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Bedroom Tax


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Showing 1-14 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 Jul 2013 14:39:35 BDT
So there was a discussion on Radio 4 today about the bedroom tax and the Chief Exec of a housing association basically said "The result has been we have lots of empty houses"

Now I'm not entirely unsympathetic towards the housing association, it must suck to suddenly have a lot of your housing stock devalued because most users will be taxed for living there and not have enough time to convert your stock before the change, but at the same time, Isn't the point, the Housing associations were getting rich off tax payers money so that the poorest members of society could have a spare room?

Has the bedroom tax increased homelessness? Has it made any actual people, rather than companies worse off? I didn't see that in the report...

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2013 14:43:13 BDT
Occam...no idea.

Posted on 1 Jul 2013 15:17:01 BDT
Ian says:
Aren't housing associations non-profit organisations?

If they are employing too many people (why is that a bad thing?) or paying their employees too much because they are able to over-charge for housing by supplying unnecessarily large homes then that is a failure of the free market system.

Perhaps it would be better if social housing was provided by local authorities. We could refer to the buildings as 'local authority homes' or something similar.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2013 16:37:24 BDT
Pipkin says:
Hi IaN
>Perhaps it would be better if social housing was provided by local authorities. We could refer to the buildings as 'local authority homes' or something similar.<
I thought Social Housing 'was' provided by Local Authorities and is referred to as 'Local Authority Homes?'
......
''Social landlords are the bodies that own and manage social housing. They tend to be non-commercial organisations such as local authorities or housing associations. Housing associations are independent, not-for-profit organisations that use any surpluses they generate to maintain existing homes and to help finance new ones. It is now possible for commercial organisations to build and manage social housing, although this is not yet common practice.''
....
Occam says >Isn't the point, the Housing associations were getting rich off tax payers money so that the poorest members of society could have a spare room?<
Personally I would rather pay £16.49bn in taxes to help the poorer in society to be housed, than the £60.8 bn paid to enable thousands of men and women to invade other countries and kill innocent men, women and children to enable the pillage and sacking of another man's land. I know it has always happened, but WE are supposedly more civilised now?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2013/jan/08/uk-benefit-welfare-spending#zoomed-picture
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

How sad and immoral that so much time and money is invested in death, yet the majority of people don't give a fig, and complain about supporting the weakest/less fortunate in our society?

regards
Margaret

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2013 16:52:46 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Jul 2013 16:53:11 BDT
Margaret, I think you misunderstand me. We could always argue that more taxes should be spent on useful things than the military. I take that as basically a given, like saying "politicians who rape children should be removed from office" just because it's not the discussion I'm having today doesn't mean it's a point I disagree with

That said, is there any harm to real people from the bedroom tax? Why should I fund someone who is unemployed to live a lifestyle I cannot afford while employed? If you're on housing benefit I think it is fair to say "you don't get to have a spare bedroom" I assumed the consequence that made the policy bad in practice would be homelessness rising as people couldn't afford 2 and 3 bedroom houses and there weren't one bedroom houses available but that's not a consequence anybody's talking about.

But Looking at the public purse, the breakdown is 33.7Billion on the military, about half the figure you quoted. vs 1.7bn on housing.

http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/year_spending_2012UKbn_12bc1n_3040#ukgs302

Much better source for these sort of figures.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2013 17:16:12 BDT
You seem confused whetone.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2013 17:21:26 BDT
T. S. C. says:
'Occam's Whetstone says:

So there was a discussion on Radio 4 today about the bedroom tax and the Chief Exec of a housing association basically said "The result has been we have lots of empty houses"'

The meat on the bones of the argument for me is that by attacking poor people, instead of the multi-millionaire an billionaires, corporations and international corporations, they are being cruel and immoral. Perhaps something should be done about the welfare bill, but why aren't tax dodgers being taken to task? They spend billions on wars most people don't want and this could be used to create jobs, housing and better opportunities for everyone. Naive? Yes possibly.

Posted on 1 Jul 2013 18:02:24 BDT
Ian says:
The bedroom tax seems to come down to jealousy; 'why should you have a spare room if the taxpayer is paying for it?'

The Radio 4 report this morning did claim that the policy isn't saving any money but it is a massive inconvenience for the housing associations and tenants (most of who seem to be unable to move to a smaller house).

