Five things David Cameron doesn’t want you to know about the Bedroom Tax

Left Foot Forward looks at five things David Cameron doesn't want you to know about the Bedroom Tax.

The Bedroom Tax, which will come in from 1 April 2013 as part of the 2012 Welfare Reform Act, will charge people in social housing based on how many spare rooms they have, and will hit tenants aged 16 to 65.

Put simply, it means a cut to the amount of benefit a person will get if they have a spare bedroom in their housing association home.

Benefits will be reduced by 14% for one room and 25% for two or more bedrooms. On average, an individual affected by the Bedroom Tax will lose £14-£25 a week.

The bedroom tax is supposed to encourage those who live in social housing with spare rooms to downsize in order to make way for larger families.

That’s what it is supposed to do. But what impact will it really have?

Left Foot Forward has put together five things David Cameron doesn’t want you to know about the Bedroom Tax.

1. Two-thirds of those who households that will be affected by the Bedroom Tax have disabled people in them. Down-sizing is often wildly unfeasible for wheelchair users due to the shortage of wheelchair accessible properties. In effect, the Bedroom Tax risks penalising disabled people for being disabled – those who cannot move to a smaller property will be forced to pay more for their housing needs.

2. In many areas of the country there simply aren’t enough smaller houses for people to downsize to (which the Department of Work and Pensions accepts). A DWP assessment estimates that 31% (660,000) of social housing tenants will have their housing benefit cut as a result of the Bedroom Tax. What is likely to happen to those families who lose between £48 and £88 a month from their housing benefit because there aren’t smaller properties for them to move in to? Are they going to be evicted? Are they going to go hungry?

3. It will cause unnecessary misery and suffering. ITV has given real-life examples of how the Bedroom Tax could hit vulnerable people, such as the couple where the husband had a stroke and can no longer share a bedroom with his wife, or a tenant who uses her second bedroom as a sterile room to receive nutrition from a machine after she had surgery for bowel cancer. Both tenants will have £48 per month taken from their housing benefit from April.

4. The Bedroom Tax could cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds due to the likely increase in homelessness. A typical homelessness case costs £24,000, according to Govan Law Centre. It costs local authorities and housing providers £15,000. Evicting a tenant also costs a social landlord on average £6,000. The shortage of available smaller properties, combined with the inability of some tenants to pay the extra money, will see a spike in homelessness (bad enough in itself), and this will cost lots and lots and lots of money.

5. The new provisions could make overcrowding mandatory. There is no provision in the legislation for houses where the bedroom is only a single room. Children under 10 are expected to share a room as are under 16s if they are of the same sex. The rules do not refer to the size of bedrooms. A bedroom will always count as a bedroom for Housing Benefit no matter how small.

Use this benefits calculator to find out if you will be affected by the changes.

As you’re here, we have something to ask you. What we do here to deliver real news is more important than ever. But there’s a problem: we need readers like you to chip in to help us survive. We deliver progressive, independent media, that challenges the right’s hateful rhetoric. Together we can find the stories that get lost.

We’re not bankrolled by billionaire donors, but rely on readers chipping in whatever they can afford to protect our independence. What we do isn’t free, and we run on a shoestring. Can you help by chipping in as little as £1 a week to help us survive? Whatever you can donate, we’re so grateful - and we will ensure your money goes as far as possible to deliver hard-hitting news.

123 Responses to “Five things David Cameron doesn’t want you to know about the Bedroom Tax”

  1. LB

    Nothing like having the right to more rooms than you need, and sticking the cost on poor people.

    Nothing like demanding to keep up with the Jones in the welfare stakes (or Bob Crowe)

  2. LB

    It will cause unnecessary misery and suffering.


    Nothing like the suffering that’s going to happen because you’ve taken people’s pension money to pay for it.

    5,300 bn of debts hidden off the books. Spent on spare rooms.

  3. Gareth Millward

    Just because the status quo may be fucked, doesn’t mean ANY policy is better. The status quo is bad. This policy is bad. Let’s put our heads together to work out an alternative.

  4. poet4justices

    so let say if a person doesn’t have space for her wheelchair and she got the extra for the wheelchair and other equipment…. is she going to be tax because her room is not accessible for her wheelchair?

  5. LB

    So first of all you need to define what the problems are.

    In the case of housing, these are some of them.

    1. Too much demand from migration

    2. Too little building

    3. Restrictions such as planning

    4. Increases in capital requirements for banks – less lending

    5. Government swallowing up lending so it can spend

    6. Taxes on bank capital – less lending

    7. Bank losses – less for lending (losses * gearing)

    8. Banking fines – less for lending. Not even going to the UK government because the US fined UK banks for crimes in the UK.

    9. People like Bob Crow getting subsidized public housing.

    10. Councils like Southwark kicking people out of flats, then leaving them empty, demolishing them.

    11. People with wheelchairs having spare rooms that they can’t get into, and so can’t use.

    The real issue, goes back to the debts. Governments have vast debts, and they can’t pay the debts and spending. Bluntly, they can’t even pay for the spending alone, out of taxes.

    Most of those debts are off the books.

    So what are the solutions.

    1. Kick Bob Crowe out.
    2. Get a handle on migration. Only migrants (Non UK nationals) who pay more tax than they receive in government spending get to stay.
    3. Stop taxing bank capital.
    4. Allow banks to retain capital.
    5. Cut government spending. That way they do not suck up what little borrowing there is.
    [Peer to Peer lending doesn’t work. It’s not geared]
    6. For councils like Southwark, force them to sell to the not for profit sector.
    7. Stop taxing people in poverty. In general cut taxes. Then people have more money to spend on housing.

Comments are closed.