are not allowed to occupy were not allowed to have extra rooms? LIE

Tenant in the private sector receive up to a flat amount of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) – the private sector version of housing benefit – for whatever property they choose. So in Liverpool a single person aged 35 or over gets up to £395 per calendar month.  In Liverpool the website www.rightmove.co.uk has 65 3 bedroom properties for £400 pcm or less and so a single person can live in a 3 bed property in the private sector and have all their rent paid by housing benefit.  The same applies to almost all parts of the UK with the exception of London.

[5] Housing Benefit nearly doubles in cash terms under Labour?  No it did not and below are the official figures which reveal it went up 78%.  Note too it went up 3 times more than this under Major and massively more than this under Thatcher.  Yet again IDS LIES to Parliament.

HB bill blair v thatch


[6] Help those living in overcrowded accommodation? LIE

Those living in overcrowded accommodation in social housing were FALLING before the bedroom tax came in as the English Housing Survey records at page 12

Between 2010-11 and 2012-13, the rate of overcrowding in the social sector declined from 7% to 6%; with 241,000 overcrowded households in the sector in 2012-13, compared with 278,000 in 2010-11

[7] While we build more houses? LIE

Last year was the lowest since the WWII for new house builds

[8] Bedroom Tax has had little effect on social housing rent arrears? LIE

See the latest Real Life Reform report published this weekend to see that social housing arrears have increased significantly. Also note that average household spends £3.28 per day on food or £22.96 per person per week and IDS claimed £39 on expenses for 1 breakfast!  You can also see every other research report of rent arrears with regard to bedroom tax too

[9] Labour refused to let anyone live in a private sector rented property with more rooms than they need? LIE

A repeated LIE and see [4] above which is the fact of the matter

[10] It saves £500 million a year! AN IMPOSSIBLE LIE !

As stated above the official DWP figures last published for May 2012 show the following:



The official spreadsheet above at Table3 3 says 481,603 households affected at an average amount of £14.90 per week deducted or £777 per year.

481,603 x £777 = £374 million not £500 million so firstly IDS is saying the bedroom tax saves 34 per cent more than is the maximum possible saving.

Secondly, the £374 million maximum theoretical saving assumes there is no expenditure with the bedroom tax.  Yet last year 2013/14 local councils spent £88 million of the DHPs they were given on the bedroom tax.  This then reduces the absolute maximum saving down to £286 million.

So the bedroom tax saves £500 million per year IDS?  No it doesn’t and cannot possibly do so you have LIED through your teeth yet again to Parliament.  You have KNOWINGLY LIED to Parliament.  You are a LIAR.  Yes I am well aware of defamation and my response to those who say be careful is I have.

All of the above prove IDS LIED to Parliament and if IDS wants to sue for defamation then he can do so.  It is unlikely that he will of course but he has that option.


17 thoughts on “10 lies from IDS in 4 short bedroom tax responses – plus ca change!

  1. If you don’t mind, I think I will print this out – I would like to have some genuine facts and figures to hand next time I find myself arguing in vain with people who spout IDS’s rhetoric, and the similar Daily Wail claims, whenever this subject arises (which is surprisingly often)! They will probably still stick to their guns, purely because it is what they want to believe, but that won’t stop me from trying.

  2. To the £500 million saving you might also consider:

    An unknown number of people will have sought to avoid the penalty by re-locating into “appropriately sized” accommodation in the private sector.

    If they were Housing Benefit claimants in social housing it seems virtually certain that they will continue to be so.

    We know that the average claim in the private sector is double that in social housing: simply put private sector accommodation is more expensive.

    I don’t have the resources to put actual figures to this but I really wish that someone could. It’s not just a matter of the saving being less than claimed but it is even possible that this policy might increase the HB bill.

    1. Yes there is that possibility and believe me many including myself have tried to find such figures yet they do not exist. The other issue here is that many additional costs are transferred from central government to local government and while all ‘public purse’ cost central government does not have these additional costs to set against the claimed savings

    2. As has been stated in parliament by the opposition… the policy only saves money if no one moves.

      If everyone moves within the social housing to “appropriate” sized dwellings and then the larger houses are filled by overcrowded households then no saving is made… I cant make the case for it costing more as it would be impossible to prove without exact figures.

      As we know there are not enough houses within the social sector to fulfil the “needs” of smaller accommodation we must assume that the only way for people to mitigate the bedroom tax must be to move into the private rental market which we know is significantly more expensive… therefore if the policy works, as stated as its requirement “correct usage of housing/reducing overcrowding” not as its real intent “saving money/destroying social housing” it will acutally cost more money than its “consequential” savings therefore any assumed savings do not exist and as such a removal of “the bedroom tax” will not cost a penny but in fact will result in a saving to the “hard pressed tax payer.”

  3. That’s a ‘spot on’ observation. Matthew. Of course it is costing much more, if people move in to the private sector.
    And, I would say, that is a major reason why some people have ‘chosen’ to do so.
    They know, (apart from in London). That all their HB will be covered, up to their LHA.
    That’s the only reason, they have moved.
    This way, is the only way they can escape the bedroom tax.
    And, it IS out of desperation.
    They cannot get a DHP, for one thing. (I’d like to see figures, for how many, ARE refused).
    They are giving up, in most cases, a secure tenancy for somewhere with no security whatsoever. And, therefore may have to move more than once.
    Conditions in some private rentals, can be vile and add to peoples health conditions. Stress and distress.
    For Londoners, it’s even worse. Having to leave London, for god knows where. Leaving behind, family/friends/schools/jobs. Etc.
    All, because of the bedroom tax!!

    As for IDS lying. Yes, maybe, we do expect it and are apathetic.

    We all know, he should be sacked.

    But, WHAT exactly do we have the power to do??

    Apart from at the ballot box.
    And, pray, we are not swopping one bad policy for others that will destroy our lives in other ways.

    We spread it around on social media. We write to our MP’s etc.
    We do appeals and go to tribunals. We go on protests. We sign petitions.

    But, nothing changes for us.

    It can be so hard to summon up the energy. Fight, the mental torture. it wears you out.
    Every second of every day. It’s on your mind.
    And, nobody listens.

    So, yes, maybe we can be accused of being apathetic??

  4. As well as the extra amounts to be added for people moving into Private rental, what about the refunds on the pre 1996 Legislation? How much are the thousands of bedroom tax appeals costing? I imagine this would take a big chunk out of the supposed ‘savings’!

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