Swindon AdvertiserBedroom tax is not working, says tenants' leader (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Bedroom tax is not working, says tenants' leader

A YEAR after the bedroom tax was introduced there have been renewed calls for it to be scrapped.

The law,known officially as “under-occupation” regulations, is designed to free up space in council homes by encouraging tenants to move to smaller properties.

If a tenant who receives housing benefit has a spare bedroom the money they get is reduced. Critics have slammed the policy for making people’s lives a misery and forcing them to cut back on other vital expenses, such as heating or food.

The Secretary of Swindon Tenants’ Campaign Group has said it is time for the law to be repealed as it is not having any real effect.

He said: “Contrary to the propaganda of the Government and the mass media, living on benefits is not a ‘lifestyle choice.’ “More and more people in work depend on benefits to get by. Given the increase in precarious employment, including ‘zero hours’ contracts, more and more people struggle to scratch a living from month to month.

“That’s reflected in the Housing Benefit figures for Swindon. “The latest available figures show that in the year up to February 2013 the number of new Housing Benefit claims was 5,480. The number of ended claims was 5,560. “This reflects a situation where people are on and off of benefits regularly as their circumstances change.”

Martin says the policy is simply not having the desired effect because there are not enough smaller houses for people to move into. Although he says there are more small houses in Swindon than in many other towns, it is still not enough for all the families which need to downsize.

As a result he says people are suffering as they struggle to make up the cash elsewhere.

“Despite all the stories of human misery and tragedy related to the ‘bedroom tax’ over the course of the last year, this shameless Government refuses to accept that this is a failed policy,” said Martin. “It has been reported that only six per cent of tenants nationally have downsized. “Even a government Minister, in quibbling over this figure, could suggest no higher than eight per cent. It’s high time for the bedroom tax to be abandoned.”

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson defended the policy, saying it was helping families trapped in smaller council accommodation move into bigger properties.

He said: “This is crucial to making sure family sized homes are prioritised for families. For those who oppose this I challenge them to speak to the families trapped on the housing waiting list, living in accommodation too small.”

Comments (14)

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8:48am Thu 3 Apr 14

Always Grumpy says...

IT'S NOT A TAX.
IT'S NOT A TAX. Always Grumpy
  • Score: 3

10:13am Thu 3 Apr 14

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

6% of tenants nationally is quite a lot of people. How about quoting the actual number rather than misleading percentages?
6% of tenants nationally is quite a lot of people. How about quoting the actual number rather than misleading percentages? The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man
  • Score: 2

10:54am Thu 3 Apr 14

StillPav says...

"Contrary to the propaganda of the Government and the mass media, living on benefits is not a ‘lifestyle choice."

What evidence does he have to back this up? Hundreds of thousands of migrants come to this country every year and they don't have a problem finding work, so it clearly isn't a lack of jobs.

Of course, another thing migrants don't have access to is generous benefits, which might also go some way to suggesting why they are so motivated to find work.
"Contrary to the propaganda of the Government and the mass media, living on benefits is not a ‘lifestyle choice." What evidence does he have to back this up? Hundreds of thousands of migrants come to this country every year and they don't have a problem finding work, so it clearly isn't a lack of jobs. Of course, another thing migrants don't have access to is generous benefits, which might also go some way to suggesting why they are so motivated to find work. StillPav
  • Score: -2

11:24am Thu 3 Apr 14

madreeves says...

"For those who oppose this I challenge them to speak to the families trapped on the housing waiting list, living in accommodation too small.” Will you be setting up a forum for that Mr Wicks?
"For those who oppose this I challenge them to speak to the families trapped on the housing waiting list, living in accommodation too small.” Will you be setting up a forum for that Mr Wicks? madreeves
  • Score: -3

11:47am Thu 3 Apr 14

Robh says...

The biggest problem is there are not enough mixed developments so downsizing means moving areas.
The biggest problem is there are not enough mixed developments so downsizing means moving areas. Robh
  • Score: 0

1:49pm Thu 3 Apr 14

trolley dolley says...

Why should anyone demand that the council provide them with accommodation beyond their NEEDS.

If you are in accommodation that is too large then you move out or pay up.

