Move or starve. Bedroom tax, largest mass eviction in UK history

Tony Gosling tony at
Wed Jan 30 19:44:13 GMT 2013

Housing benefit reform will cause private rents to rise
The government must address the conflicts in its 
housing benefit reform policy or it will face an 
increased benefit bill and rising private rents, 
the Public Accounts Committee warned yesterday.
Samantha Cordon, 4 January, 2013
The Committee did not believe the target of 
saving £1.9bn of housing benefit by 2014-15 and 
the goal to prevent the £23bn spent on housing benefit was realistic.
In a written statement it said: “When set against 
the chronic shortage of affordable homes 
[however] the government’s identified benefit 
savings appear increasingly unachievable as high 
demand pushes up private rents and social 
landlords rely on rents of up to 80% of market rent to fund development.”
In a report by the National Housing, Home Truths 
2012, it was claimed that last year 111,250 new 
homes were built while 390,000 new households were formed.
The Committee said with home ownership beyond the 
reach of many and the cost of renting privately 
rising by 37% over the past five years it was 
unsurprising that one in 12 families was now on a social housing waiting list.
The statement added: “The falling off of new 
housing supply combined with the increase in 
rents in both the private rented sector and the 
affordable rent regime generates pressure on the 
housing benefit budget bringing more households 
into dependence on it, including those in work.
“This will only continue and will lead to the 
savings indentified by DWP being missed. This 
conflict in government policy needs addressing.”

Bedroom tax? Never heard of it says Tory MP who voted for it
Ciaran Jenkins - Reporter
Conservative MP Mark Field admits he has not 
heard of a new bedroom tax which will affect 
hundreds of thousands of social housing tenants, 
even though he voted in favour of it.
Responding to a Channel 4 News survey of MPs' 
views on the policy, Mark Field, who represents 
the Cities of London and Westminster wrote: "Must 
confess that I have not heard of this new tax and 
it has not been raised with me by constituents (as yet)."
The changes are expected to affect around 660,000 
social housing tenants from April. They face a 
reduction in their housing benefit, dubbed the 
"bedroom tax", because they are deemed to be under-occupying their homes.
Under the reforms, couples and children of the 
same sex are expected to share a room, as are any 
two children under 10 regardless of gender.
But Mr Field voted in favour of the policy in 
February 2012. The policy has attracted criticism 
because it will apply to tenants with 
disabilities, foster carers, and many others who 
believe they have exceptional circumstances and 
yet fall short of the new criteria.

Read more: The 'bedroom tax' - the key questions

At Prime Minister's Questions, David Cameron was 
pressed on the issue by Alison Seabeck, the 
Labour MP for Plymouth, Moor View. She asked: "Is 
it right that a mother in my constituency may 
not, because of his government's bedroom tax
able to offer her son, serving in Her Majesty's 
armed forces, a home or a bedroom on his return from duty?"
The prime minister said he would look at the 
case, but said the housing benefit reforms have a 
"very clear principle at their heart."
"There are many people in private rented 
accommodation who don't have housing benefit, who 
cannot afford extra bedrooms, and we have to get 
control of housing benefit," he said.
"We are now spending as a country £23bn on 
housing benefit and we have to get that budget under control."
Maria Brabiner (pictured at the top of page) has 
been told to expect an £11 per week reduction in 
her housing benefit. Since her mother passed away 
she is the sole occupant of a two-bed house in 
Salford. Her family have lived in the home since it was built in 1978.
"I'm scared of what's going to happen to me," she 
said. "I'm worried about whether my electric will 
be cut off, whether my gas will be cut off. It's 
not a case of won't pay, it's can't pay."
Maria, a former council worker who has been 
unemployed since 2010, says she is desperately 
seeking employment in order to make ends meet 
when her housing benefit is cut. "The sad thing 
is we're all categorised as shirkers," she said. 
"I've heard Mr Osborne talk about the unemployed, 
you know who they are, they've got the bedroom 
curtains drawn whilst you go out to work. I'm not 
like that. I'm up every morning at six o'clock. 
My neighbours will tell you, I go out searching for work."
The government says the under-occupation penalty 
will help contain expenditure on housing benefit, 
make better use of current social housing stock, 
encourage benefits claimants to find work and 
free up more social housing properties.
So far, of the 76 MPs who have responded to the 
Channel 4 News survey, not one has replied in support of the "tax".
Liberal Democrat MP John Leech said he had voted 
against the changes, but accused the Labour party 
of coining the term bedroom tax in order "to 
scare people about the consequences of changes to 
housing benefit entitlements."
Paul Murphy, the Labour MP for Torfaen, said the 
new penalty would have "incredibly worrying" 
consequences for some of his constituents.
"I really do not think that David Cameron, George 
Osborne and Nick Clegg understand the impact of these changes," he said.
"They may seem a small reduction of a few pounds 
a week, but when someone is already living on the 
breadline, a sudden reduction in income can have a big impact."
+44 (0)7786 952037
Twitter: @TonyGosling
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"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic 
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung

Fear not therefore: for there is nothing covered 
that shall not be revealed; and nothing hid that 
shall not be made known. What I tell you in 
darkness, that speak ye in the light and what ye 
hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. Matthew 10:26-27

Die Pride and Envie; Flesh, take the poor's advice.
Covetousnesse be gon: Come, Truth and Love arise.
Patience take the Crown; throw Anger out of dores:
Cast out Hypocrisie and Lust, which follows whores:
Then England sit in rest; Thy sorrows will have end;
Thy Sons will live in peace, and each will be a friend.  
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