I despise the bedroom tax and have a zeal to get rid of it and to challenge the scores of myths it has thrown up. If the bedroom tax was Labour policy I would have the same view that the policy is wrong, ill-conceived and thus my hatred towards it is not primarily political: It is just bad policy and as I have detailed it does NOT save a penny, in fact it costs more to the public purse not less as the government’s own official figure reveal.
Yes that’s right the bedroom tax does not save a penny despite cutting costs at source, an issue it shares with the three other welfare reform (sic) policies introduced to cut the Housing Benefit bill in the overall benefit cap, the Local Housing Allowance caps and in the cap on the Shared Accommodation Rate age increasing to those under 35 years or age from those under 25.
ALL OF THESE FOUR POLICIES HAVE INCREASED THE HOUSING BENEFIT BILL AS A MATTER OF FACT
That may sound incredulous but the official figures bear this out and prove even after allowing for inflation and even allowing for the increase in the numbers claiming housing benefit – these reforms (sic) have only served to INCREASE the cost to the taxpayer and public purse.
We can speculate WHY that these cuts at source and caps at source have increased the overall bill till the cows come home yet the FACT remains the bedroom tax, benefit cap, LHA and SAR caps all cost more and have not saved a penny.
The Labour Party has pledged to abolish it. Good. Yet they are making a pig’s ear out of that challenge to this policy, that I again restate DOES NOT SAVE A PENNY and COSTS MORE.
Yesterday the London Evening Standard, a paper about as left wing in its politics as Genghis Khan, put out an article by Helen Goodman, a Labour Shadow Welfare Minister
The articles KEY or primary message is that it hits London social tenants to the tune of over £50 million per year – which is true and the actual figure is £51, 402, 071 per year. YET in saying that the Labour Party allude to the myth that the bedroom tax saves money when it clearly and unambiguously does not save a penny and costs more as the official figures show.
That is the political strategy of the incompetent and unfortunately all too common with the Labour Party as I have discussed many times before from Rachel Reeves stating what she would change in order to counteract the alleged and mythical savings the Tories claim for it to Ed Miliband failing to make a fool of David Cameron on at least two occasions when the Prime Minister has said in parliament that the disabled are exempt from it when there are no exemptions whatsoever for disabled people in the bedroom tax.
If Miliband had known the bedroom tax system and regulations he would have been able to say that Cameron clearly did not know his own party’s policy when he said the disabled were exempt. That would have brought the policy to its knees and the media coverage of that would have been widespread and would hammer home to the general public (and to Labour MPs too!) the chronic unfairness and pernicious nature of the policy.
[Just for any pedants out there this is a discretion but not an exemption if a disabled child if they are ‘disabled enough’ but that is not an exemption it is a discretion to and of your local council]
Moreover, and a minor point, the Labour Party cannot even get their facts right as the above says that Londoners lose more cash than people in any other region which is a false statement. The cut in the North West is greater than this at £54, 355, 089 comprising of 72, 041 households being affected at a lower cost admittedly to the 47, 180 affected in inner and outer London and is £3 million more than the cut in London
Yes the 48, 247 figure in the article is wrong too and the latest figures are the 47, 180 I state above. A little bit more than pedantry and especially when the hyperbole of the article says Labour Party ‘new ‘ figures’ when in fact the 48, 247 figure used wrongly by the Labour Party is the higher figure from August 2014 – How can 6 months out of date figures be new and even back in August the cut was still greater in the North West than in London of course!
The ONE AND ONLY ISSUE with the bedroom tax is does it save money. As it does NOT save the public purse a penny then there are NO SAVINGS at all to the public purse and ultimately to the individual taxpayer. Just what is the point of the penury, poverty and ill-health the policy creates if it doesn’t save a bloody penny!!!
Yes I am angry at that, rightfully angry and bloody angry too as I have seen first hand the pernicious impacts this pernicious policy causes and directly causes.
However, I am just as angry at Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, aka the Labour Party, as it is their job to oppose and they have been repeatedly inept at doing this and could have put this matter to bed far sooner by exposing the lies and lack of his own policy knowledge by Cameron and the myths that this policy saves money. Their incompetence has prolonged this policy and made it an election battleground when if they had exposed that it does not save a penny, which is the fact of the matter, then even the most belligerently stubborn Tory Party would have known this was a policy and election battle they could not win upon.
