Labour Party – the biggest bedroom tax incompetents – IT COSTS MORE you idiots!!

The Labour Party are as I write (4pm) using an Opposition Day debate on getting rid of the bedroom tax.  I should be delighted at that.  Yet they are the most incompetent ineffectual buffoons who do not know anything about the bedroom tax or about how to argue for its demise.

The Labour Party are more content to isolate the Liberal Democrats on this debate than to get rid of the policy.  That assertion is, regrettably, easily proved as the BEDROOM TAX COSTS MORE!

On a few occasions in the past 18 months I have sat down with others at a high level in housing to address the simple question – Does the bedroom tax actually save money? The issue being if it does not then the pain and misery it causes mean the policy is massively misguided.  Or put another way prove the policy actually costs money and then the coalition who maintain it does save money have no basis to continue with it.

Yet the Labour Party, Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, acquiesce to the coalition argument that is does save money when it is EASILY proved that it does not.  The fact that Labour fail to see the bedroom tax actually COSTS reveals their intention here smacks of political opportunism and incompetence.

Why does the bedroom tax cost more?

The bedroom tax is one of 4 welfare reform policies aimed at reducing the HB bill.  The other being the benefit cap, the LHA caps on private rented and the increase in the Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) from under 25 to under 35. All four of those policies, individually and collectively, are aimed at reducing the Housing Benefit bill.

Obviously if the HB bill has increased since their introduction then these 4 policies have failed as they HB bill has not reduced.

That is the simple and obvious argument which if all other factors being the same MUST be true. Yet as I explain below it is even worse than that as these other factors should have reduced the overall HB bill even further yet it has INCREASED and that MUST mean the bedroom tax and 3 other welfare reforms mentioned have failed and DO NOT SAVE MONEY.

Overall HB bill April 2013 to August 2014

The bedroom tax and in part the benefit cap became operational in April 2013.  The LHA cap and SAR from 1 January 2012. The August 2014 date is used as this is the latest official data set – the latest figures.

Hence as all of these policies have been operational in full or in part since April 2013 we can compare the HB bill then with the latest figures to reveal whether these 4 policies have reduced or increased the HB bill.  That is a very simple yet valid comparison and yes I will include inflation too.

  • April 2013 had 5,062,172 claimants each receiving an average of £89.24 to make £23.6bn overall
  • Aug 2014 saw 4,930,162 claimants at £93.05 to make £23.9bn overall cost.

The coalition argument that the bedroom tax et al save money would see the overall HB bill reduce. as that is the stated purpose. Yet it has increased by £300 million and not fallen. Note well too there are 132,010 fewer claimants too in August 2014 so the bill should have fallen by £615 million for that alone to a figure of £22.9bn.  Yet it has increased by £1bn to £23.9bn.

Have these claimed savings by the coalition just disappeared into the ether?  Clearly not and Mark Harper today restated what IDS said a week or so back that the bedroom tax, and note bedroom tax alone, has saved £830m so far based on their ‘view’ of a £500m per year saving.

Yet the official HB figures do not show 83 pence worth of savings let alone £830 million and in fact they show the HB bill has increased not fallen at all.

Rachel Reeves, Labour Party’s IDS equivalent said nothing about these claimed savings.  In fact when Mark Harper mentioned his patently false view that the bedroom tax has saved £830m he then challenged Rachel Reeves to say where the money would come from to repeal the bedroom tax.  Rachel (dimwit) Reeves then proceeded to say where from.

Yet in doing so she acquiesced to the easily disproven lie of the coalition that the bedroom tax saves money – a huge political error and huge ineptitude and incompetence on her and the Labour Party’s part!

If she knew the facts these official figures show – and they are the official HB figures produced by the DWP – there would be no need to say where savings would come from to pay for the repeal of the bedroom tax as there is no savings from elsewhere needed!!!!

The bedroom tax AND the 3 other welfare reform policies of benefit cap, LHA cap and SAR do NOT save a penny to the public purse and even allowing for inflation they collectively COST MORE!!!!

The Labour Party and in particular Rachel Reeves is incompetent, ineffective and has thrown away a huge chance to get rid of the bedroom tax and discredit the coalition lie that it saves money.  So whether the Labour Party motive is opportunistic or principled, they have well and truly fucked up!!

 

NOTES

I mentioned above some ‘high powered’ meetings took place with housing leaders to look at the claimed savings issue.  They were, in hindsight being too clever for their own good. We went into huge depth of how the bedroom tax in theory reduce central government spend even after DHP and other central government costs (Tribunals etc) and most of the additional costs were in essence transferred to local government such as higher HB and admin costs.

Yet IF the bedroom tax and other policies aimed at reducing HB actually SAVED then they would be reflected in the simple overall HB cost as given above.  They would have to after taking out any matters not on a like-for-like basis and accounting for inflation etc.

Perhaps, the Labour Party strategists and bean counters had similarly been looking too deeply and got wrapped up in those extremely complex and difficult financial arguments.  They did not need to (and yes I slap my own wrists for that!) and I only saw the argument a month or so ago when I published a blog about it.