Perhaps the concept was OK - maybe those on housing benefits shouldn't be able to afford a home with spare rooms when I can't - but the implementation should have been no new claims for homes with more bedrooms than necessary.

Link to the report (or a very similar one) here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23122369

Even then there is a possible need for exceptions; the market for rented homes may well become so distorted as a result of this possibility that private landlords will be able to charge more for homes with fewer bedrooms.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2013 18:09:54 BDT
Ian says:
Margaret "local authority homes" was a poor attempt on my part to allude to "council houses" as a possible replacement for housing associations.
I should've realised that local authority homes are something else.

Occam's point was that the only people suffering are businesses, but as the businesses are non-profit then it must be their employees who will suffer.

So we can expect the outcome of this policy to be job losses at housing associations and areas with empty houses which will lead to increased crime (in addition to the cost to people who are forced to live on even lower incomes until they can find a new home to move to; a move they must make at their own expense). The cost of increased crime and unemployment will almost certainly exceed more than wipe out any savings.

I've read before that the Swiss government and local authorities are very good at using actuaries to calculate the actual cost of policies. In the UK we have a long history of being very bad at this and seem to end up paying much more in social costs, lost business, insurance claims, etc. as a result of ill thought out schemes which save tiny amounts of money.

Posted on 1 Jul 2013 18:23:05 BDT
Jack Murray says:
Yeah, there's a human cost. A great human cost. There was a news story about a grandmoher comitting suicide because she'd be forced away from their family into desolate housing (a la http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/suicide-bedroom-tax-victim-stephanie-1883600) as she couldn't afford the extra cost. (More suicide stories; http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/liverpool-bedroom-tax-suicide-risk-4033511) As for homelessness, it threatened me and my mother, who live on a housing estate. I'm very ill, you understand, too ill to work. As benefits get lower and lower, and wages fall and, with the privatization of housing (our and several other estates being sold on to private landlords), swiftly rising rents, it became inevitable that in a few months we'd be on the street, and not for the first time. Fortunately some policy changed, and we were exempt from it, but I am sure not every family was as lucky.

Other costs include, say... In activist groups, anti-austerity has become a big burner, and hotroading the anti-Bedroom Tax movements are far-right fascists and nazis, who have pushed themselves into workers' spaces that were previously Marxian, which are now dangerous places for POC and GSM, meaning their voices are not heard. Now anti-austerity is divided, and partially mobilized towards fascism, which is a growing entity in Europe who's violence in Britain I need not mention. That is a cost of the Bedroom Tax, it is part of the ripples. A heavily right-wing government who's now only vocal resistance is an even heavier right-wing radical movement. Fascist coups have taken this form before in this century, to remind of Argentina, and Brazil currently.

That's just to give one example of the ripple effects, there will be thousands - the whole of Europe is being slowly mobilised towards oppression, the Bedroom Tax is one of the many insults. For a historical view you can look at the Head Poll Tax, an excruciatingly similar piece of legislature, and its legacy.

Posted on 3 Jul 2013 23:35:22 BDT
Spin says:
What about a "shed tax"? A garden with the potential to provide accommodation for the homeless...

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jul 2013 23:54:01 BDT
Aye, there is a lot about unemployed receiving HB. But let's consider the other end of market. What's the ceiling for payments in central London from private landlords?

Posted on 4 Jul 2013 00:01:37 BDT
Spin says:
The more sex you have in a room, the greater its value...

Posted on 4 Jul 2013 13:12:11 BDT
Bedroom tax is a way of removing families from waiting lists into homes where for a variety of reasons a spare room exists. If existing tenant can't afford to pay up then they are out, possibly on the streets as very little council housing stock is available with just one bedroom, and the price of private rented accommodation has gone through the roof. HB is paid both to unemployed and the employed that aren't paid a living wage, the cost of all this is astronomical. Logic would require the imposition of a rent cap, but with so many MP's being landlords with multiple properties that isn't likely to happen.

In the meantime everyone agrees more new homes must be built at the same time that unaffordable new homes are being built all over London, unfortunately these are being bought up by foreign investors, often as part of their money laundering operations: they then stand empty.

It's called a housing crisis.
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Discussion in:  politics discussion forum
Participants:  10
Total posts:  14
Initial post:  1 Jul 2013
Latest post:  4 Jul 2013

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