Here from Nov 2013 is Cameron lying to parliament and in direct response to a question raised by Miliband saying
“Obviously what we’ve done is exempt disabled people who need an extra room”
There is no exemption at all but the incompetent Ed Miliband, or his gaggle of advisors and researchers within the Labour Party simply did not know. Rank incompetence.
Just last month on TV Cameron issued yet another lie about the bedroom tax which again the Labour Party failed to pick up on as they clearly do not know the policy and how it works:
“It is a basic issue of fairness. You don’t get subsidised if you are renting privately.
This is another lie as I commented on and gave chapter and verse and factual examples as to why it was a lie. But yet again the Labour Party, Her Majesty’s Official Opposition proved they do not know the policy and how it works – rank and utter incompetence as exposing the ‘big cheese’ of the government in any policy means that policy and that ‘big cheese’ is history – no 2nd term for Call me Dave let alone the arrogance of him saying he wont run a 3rd time!
Cameron also lied about the bedroom tax and housing benefit here in January 2012 when he said that housing benefit had reduced when it had not
“All parties are committed, as I understand it, to reform housing benefit. That was Labour’s commitment before the last election. The housing benefit bill is completely out of control. Labour’s own welfare spokesman said last week that at £20 billion, it was unacceptable and it had to change and what we’ve seen so far, as housing benefit has been reformed and reduced, is that actually we have seen rent levels come down. So we’ve stopped ripping off the taxpayer.”
Yet as the official figures released, without irony or ambiguity reveal, that the Housing Benefit bill has increased and increased from £20.8 billion at May 2010 to £24 billion today when the coalitions stated aim of the bedroom tax, benefit cap, LHA and SAR cap was to reduce it by £2 billion per year. Despite all of these reforms (sic) – reform means to improve – the Housing Benefit bill has INCREASED in real terms and not a penny has been saved.
Yet once again the latest Labour Party incompetent alludes to the cuts, which have happened, equating with savings which are mythical.
Perhaps the biggest neglect of attacking the claimed savings is in the BBC London example which revealed that LB Westminster spending up to £153k per year in Housing Benefit for those local private tenants who had been evicted directly because of private landlords rents not being met due to this Tory Governments caps on Local Housing Allowance or LHA the private sector variant of housing benefit. This is one huge reason of many that explains why cutting or capping HB in one area leads to much higher cost in another HB area, in this case temporary homelessness
Explaining to the general public how a cut or a cap can actually increase the cost is difficult. It just doesn’t sound plausible or credible yet the BBC London piece demonstrates this easily. Is this a case of the Labour Party believing selling the bedroom tax costs more argument is too difficult for the fickle electorate to comprehend? If so add patronising to their rank incompetence!
I have no issue with the Labour Party trying to attract the London vote and London as a region has the LOWEST percentage of social tenants affected by the bedroom tax. That is fact as it is just 8.48% of all social tenants affected compared to the national average of 14% of all social tenants affected – A hugely different issue to the headline Labour sought of Londoners being the worst affected region of the country!!!
For the record nationally (England Wales and Scotland) it is 14.45%, the North East is the highest at 19.3% of social housing tenants claiming HB; NW it is 17.9%; Yorks & Humber is 15.9%; East Midlands is 14.9%; WM at 14.45%; the East region at 11.39%; the SE at 9.61%; SW at 11.32% and Scotland and Wales both at 19% – In short the London region is by far the least affected region for bedroom tax in Great Britain.
Yet again the competence of the Labour Party in its strategy to challenge the bedroom tax is simply inept and why oh why do they not say the bedroom tax does not save a penny instead of alluding to the Tory myth that it does.
Go back to the figures here. IF the bedroom tax saves money then the overall Housing Benefit bill must fall in real terms and especially as the bedroom tax IS deducted at source and less HB is paid, as is also the case with the benefit cap and the LHA and SAR caps. YET the HB bill has INCREASED and in real terms so all of the these 4 policies, the so-called ‘reforms’ have NOT saved a penny. – That is the message the Labour Party needs to accept and promote in order to challenge the pernicious bedroom tax policy. Yet time and time again they have proved incompetent at challenging its cost or its operation as repeatedly lied about by Cameron, IDS, Freud, Webb, Harper and McVey (amonst others!)
Its about bloody time they did!