Tagged: housing policy

Public Support For Axing ‘Bedroom Tax’ Has Never Been Higher

Nearly half of the British public are now opposed to the controversial ‘bedroom tax’, a poll by YouGov has revealed.

The  poll for The Sun found that 49% were opposed to the bedroom tax in July 2014, compared to 41% who still support the housing policy. This is in stark contradiction to March 2013, when 49% approved of cutting Housing Benefit for people under-occupying their social home and 38% disapproved.

Public support for the  tax has not been higher than 42% since November 2013, while opposition to the policy is now at its higher ever level, according to the poll.

 The poll comes after Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg announced a dramatic U-turn on his party’s earlier support for the  tax. He said his party would seek to overhaul the policy, if it is still in government after the 2015 general election, by only penalising social housing tenants who refuse a smaller property.

 Clegg would also seek to exempt sick and disabled people who need an extra bedroom.

> Well he says that now. Come the 2015 election, should he by some unexplainable cosmic oversight still find himself in power, it might well be a different story.

Ditto all the main parties. They’ll tell you what they think you want to hear, right up to the moment they’ve got your vote. Beyond that, there’s no guarantees.

His U-turn was slammed by Labour who accused him of “unbelievable hypocrisy”, after the party voted in favour of the bedroom tax and paved the way for its introduction. Without the support of  Clegg’s party the policy would have fallen at the first hurdle.

Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander (Lib Dem MP) yesterday apologised to social housing tenants who had been evicted from their homes after fallen behind on their rent, as a direct result of the tax.

Under changes to housing benefit, introduced by the tory-led coalition government as part of widespread welfare reforms, social housing tenants deemed to be under-occupying a property must downsize to a smaller property, or contribute to their rent through a deduction in the amount of Housing Benefit they receive. The exact deduction depends upon how many spare bedrooms an affected household has in their home: 14% for one spare bedroom or 25% for two or more.

A study by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), sneaked out during David Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle, revealed that 59% of families affected by the bedroom tax are in arrears with their rent and less than 5% were able to downsize to a smaller property.

Despite the apparent failure and hardship caused by the under-occupation penalty, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith MP, somehow managed to hold on to his job – to the shock and dismay of many of our readers.

However, this sharp rise in the number of people opposed to the bedroom tax  may at least give some of our readers hope that one day we will see the back of this hated housing policy.

YouGov surveyed 692 adults between 16-17 July 2014. The results were ‘weighted’ to provide an accurate picture (as possible) of wider public opinion.

 Source – Welfare News Service,  18 July 2014
http://welfarenewsservice.com/public-support-axing-bedroom-tax-never-higher/

Bedroom Tax: Father Of Four Threatened To ‘Blow Up’ His Home

> So far its only individuals who are reaching the point of no return. How long before whole sectors of society blow up ?

A father of four children threatened to ‘blow up’ his own home yesterday (4 June 2014) as he faced eviction due to the government’s controversial ‘bedroom tax’ housing policy.

52 year-old Michael Hilton from Church, East Lancashire, had been living in his social home for 30 years before being ‘hounded’ by his social landlord, Hyndburn Homes, to cover the shortfall in his rent since September 2013.

Mr Hilton was told that he would have to contribute toward the cost of his rent because a spare bedroom in his home was not being used, even though his children sometimes occupied the bedroom when they came to visit.

Mr Hilton had been stockpiling gas canisters at his home  and warned bailiffs that there would be an ‘explosion’ if they tried to enter.

Bailiffs reported the incident to the police who arrived at the property  with six cars, two police vans, police dogs, a riot van and two fire engines.

Mr Hilton’s distressed wife and son, Johnny, looked from behind police barriers as Michael barricaded himself in the property and refused to leave.

Onlookers soon gathered at the scene with one witness saying: “It’s the government this is. They are putting these taxes on vulnerable and poor people and look what happens.”

Another onlooker told the Lancashire Telegraph: “It’s been his home for 30 years. It’s a bit extreme but no-one would want to be thrown out like that”.

A police negotiator was sent to the house to try to convince Mr Hilton to leave the property voluntarily. However, police say that a decision was eventually reached to force entry into the house and detain Mr Hilton.

Mr Hilton’s 29 year-old son Johnny, said: “I knew something like this was going to happen. He has been hounded to pay bedroom tax since September last year.

“My dad has four children altogether and, sometimes, they stay here with him.

“In the eyes of the council, he has a spare room but, from his point of view, that’s a bedroom for his kids.

“I have even tried to speak to the council myself and try to sort it out. I called them last week and told them that my dad has mental health problems. He thinks he’s being persecuted.”

He has been driven to this and I think that he feels like he is making a stand for everyone that has been faced with the unfair bedroom tax. I am very worried about him.”

Nigel Fenton, managing director of Hyndburn Homes, said:

Any repossession of a tenant’s home is always an absolute last resort and would only happen after we have repeatedly attempted to resolve the issues and help them.

“We always try to support our tenants and assist them in any way that we can. We would always urge our tenants to discuss problems with us so that we can provide our support.

“Staff from Hyndburn Homes were at the scene and worked with the emergency services to ensure the safety of residents in the area.

“We have been made aware of gas cylinders at the rear of the property and we have been working with officers from the council to resolve this matter.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said:

We were very concerned as there was a suggestion that there was petrol inside the property and we had also heard reports that he had a large number of gas canisters with him.

“We sent a negotiator in to reason with him but eventually, a decision was taken to enter the house and detain the man.

Source – Welfare News Service,  05 June 2014

http://welfarenewsservice.com/bedroom-tax-father-four-threatens-blow-home/