The bedroom tax and the incompetent deceitful Labour Party exposed

The Labour Party has announced its intended plans over the bedroom tax and what a completely incompetent set of plans they are.

You will recall the Tories got rid of the pre 1996 regulation they called a loophole through the SI route and within 28 days and labour could do this for the bedroom tax .

However the Labour Party in its infinite wisdom and instead of getting rid of the offending B13 Housing Benefit regulation by way of statutory instrument are going to legislate it out.

Not only is there no need for primary legislation to get rid of the pernicious bedroom tax but while they are doing this they plan to give local councils the money to fully mitigate it and similar to the situation in Scotland.  Yet that means that the bedroom tax remains, it means the tenant will still (somehow) have to apply for this money, and of course it incurs the additional taxpayer cost of local councils having to administer this unnecessary pig’s ear.

At the time of writing the detail is sketchy and limited to what Miliband is going to say today as pointed out n the Labour List website here – which of course is titled Miliband to say Labour would IMMEDIATELY put an end to the bedroom tax, when it is clearly NOT IMMEDIATE!!

“We will legislate straight away to abolish the Bedroom Tax – in England, in Wales, in Scotland, right across our United Kingdom.“We’ll get to work immediately to ensure that families no longer lose out. We’ll make new funds available to local authorities to offset the full costs of the tax for all families who currently pay it.“So on day one of a Labour Government, we free families from the burden of the Bedroom Tax.”

  • Q) Why is Labour intending to legislate when it does not need to?
  • Q) What does the social tenant do while this half-arsed pigs ear unnecessary charade is set up?
  • Q) What does the social landlord do while this half-arsed pigs ear unnecessary charade is set up?
  • Q) What do the appeal tribunals do while this half-arsed pigs ear unnecessary charade is set up?

I can think of dozens of other questions yet they all reveal one thing.  The Labour Party intentions to abolish the bedroom tax and their assertions they will do this quickly are false and have misled the same voters Labour has targeted this at.

The stress and distress this will cause to hundreds of thousands of bedroom tax affected households, some of the most vulnerable people in the UK will be immense.

It proves the Labour Party has no idea whatsoever of the lot of the bedroom tax vulnerable household and their bedroom tax position will be seen as one of duplicity and the raising of false hope. Their plans to abolish it were never out of principal and was just a case of an opportunistic vote buying fop to those it likes to call its ‘core vote’ when it has no idea whatsoever of the lot of 464,551 current households affected by this pernicious unprincipled policy.

Will the last person thinking of voting Labour because of its bedroom tax position please switch the light off as they go out the door!

UPDATE 19.30PM – TWO HOURS AFTER RELEASE

Unsurprisingly, the above post has incited a rash of discussion on the many Facebook anti bedroom tax webpages, and largely of the how dare you criticise the Labour Party  or how dare you say Ed Miliband does not have a suit or armour and ride a white charger type down to I must be a UKIP troll named Iain Farage-Goebbels Smith!

I have (metaphorically) broad shoulders so no complaints there, yet what this does is doubly confirm my point above that labour has engineered false hope in many vulnerable people and has now let them down, and badly too.

The simple fact is Labour has no legal need to go down the primary legislation route.  It can issue a SI giving 28 days notice and that is the end of it in 5 weeks time after the election.  So why legislate?

5 weeks time would see a need for 5 weeks worth of DHP for all 465,55i households affected – about £37 million or so – and the current coalition has given LAs £60 million to mitigate the bedroom tax for 2015/16 thus using the SI route would not cost the incoming Labour government a penny.  The DHP money is already there!

YET

Primary legislation could take 6 months or 2 years to push through and so would involve 6 months to 2 years worth of DHP to mitigate or £188m to £800 million and so that is the additional cost to the taxpayer of this truly bizarre route of primary legislation.  Of course all primary legislation can fail and be voted down or given the likely tenuous nature of the post May general election we could be seeing a second general election this year or early next year just as we had in 1974.  If either of those two events happen then the bedroom tax remains.

For all of these reasons the Labour Party plan to use the totally unnecessary primary legislation route makes no sense whatsoever.  It is more costly and has no guarantee of success and given that the SI route is so easy to adopt and implement the whole matter reeks of incompetence and something incredibly fishy as well.

The Labour Party manifesto says they will keep the £500 per week benefit cap in London but refer the regional cap figure for all areas outside of London to the SSAC for their view before deciding what to do.  Labour has been in favour of a reduced overall benefit cap in the regions since 2011 when Liam Byrne stated it to be preferred policy and this is in the 2015 GE Labour Party manifesto.

NOW imagine that SSAC* say (a) go ahead with a £450 cap in the regions; or (b) SSAC says dont go ahead but Labour choose to ignore their view and implement.

How will Labour implement this benefit cap change?  Will they choose the equally unnecessary primary legislation route? Or will they simply issue a SI as they can do with the bedroom tax on May 8th???

[* SSAC – Social Security Advisory Committee]

I would genuinely like to believe this is JUST rank incompetence by the Labour Party which would explain but not excuse the perversity of this plan.  The Labour Party does have form on being incompetent in the bedroom tax.

In 2013 Cameron at PMQs said all disabled people are exempt in the bedroom tax and Miliband did not know this is a clear lie so failed to challenge the PM on it and score a huge political point which would have meant the bedroom tax would not be here now.

