Friday, November 9, 2012

Labour and another tax that doesn't exist

Some dishonest folk (our local Labour party) have been suggesting that a new 'bedroom tax' is being introduced.  They mean housing benefit changes I have explained here. 

If in doubt I have produced this clever 'ready reckoner' that means you can calculate how much 'bedroom tax' you'll pay.  Simply find how many people live in your home, how many bedrooms you have follow the lines and where they meet is how much 'bedroom tax' you'll pay.


Here's what's wrong with their claim

I hope to publish a picture guide to government finance for Key stage 1 pupils and Labour activists another time, but in summary; 

Tax = Your money that the government take to pay for services and benefits 
Benefits =  tax payers money that the government has collected being handed out.

The changes to housing benefit may result in some modest savings to government, so a reduction in payments to people. (will primarily make better use of the limited social housing stock) But the government will not be collecting any extra money off people. 

Secondly if you say bedroom tax, we all pay it if we have a bedroom.  This again is an absolute lie.  If any of these apply to you, you don't receive Housing benefit, are in receipt of a state pension, live in private accommodation or don't have a spare room,  then you can't lose anthing

So why do Labour do it? 

Firstly the addiction to spin.  Research says when people hear government are cutting benefit, it divides opinion.  Some believe benefits are too high or unfair, others will be horrified.  If you say 'new tax' opinion is less divided and more opposed (unless it's from bankers of course).   

If Labour came out and said

"The government are no longer prepared to use tax payers money to pay full housing benefit to those of working age who have a bigger home than they need and Labour don't like it very much".  

Well it's hardly a game changer (and wouldn't really work as T-shirt campaign.)
Many would be supportive of the Government, most wouldn't be too bothered, of course some would support Labour's sorry stance (they have not spelled out their own cuts to Housing benefit just yet) 

Say 'bedroom tax'........................... and suddenly we're all a bit scared, 

people knocking walls down so they can tell the tax inspector "it's not a bedroom, just a really wide hallway" or setting off to B&Q to get a cheap bath for the kids room so you can claim bedroom three is actually an extra bathroom. (all of which would technically be tax avoidance if you did it, if there was a tax, which there isn't, so you can, but there's not a lot of point).  

All that fear is what Labour want families to live with .   They can't win your vote with big ideas, they haven't got any, so they'll use fear. 

I quizzed a Labour councillor about using lies to win elections, she didn't deny it, simply responded "negative campaigning works" .  So tonights blog has confirmed two thing we already knew

1.  You will not pay bedroom tax
2.  Labour will never let facts get in the way of a campaign


  1. And here's what's wrong with your claim; Labour know very well that this doesn't affect everyone. Oddly enough it will mostly only affect the sick and disabled, people with disabled children who can't share rooms, couples with disabilities etc. Over two thirds of the tenants are disabled and not expected to work. Where will the rent come from? This policy will put hundreds of thousands of tenants at immediate risk of arrears and homelessness from the 1st of April. Try explaining why the housing benefit bill has really gone up. And then try and explain why it is set to rise even further as a result of policies like this one and the overall benefit cap which will see thousands forced into temporary or private accomodation. You cannot impose notions of choice and affordability retrospectively. Of course the taxpayer should not pay for extra bedrooms, but this fails to recognise the lack of affordable alternatives. In all cases a smaller property in the private rented sector will cost more in housing benefit. It will be interesting to see how the voters react when they realise this policy will force people like me, with a life-limiting illness, out of the home I have lived in for 25 years. (By the way, if I move out my housing association will sell the house, so I'm not blocking a family in any way) Your policies are driving people over the edge.

    1. Thank you for your comments. If you email me I would be happy to come round (I assume you live local)and make sure the Council are aware of your situation and help in any way I can. There will be exceptional circumstances which, if the Council know about, can look into as soon as possible.

      As you can see from my guide to Housing benefit changes, I disagree with the way this policy is being implemented - too little time to find alternative accommodation when there is a housing shortage.

      In this blog entry I wanted to challenge the idea that it was a 'bedroom tax' (that would scare most families) so the Council and its councillors can spend more time making sure people like you are properly advised and supported. I'm sure you'll agree it would be a disaster if our most vulnerable residents' needs were could no be met due to support being distracted by lots of families worrying for no reason because of irresponsible misinformation.

      We are local councillors. Our first duty is to those I serve, not the party we happen to represent. Some councillors have forgotten that and are happy to distribute fear for votes. That's the bit I don't like.

  2. I have a relative with Mutiple Sclerosis, he has a wheel chair and scooter. He lives in a tiny 2 bedroom terraced bungalow. He will loose part of his benefits and he already is struggling as it is. The bungalow is small and has sharp turns that he find hard to negotiate, he constantly has falls.
    You say the council will advise they will not, he has tried. This is seen as a blanket ruling, the benefit will not be forthcoming and the council, or rather housing association, want their rent.

    he had no choice but to live where he does, one bedrooms are like hen's teeth.

    Yes there are people living in four bedrooms who shouldn't be but I thought there were already rules in place to stop that?

    Are you really that naive to think this will only hit the people it should? because it will not. I would suggest you research the matter further ...disabled people may not be able to work and may not matter to you but they should they can still vote and will!

    1. Clearly the issue here is your relative is in the wrong accommodation. I'm sure you'll agree the priority is their welfare. Many of the affordable homes built in this area recently have been one bed, they're not as rare (I assume that's what 'hens teeth' means - I've never heard it before) as you may think. When some one is in a wheelchair and suffering falls in their own home, the housing benefit is the least of the problems.

      As always, if they live in the borough, get them to call me and I will help in any way I can

  3. Just for information, despite offering to help the anonymous 'commenters' above, neither got back to me.

    I would never disbelieve their stories, so assume they got help elsewhere which is good news.