UN bedroom tax report is 'Marxist diatribe' rages housing minister
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Housing
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins has slammed a United Nations report on the government's controversial bedroom tax.
The report, composed by the UN's special investigator for housing, Raquel Rolnik, advises the Tory-led coalition to end the under-occupancy policy, which it says is affecting the UK public's "right to adequate housing".
Far from impressed with the report's findings, Hopkins raged: "This partisan report is completely discredited, and it is disappointing that the United Nations has allowed itself to be associated with a misleading Marxist diatribe."
Brazilian Ms Rolnik visited the UK last year on a fact-finding mission into the government's changes to housing policy.
Reporting on the effects of the bedroom tax, the report says: "Social landlords and residents in numerous meetings informed the special rapporteur that the increase in rent arrears was a key concern raised prior to this reform entering into force. Indeed, some reports already show that rent arrears have risen since April 2013, as people fight to stay in the house they have lived in throughout their lives.
"In the face of hard choices, between food, heating or paying the rent, many testimonies to the special rapporteur placed a strong value on staying in and saving a home. Some mothers in their 50s talked about their homes as the place they had raised their children and lived their lives. Many felt targeted and forced to give up their neighbourhoods, their carers and their safety net. While in principle the policy does not force people to move, the reality of people’s experience, many of whom are working people with no income to spare, left no doubt in the special rapporteur’s mind that many have no other option, which has left them in tremendous despair."
The Department for Work and Pensions has also been upset by the report. A spokesman said: “This report is based on anecdotal evidence and the conclusion was clearly written before any research was actually completed."