ANY financial savings from the bedroom tax would HAVE to show in the simple overall cost figure as would any savings from the benefit cap, LHA cap and SAR policies.  Yet no savings exist even after inflation and taking away any other non like-for-like matter.

In addition there are the £115m added cost of DHP to be set against this lack of savings and they increase the overall COST of the policy too (£50m in 2013/14 and £65m both for bedroom tax alone in DHP).  Then of course the added cost of tribunals etc all add to the additional cost to central government of the bedroom tax and then there is the added cost of HB administration and increased homeless presentations and homeless temporary accommodation to local government to add too.

Considered in this correct way, I doubt even the most hardline Tory could present a cogent argument that the bedroom tax has saved money.  It simply has not.  Yet the real issue is why Her Majesty’s Official Opposition in the Labour Party with all its stated opposition to the policy and its many resources it has to research, unilaterally failed to see the bloody obvious!

The Labour Party today, and Rachel Reeves is ultimately responsible here, let down 480,000 households or about 1.2 million men, women and children that live in these bedroom taxed households by NOT seeing the argument and by not promoting it.  That is rank ineptitude and especially after their social media campaign which saw over 100,000 sign their opposition to this pernicious and FINANCIALLY COSTLY policy.

 

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15 thoughts on “Labour Party – the biggest bedroom tax incompetents – IT COSTS MORE you idiots!!

  1. Reblogged this on patricktsudlow and commented:
    Both main political parties, Labour and Conservative have only one mandate, to enrich the already rich. Both parties have shown their incompetence in office, their failures to address climate change, tax avoidance and evasion, and of course the continuing failure of our banks. It is time, those who do not vote, got out their and vote for any other (preferably the Green Party), to rid us of these fools. Your vote (which people died for) is totally useless, if you do not use it. This coming General Election, get out there, encourage family, friends and neighbours to vote, anything but Labour and Conservative. Labour = Conservative = A continual cycle of failure.

    1. Just incompetence for me despite their primary objective and strategy being to isolate Lib Dems who they knew would not vote with them (political games). Whereas question the basis of alleged savings which are not apparent from the facts and likelihood is they scupper the bedroom tax policy once and for all. The incompetent Labour strategists did not see the argument and thats a huge mistake

  2. Joe Halewood, you are not right to have a go at Rachel Reeves. Rising rents and low pay are factors in the increase in Housing benefit. Your assertion that the rise in HB is caused mainly or solely by Bedroom tax would have been shot down in flames if you had made it in Parliament.
    There were some excellent speeches made by Labour, and several times it was pointed out that bedroom tax does not save money. The problem with Parliament is that “debates” are not really about seeking the truth – no MP listens to then with an open mind, and cases where MPs rethink their opinions as a result of hearing brilliant oratory from the opposing benches are rarer than hens’ teeth.
    Labour lost the debate because of numbers, pure and simple. The Lib Dems had said they were against the bedroom tax, but when push came to shove 35 of them voted for it. I have no idea why: did they even listen to the speeches? UKIP state they oppose the bedroom tax as well, but only Douglas Carswell put his vote where the party’s mouth was. (Mark Reckless did not vote.)
    Could Labour have done more? Maybe, but the effort they made was valiant and the reason it failed was not “incompetence”.

    1. Angela, I think I basically agree with what you said, based on my own discussion with Rachel Reeves a few weeks ago when she came to visit us.

      I had a bit of a dig at the apparent incompetence and lack of knowledge on bedroom tax issues in debates, by Labour [and other], MPs, suggesting that they perhaps ought to ‘react’ more forcefully to the [often], outright lies and misinformation spouted by the coalition members. I said that I would find it very dificult not to respond in such a manner myself.

      She then explained how the procedures meant that essentially it didn’t matter much [to the government], what was said and, as you point out, its just a numbers game when it comes down to votes.

      I’m still not sure what I really think about that. That debates maybe don’t really matter, I find worrying. It seems that it is *all* just a game and there are only losers… people like us.

      I tend to feel that it is up to us as individuals to lobby our MPs much, much more than happens at present. There *is* a point. Politicians rely on the majority of their constituents saying nothing directly to them. But, therein possibly lies a blog-post in itself?

      Since the visit by Ms Reeves, I’ve had a hell of a lot to think about… we discussed, quite frankly, issues other than bedroom tax, revolving around disability, carers and welfare reforms in general. I got some insights, as she most definitely did.

      But I won’t mention anything she said about her pre-nuptual ‘hen night’!!

      1. Paul – all MPs do take genuine concerns and honestly admit to politics being a game, which it is.

        Reeves should resign because the bedroom tax is her brief and because, however nice she may be as a person, she failed in that game.

        There is no evidence whatsoever that the bedroom tax saves a penny. The HB bill has increased far more than inflation since the bedroom tax introduction and 132,000 fewer claimants. IF it saves just one penny the HB bill would have fallen.

        Angela falsely mistakes and conflates rent inflation with HB inflation. HB for social tenants can only increase x amount and LHA rates (regardless of rent increases) only rose 1% in this time.