This is not a tax, it is a sensible way of saying to people "We the tax payers will not pay you for something you don't need".

I notice that Mr Wicks quotes;
"The number of new Housing Benefit claims was 5,480. The number of ended claims was 5,560. This reflects a situation where people are on and off of benefits".

Surely he is not saying that the people who came off benefits (5,560) should have stayed on benefits.

That would have doubled the figure.!!
Why should anyone demand that the council provide them with accommodation beyond their NEEDS. If you are in accommodation that is too large then you move out or pay up. This is not a tax, it is a sensible way of saying to people "We the tax payers will not pay you for something you don't need". I notice that Mr Wicks quotes; "The number of new Housing Benefit claims was 5,480. The number of ended claims was 5,560. This reflects a situation where people are on and off of benefits". Surely he is not saying that the people who came off benefits (5,560) should have stayed on benefits. That would have doubled the figure.!! trolley dolley
  • Score: 0

5:40pm Thu 3 Apr 14

knittynora says...

madreeves wrote:
"For those who oppose this I challenge them to speak to the families trapped on the housing waiting list, living in accommodation too small.” Will you be setting up a forum for that Mr Wicks?
Dare I suggest that a national Social housing building programme might be more effective, especially as we see in tonights Adver that house prices are rising so more families will be priced out of home ownership and have to rely on the private rental sector with a consequent rise in the housing benefit bill due to the higher rents.
[quote][p][bold]madreeves[/bold] wrote: "For those who oppose this I challenge them to speak to the families trapped on the housing waiting list, living in accommodation too small.” Will you be setting up a forum for that Mr Wicks?[/p][/quote]Dare I suggest that a national Social housing building programme might be more effective, especially as we see in tonights Adver that house prices are rising so more families will be priced out of home ownership and have to rely on the private rental sector with a consequent rise in the housing benefit bill due to the higher rents. knittynora
  • Score: -2

9:01pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Ollie Dognacky says...

This is not a tax.
Why should people get subsidised to live beyond their means in mansions.
Perhaps they'd like the use of my car too?
This is not a tax. Why should people get subsidised to live beyond their means in mansions. Perhaps they'd like the use of my car too? Ollie Dognacky
  • Score: 2

9:52pm Thu 3 Apr 14

knittynora says...

Ollie Dognacky wrote:
This is not a tax.
Why should people get subsidised to live beyond their means in mansions.
Perhaps they'd like the use of my car too?
Mansions????? Are we talking about the Windsor family again?
Sadly I cant drive but thanks for the offer.
[quote][p][bold]Ollie Dognacky[/bold] wrote: This is not a tax. Why should people get subsidised to live beyond their means in mansions. Perhaps they'd like the use of my car too?[/p][/quote]Mansions????? Are we talking about the Windsor family again? Sadly I cant drive but thanks for the offer. knittynora
  • Score: 0

8:30am Fri 4 Apr 14

house on the hill says...

I always find it rather distasteful when those living in a country with one of the best welfare programmes in the world and living at taxpayers expense sit there and still moan. And for those who bleat on about how "they pay their rent", you pay an artificially low rent propped up by the taxpayer. your house was more than likely built with a loan from the taxpayer and more than half the income the housing department receive to manage, repair and improve your home comes from housing benefit (the taxpayer) so yes you are subsided.

Firstly is not a fvcking tax, so stop trying to make it something it isnt.

secondly, why should you be subsidised to have a house bigger than you need, what makes you so special then?

Thirdly, we cannot sustain a situation where more than 50% of adults take more from the state than they contribute and neither is it fair.