In December 2014 at the last opposition day debate on the bedroom tax Labour did not know that the bedroom tax costs more than it saves and again missed a massive opportunity, this time in the hands of the truly incompetent Rachel Reeves. That was the same occasion as DWP minister Mark Harper incredulously said the bedroom tax would cost £1 billion to remove…which again Labour failed to challenge!

In February 2015 the DWP released the final HB figures before the general election which proves the bedroom tax and benefit cap and LHA cap and SAR cap all cost the taxpayer more than they save – about £440 million per year more.  But yet again Labour fails to mention or use this and again reveal their incompetence and lack of grasp of the bedroom tax issue and what it actually means in financial terms.

Yet none of that repeated incompetence explains why Labour has unnecessarily CHOSEN the primary legislation route.  Why would ANY party deliberately make it more difficult for themselves to get rid of a hated policy and why would they choose to cost the taxpayer more in adopting this route?

Those are the questions we need to ask and don’t expect any answers before this time next week!  Yet bet your life if (which I expect) Labour is not in office the first time they go to challenge the Tories on the bedroom tax, this charade and pig’s earhole will be thrust right back over the floor of the House of Commons at them!

 

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12 thoughts on “The bedroom tax and the incompetent deceitful Labour Party exposed

  1. Interesting, so your suggesting Labour should implement a work around using SI and then follow the repeal process for the legislation. Sounds like a plan to me.

    1. There is nothing to repeal in the primary legislation – the bedroom tax is a creature of regulation and can be removed by regulation as Joe says. The primary legislation is in the most general terms and it simply says that a claimanmt’s eligible rent for HB can be whatever amount the regulations say: it can be based on the claimant’s actual rent, on a Rent Officer determination, or on anything else. Same goes for Universal Credit – all the detail is left to regulations. So it would be a moment’s work to get rid of the bedroom tax.

      In the longer term, the primary legislation could be amended to “hard-wire” entitlement based on full rent into the law, making it more difficult for a future government to reinstate the bedroom tax.

      I do wonder though whether we are reading too much into this. Regulations are legislation, so by amending the HB and UC Regs to remove the bedroom tax the government would inded be legislating. Perhaps they have chosen the word “legislate” because they believe that “regulate” is a toxic word politically – remember the Tories’ idiotic “one-in-one-out” gimmick from last time, because the public equate the term “regulation” with straight bananas and red tape

  2. I’ll be writing a questioning email once I’ve fully absorbed the above. As to a reply, I’ll get one. ‘When’, is the question though.
    It’s maybe worth me pointing out that all ‘parliament’ email addresses are currently suspended until after the election.
    Its not just in relation to BTax that Labour’s debating skills are woeful. It happens over and over and one of the things that frustrates me very much.
    They need to get better advisors in place in my opinion. I’d love a job like that!!

  3. We should be looking forward to a labour victory …and just days away, items like this emerge. I have always been suspicious of incoming governments regaling on their election promises because…”the mess the previous govt left behind” or “it’s not prudent to implement this law or that law at this time” . What guarantee have we that Labour will dismiss Maximus, Get rid of the bedroom tax, outlaw the ridiculous ‘punitive’ sanctioning and get job centres helping people back to work?

    1. At present Labour have said nothing regarding Maximus. Labour will not be able to get reports from the Civil Service on such matters as the Maximus contracts until after they are in power. The Tories have actually deliberately created contracts that will cost more to cancel them than to let run, specifically to lock Labour into these. I think it is entirely possible to put more pressure on Labour after the election.

      Getting rid of the bedroom tax is a specific election promise that they say will be done as a matter of urgency, as Rachel Reeves is due to go on maternity leave in June / July and has clearly stated that she will do this before taking leave, They have promised to implement all recommendations of the Committee that has investigated sanctions, as a first step. As the DWP Job Centres seem no longer fit for purpose, their role in actually getting people back to work may need a different approach.

      I have utmost respect for Joe, and his fantastic grasp of the very complex laws on this area. However, his lengthy criticisms of Labour for planning on legislation to remove the Bedroom Tax rather than SI seem to be jumping the gun a bit. I would be inclined to criticise Labour more if they do not consider SI after the election rather than now. I know that the coalition use of SI to get so much slipped through without scrutiny, debate or HoC votes has been a major concern as detrimental to democracy, and there may be reasons why after consideration this is /not used. The issue urgently demands a quick resolution, so Joe is right if this is as good alternative route and expedites matters.

  4. Peter

    I have seen a number of FB reports from Rachel Reeves and Helen Goodman (presumably holding fort while RR on maternity leave) to say they will be using the SI route and then they say they will legislate.

    I agree there is no real need to legislate (primary legislation) after the SI route but perhaps this clarified / reviewed Labour view simply reveals their lack of knowledge around HB and how to get rid of the bedroom tax despite having publicly come out against it 19 months ago – so plenty of time to find out and say HOW they will do this.

    The same Labour Party are wedded to reducing the benefit cap limit (in manifesto) which will capture almost as many as bedroom tax but between 2 and 7 times the weekly reduction and means that the 3 bed and larger social housing property is a financially toxic product as when fully occupied the benefit tenant cannot afford and the landlord cannot afford the benefit tenant!!

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