        The HB bill would have fallen in real terms if the bedroom tax saved money. Yet it has not.

        Reeves failed to question the ludicrous and disingenuous claims of the coalition that it saves money. Question its actually impact over claimed savings and the policy is shot down in flames not the person asking the question – Reeves failed and failed spectacularly. I take no joy in saying that I just say it because its unfortunately true

  3. The debate was farcical. It did not achieve anything. As you say, no one really listens to what is being said. The ‘giving way’ process adds to that. In that, the ‘point’ of what’s being said gets lost.
    Figures bandied about to try and ‘bamboozle’ us.
    Yes, you have a VERY VALIED point, in what Rachel Reeves omitted to say.

    All the Cons basically said is that it has to be brought in line with the private sector!!
    And, how much money they have put in the DHP ‘pot’.
    And that this can be claimed by the Disabled and the most vulnerable.
    What they obviously omitted to say, was the number of these people that are being refused a claim.
    And those, whose DLA is counted as income and are then told they can afford to pay the BT.

    Leaving MANY with the choice of eat/heat or pay.

    I’m totally, disgusted about the lack of support from the Lib Dems.

    This, ‘debate’ raised the hopes of many, many people. That’s the cruellest of all.
    They believed it would be the end of the Bedroom Tax.

    It made us realise, Through many, many comments on Facebook, yesterday, That so many are paying. Terrified of Eviction. So many are not applying for a DHP. (Some don’t even know what a DHP is). So many have applied and been refused. And don’t know they can ask for a reconsideration. So many, know nothing about appealing the BT.. Some told they can’t appeal. This is 18 months on.

    That, is down to Landlords, HA’s and LHA’s. NOT helping their tenants. 18 months on………….

    So, we have no choice, but to try and pick ourselves up. Keep fighting back.

    Most of us, will NOT be having a Happy Christmas. That’s for sure.

  4. “Obviously if the HB bill has increased since their introduction then these 4 policies have failed as they HB bill has not reduced.” This point is not necessarily true as all other things have not stayed the same. For example the growth of the low pay benefit dependent wage economy has (as you have pointed out) has increased the number of working people now claiming HB. Also logically it is possible for some of these changes to have a positive impact while being outweighed by another which has a negative impact fiscally.

    I enjoy your columns and agree with much that you write but you need to avoid drawing conclusions which do not logically follow. That said I think axing the bedroom tax would save the government money as well as being the right thing to do.

    1. Paul, take the point yet a blog aimed at all readers is not the place to talk of ceteris paribus – the aim is to make it as readable by as many as possible by keeping it simple.

      I have however looked at a comparison of 2 specific dates and within that for example of 976k in work claimants at April 2013 and 1.078m at August 2014 yet is that a real difference to overall cost? It would if you wish to claim this 102k extra in-work claimants were not getting HB before and have somehow miraculously found out they are now entitled to it and thus claimed. Yet no difference if they claimed as an out of work claimant before, or at least a negligible one.

      Even if we have had rampant rent inflation in that period this is also of no consequence as HB has its own inflation for SRS, which is slightly higher and LHA which as 1% increase is lower. These factors have been considered and the blog is not a crude assertion or flawed deductive logic.

      Yet overall HB bill has increased over and above inflationary increases and increased despite their being 132k less claimants in real terms. This real term increase cannot support the notion that the collective 4 welfare reform policies have saved anything at all. I will explain all of the detail in the next few days which involved those pesky things called numbers which make readers glassy-eyed such as SRS rent inflation was 3.71% and PRS 1.42% and overall was 2.9172% when you apportion that across the tenure split, blah, blah, blah and at best (for coalition) including the reduced claimant count is that in real terms the bill has still increased by over £130m ceteris paribus and at worst increased by £300m in real terms. I can speculate that extra HB cost could be increased temp homeless cost or from movement between sectors or from a few other variables, yet the key message is the HB bill HAS increased in real terms despite these 4 policies claiming to save money and for which there is not one jot of evidence to support

  5. @ Paul Rutherford – Paul I agree with you about lobbying, just wish to add why limit that that to only constituency MPs?

    Members of the public can contact MPs outside of there own constituency when its the case that those MPs have an interest in that issue, eg. said and/or written something about that issue, member of a select committee, member of an all-party parliamentary group, known area of policy interest, etc.

    There are no territorial subdivision of constituencies for current sitting members of the House of Lords, so members of the public can contact any peer in the upper house.

    Also why stop at just lobbying Parliament? Questions need to rised about the lobbying of social housing. So I feel theres a need for the public to lobby social landlords and there lobby groups (CIH and NHF).

  6. it should be illegal for the bedroom tax to continue as it was only allowed to be rammed through using financial privilege as they pretended it was going to save money. since it can be proved that it is costing money it should be illegal for them to keep it going. like andrew georges bill they have used dirty tricks to stall it and are refusing to allow the money for it defying the will of the majority of parliament which voted for it to go through. how and why are they allowed to do these things.

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