Sign up to our Editors Choice newsletter now! Click here

Friday Feud – What’s to be done about the bedroom tax?

Accessibility Menu

Menu Search

24dash - The UK's most up-to-date social housing and public sector news website

Friday Feud – What’s to be done about the bedroom tax?

24DASH.COM Logo

Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government

Friday Feud  Whats to be done about the bedroom tax? Friday Feud Whats to be done about the bedroom tax?

By 24dash reporter Max Salsbury

The bedroom tax isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Well, actually it isn’t anyone’s cup of tea, apart from huge fanboy Iain Duncan Smith and fellow swooner Lord Freud.

But let us put these zealous masterminds aside for a moment.

The cantankerous yet respected housing blogger Joe Halewood has written a typically vitriolic and interesting piece on the wholly random impact of the widely-loathed policy.

(Notably, he lists a number of publications whose journalists ‘don’t know what they’re talking’ about when it comes to the bedroom tax, such as the Guardian and Inside Housing, but doesn’t list our own rag, 24housing. Now, either he thinks we do know what we’re talking about...or he doesn’t know we exist.)

According to the figures Halewood managed to cobble together “in 10 minutes”, nationwide the bedroom tax’s victim-count exhibits immense disparities. In Wales, one in seven social housing tenants has fallen foul of the policy in Conwy, but only one in three has in Blaenau Gwent.

Meanwhile, in Yorkshire and the Humber, Harrogate has seen one in nine come a cropper, while almost one in three has in Doncaster.

And so on. You get the point.

At the very least, the bedroom tax seems to be a muddled policy. The fact is, it’s penalised a huge amount of people who have NOWHERE TO DOWNSIZE TO.

As it turns out, social landlords don’t necessarily have an abundance of one-bed flats and generally smaller properties to shift people into. Are they really supposed to build more to cater for the caprice of the bedroom tax?

Meanwhile, back in April, the HomeSwapper website revealed it had almost 200,000 one and two-bedroom social housing properties available for people looking to downsize.

Nice figures, but where are these homes? After all, if you’ve been hit by the bedroom tax in Newcastle, say, you probably won’t be too mollified to find there are plenty of available one-bed flats in Cornwall. Surely people have some kind of right to remain in their local area – you know, where their friends, family and life are.

But let’s focus on something else. Let’s put aside any feelings we might have about IDS and Freud, and any theories we might have about the Tories’ motives. Let’s focus instead on the amount of social homes that are under-occupied and the families living in cramped conditions whilst rotting on housing waiting lists.

So, basically, let’s assume that the government’s intentions were good and it truly wants to tackle under-occupancy – it’s just that it badly bungled in its execution.

Labour and the Lib Dems have both committed to abolishing the bedroom tax, so the chances are its days are numbered anyway - but what can be done to tackle under-occupancy outside of the ridiculous policy? Should anything even be done? Does it actually matter if one person lives in a five-bed social home? Is the answer simply to build lots of new houses?

Once again, I dunno. I live in a shed.

So, please make use of the comments section below and let’s use the united power of our tremendous minds to settle the issue once and for all.

Comments

Login and comment using one of your accounts...