Tories furious with UN representative over bedroom tax trashing
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Communities, Housing, Regulation
Opinion: 'Is the HCA falling down on the job? It was Shapps wot done it'
The Tory Party is up in arms over the United Nation's special rapporteur's damning of the bedroom tax.
Raquel Rolnik concluded that the controversial under-occupancy policy is "shocking" after social housing tenants told her that the tax was making them suicidal, and has recommended that it be abolished.
But Conservative chairman Grant Shapps has called Ms Rolnik's comments an "absolute disgrace" and has insisted that he will be writing to the UN secretary to protest.
Former housing minister Shapps, who famously pretended to be a man called 'Michael Green' whilst hawking computer software, has complained that Ms Rolnik failed to meet any ministers or officials during her two-week visit to the UK.
Shapps said: "It is completely wrong and an abuse of the process for somebody to come over, to fail to meet with government ministers, to fail to meet with the department responsible, to produce a press release two weeks after coming, even though the report is not due out until next spring, and even to fail to refer to the policy properly throughout the report.
"That is why I am writing to the secretary general today to ask for an apology and an investigation as to how this came about."
Shapps is also displeased that the special rapporteur referred to the policy as "the bedroom tax", rather than the government's preferred term, "spare room subsidy".
Ms Rolnik has rejected almost all of Shapps' complaints, though did apologise for using the term "bedroom tax". She explained to the BBC that she described it as such because it was "what everyone has been calling it since I got here".