Early days and written without sight of the judgment in the Court of Appeal bedroom tax cases handed down early today.
The media whether BBC or the Independent or other national newspaper or other news outlet just don’t get what these two cases were about and, as is their want, are rushing to be the first to break the news even thought they don’t know what the fucking news is!!
A) Sanctuary Room Case
In domestic violence and abuse issues it used to be the case that the woman (and children) had to flee the family home. Yet over the past decade or so instead of the victim (or survivor) fleeing they have had a secure panic room built in case the perpetrator returns.
The government’s bedroom tax rules say such a panic room is still a bedroom and hence the bedroom tax applies. Bizarrely, if a former bedroom was converted to a wet room the bedroom tax does not apply too!! The CoA ruling today said that is bollocks it is NOT a bedroom and so the property has one less bedroom than claimed – a 2 bed not a 3 bed and therefore the bedroom tax does not apply, and quite bloody rightly!
B) Overnight Care Case
The Rutherford case sees two grandparents have a disabled grandson with such high needs he requires round the clock care. However, the bedroom tax rules say only the tenant or the tenants partners can have a room allocated for an overnight carer – and so because Warren is a grandchild and not the tenant or tenants partner the bedroom tax has applied to the room used for his overnight carer.
The CoA has also said this is bollocks and quit bloody rightly!
Cue the media talking about ECHR and the non justification of the admitted discrimination and how this will or wont affect ‘x’ number of others clouds the issues hopefully explained above.
IDS and the DWP think it is acceptable to deem a panic room as a bedroom and also risk the traumatised domestic abuse victim and her child being made homeless due to arrears that the bedroom tax creates.
That fucking stinks.
IDS and the DWP think that it is acceptable to deny a severely disabled grandchild the right to have his overnight care needs met.
That also fucking stinks.
Cue the media using the same old same old knowingly false statements from the DWP anonymous sources they always quote yet never investigate as to their known and deliberate falsehoods.
Cue the BBC and media restating the DWP KNOWN lies
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said the government “fundamentally” disagreed with the court’s ruling.
“We have already been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. We know there will be people who need extra support.
“That is why we are giving local authorities over £870m in extra funding over the next five years to help ensure people in difficult situations like these don’t lose out.”
The government – which rejects the term “bedroom tax” – says the regulations remove what is in fact a spare room subsidy.
It says it aims to encourage people to move to smaller properties, potentially saving about £480m a year from the housing benefit bill.
We are giving local authorities over £870m – Bullshit conflation. It is correct that the TOTAL amount of Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) is £870m over the next 5 years YET that is also to pay for benefit cap cases, LHA cap cases, SAR cap cases, LHA maxima cap cases, for tenants moving home, for rent deposit bonds and many other purposes. The first year of the bedroom tax saw only £30 million of the £170 million allocated for bedroom tax and for which the government estimated a cut of £480 million. Just one-sixteenth of the bedroom tax cut or 6% of the bedroom tax deducted was met with a DHP allocation.
Spare Room Subsidy – Oh please do fuck off DWP and media cronies. The Social Sector Size Criteria (SSSC) to give this policy its correct name can ONLY apply to a spare BEDROOM – that is what the legislation says it can ONLY apply to a bedroom and no other room – and not to a spare toilet which is also a room. That is why it is called the BEDROOM tax in much the same way as the Community Charge was called and is still called the POLL TAX.
Saving £480m per year? – No it actually costs more and does not save a penny according to the IFS whose figures the media is happy to use in all other circumstances yet completely ignores with regard to the bedroom tax. Here is what the IFS said in March 2015
In REAL TERMS the housing benefit reforms cost £1 billion per year MORE and do not save a penny.
Secondly, the official figures the DWP itself releases show at the latest figures that 449,151 households are hit by the bedroom tax cut by an average of £15.25 per household per week. Crunch the numbers and that is a £359 million per year cut.
However, this cut increases housing benefit in other areas for example in the costs of temporary homeless costs and that is why the bedroom tax and all the other housing benefit reforms cost £1 BILLION MORE PER YEAR AND DON’T SAVE A PENNY.
Why the BBC particularly persists in using these known false figures is startling as in February 2013 – some 3 years ago – they did a piece on the massive increases in housing benefit costs directly created by the housing benefit reforms which saw Westminster Council having to pay £153,000 per year to house a family in hotels after being evicted due to the housing benefit reforms.
Do please read that article which is here and the 2 minute video it contains which shows the actual invoices that LB Westminster has had to pay for the housing benefit ‘reforms’ (sic) and you will learn more about the bedroom tax and all other HB reforms than any shite any of the national newspapers or TV news puts out about them
Finally – these two decision from the Court of Appeal were about people’s lives not about arcane legal bullshit as to whether a DHP is not justifiable policy or whether we can or can not adopt the ECHR human rights articles into UK law – that’s the European Convention on Human Rights which is absolutely fuck all to do with the European Commission / European Union / Common Market by the way.
These decisions are about
(a) two incredibly caring human beings in the Rutherfords whose lives are 100% about caring for their chronically disabled grandchild and can now sleep in their beds at night knowing their wonderful grandchild will not be taken into care and they can get back to doing a thankless and incredibly tiring and compassionate much more than full-time job that any adult wished they could do; and
(b) about a Mother and her child traumatised by domestic violence and abuse and living in their home with a steel doored and reinforced windows and a fireproofed letter box, which must remind them daily of the domestic violence and abuse they both suffered and survived, now being able to know that they will now not lose that home due to the heinous pernicious bedroom tax that ruled the reinforced panic room was a bedroom!
That is what these two cases were and are about – people’s lives and some extremely vulnerable people’s lives being ruined by the ill-conceived back of a fag packet policy called, correctly, the bedroom tax. The Court of Appeal has dispensed that rarity today – justice!!
When the judgment is fully considered it may have implications for other discrimination cases yet it is far too early to say what they will or might be – and again the renta-quote hasty analysis that is already appearing over this is also BULLSHIT too!