People have just become lazy and expect life to come to them. Why worry about how many kids you have or what lifestyle you choose when there is a system there to pick up the pieces at other peoples expense. And why should you expect to find work in your home town, if you have a family then grow a pair and take responsibility for providing for them even if that means moving somewhere else as many of us have had to do more than one. And why if you have worked all your life but instead of saving for your retirement, you spent all you earned, should those who have saved subsidise your retirement. We are a lazy inept joke of a country happy with mediocrity seeing the rest of the world overtake us in economies, education, technology and living standards. We need to wake up before it is too late.
I always find it rather distasteful when those living in a country with one of the best welfare programmes in the world and living at taxpayers expense sit there and still moan. And for those who bleat on about how "they pay their rent", you pay an artificially low rent propped up by the taxpayer. your house was more than likely built with a loan from the taxpayer and more than half the income the housing department receive to manage, repair and improve your home comes from housing benefit (the taxpayer) so yes you are subsided. Firstly is not a fvcking tax, so stop trying to make it something it isnt. secondly, why should you be subsidised to have a house bigger than you need, what makes you so special then? Thirdly, we cannot sustain a situation where more than 50% of adults take more from the state than they contribute and neither is it fair. People have just become lazy and expect life to come to them. Why worry about how many kids you have or what lifestyle you choose when there is a system there to pick up the pieces at other peoples expense. And why should you expect to find work in your home town, if you have a family then grow a pair and take responsibility for providing for them even if that means moving somewhere else as many of us have had to do more than one. And why if you have worked all your life but instead of saving for your retirement, you spent all you earned, should those who have saved subsidise your retirement. We are a lazy inept joke of a country happy with mediocrity seeing the rest of the world overtake us in economies, education, technology and living standards. We need to wake up before it is too late. house on the hill
  • Score: 5

10:34am Fri 4 Apr 14

ChannelX says...

"It's not fair, other people won't continue to pay for me to live in a house that's bigger than I actually need"
"It's not fair, other people won't continue to pay for me to live in a house that's bigger than I actually need" ChannelX
  • Score: 2

12:54pm Fri 4 Apr 14

Ollie Dognacky says...

I find it very unfair that other people won't continue to pay for me to live in a house that's bigger than they think it should be
I find it very unfair that other people won't continue to pay for me to live in a house that's bigger than they think it should be Ollie Dognacky
  • Score: -2

5:40pm Fri 4 Apr 14

trolley dolley says...

I believe in CHARITY.
I believe in helping people in REAL NEED.

I do not believe in giving to people who choose for whatever reason to stay out of work and on benefits (charity).

No one has a right to expect other people to provide them with the means to live in the way they choose.

If people are genuinely trying to help themselves and improve their lives then we should help them to achieve this.

So stop carping on about benefits and try making your own way in life, you may find you enjoy it. And for those who can't we should provide help.
I believe in CHARITY. I believe in helping people in REAL NEED. I do not believe in giving to people who choose for whatever reason to stay out of work and on benefits (charity). No one has a right to expect other people to provide them with the means to live in the way they choose. If people are genuinely trying to help themselves and improve their lives then we should help them to achieve this. So stop carping on about benefits and try making your own way in life, you may find you enjoy it. And for those who can't we should provide help. trolley dolley
  • Score: -1

7:33am Sat 5 Apr 14

house on the hill says...

This is more about political activism and boosting your own ego. This man has never cared about anyone but himself and getting his name in the papers and telling people what they should do with other peoples money. He epitomises everything that is wrong with today's society. He has no need of a subsidised rent property but still he has the disgusting gall to moan about it in the name of fairness. If anything he does more harm than good and creates this attitude that some have of looking down on his kind which doesn't help his cause at all.

As others have said, I have never had a problem with helping those who genuinely need it but I am fed up with those who expect others to fund their life choices and pick up the pieces of what ever self inflicted problems they might have. What sort of parent expects someone else to pay for their kids, what sort of role model are you? If you want something in life go and earn it and if you can't afford something don't expect others to pay for it.
This is more about political activism and boosting your own ego. This man has never cared about anyone but himself and getting his name in the papers and telling people what they should do with other peoples money. He epitomises everything that is wrong with today's society. He has no need of a subsidised rent property but still he has the disgusting gall to moan about it in the name of fairness. If anything he does more harm than good and creates this attitude that some have of looking down on his kind which doesn't help his cause at all. As others have said, I have never had a problem with helping those who genuinely need it but I am fed up with those who expect others to fund their life choices and pick up the pieces of what ever self inflicted problems they might have. What sort of parent expects someone else to pay for their kids, what sort of role model are you? If you want something in life go and earn it and if you can't afford something don't expect others to pay for it. house on the hill
  • Score: -1

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