Friday, 06 March 2015

Leaked email outlines bedroom tax defence for Lib Dems

An email outlining how Liberal Democrat members should defend the bedroom tax in interviews was accidentally leaked to the media this morning. 

The email stresses that members should emphasise the policy is ‘not a tax’. 

It gives five key points for defending the policy, which say it makes better use of social housing; many councils have people on waiting lists; those in private accommodation do not get benefts for spare rooms; that it will contain the housing benefit bill and it will get people looking for work. 

The key statistics for members to remember include the figure of 1 million spare bedrooms, costing the tax payer half a billion a year. 

The email also reminds members to emphasise discretionary housing payments allocated to help people deal with the impact of the policy. 

The conference will vote on a motion opposing the policy at around 6pm today, which was tabled by grassroots members. 

Speaking at a fringe event earlier today, David Orr, chief executive of the National Federation of Housing Associations described the bedroom tax as the ‘economics of the madhouse’.

Readers' comments (26)

  • Sigh....the rooms aren't "spare" for crying out loud! How many rooms do the Lib Dems think are just lying empty and unused in these dwellings? They only become "spare" by cramming families into smaller numbers of rooms.

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  • What social housing? It is very entertaining that we have to rely upon a UN appointed special rapporteur to begin to attempt the de-nazification of UK!

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  • "the rooms aren't "spare" for crying out loud!"

    May be you can explain?. I don't get it. I thought it was designed to address family homes, where the kids have flown the nest and the bedrooms are spare.

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  • Concerned Landlord - presumably you are suggesting that people in their fifties should be forced to move from houses they have lived in for 30 years or more simply because the government has failed abjectly to build enough housing to accommodate the entirety of our own population. Good idea, blaming the tenants for government uselessness. Tenants are, after all, cattle to be shifted about from pen to pen for the convenience of the farmer. Triffic.

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  • What a shock - it is exactly the same brief as they have been using to date.

    If all those with additional space exercised their right-to-buy (available to benefit claimants) the space would still not become available, and little saving would be made.

    If all those with additional space done what was wanted of them and moved into the private sector, the 'cost' would at least double and there is no assurity that the freed up home would be let to full occupation.

    The whole spin evades the issue of spare rooms in non-HB households and spare rooms in private households supported by benefit payment.

    The key point is that all using the spin will achieve is even greater disenchantment with the electorate - I hope they use it every minute, and Hughes uses it even more in that case.

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  • Rick Campbell

    Opinion: Ten reasons why the bedroom tax must go

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  • But that isn't even how it works in practice. If you think this only affects "empty nesters" you're badly misinformed. It affects families with young children - if you have two children of the same sex under 15, they have to share a bedroom under the bedroom tax criteria, even if in practice that would have meant them cramming into a room barely big enough for one bed. But if the Genetic Lottery gave you two kids of different sexes, they can have a room each once one of them is ten.

    This is why, in some places, properties are now standing empty because there is no family on the waiting list who would not be hit by the bedroom tax if they moved in!

    Your comment really does indicate that a lot of people out there don't actually understand how this policy works.

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  • BlokeWithAConscience

    When my wife and I with our first daughter (then a baby) moved into this 3 Bedroom house (one bedroom is a tiny nursery/box room) 34 years ago we simply moved in gratefully to the first home that the council offered us. Today it is still me and my wife with our youngest (adult) daughter in the family home however should we need to claim housing benefit we will incur the Bedroom Tax with the risk of debt, eviction and homelessness that comes with it.
    So then nothing to do with "flying the nest" as the numbers have not changed there are still 3 of us living here! The Bedroom Tax requires us to leave the family home at our own expense (removal costs cost thousands, then carpets, curtains, redecorating, changing address, GP, Dentist, Bank etc) into a smaller home without any spare space at all. There are very few two bedroom houses in this area as the council built mainly 3 bedroom family homes. The Bedroom Tax is just a poor piece of legislation rumbled by the U.N's Ms Rolnik. If the Bedroom Tax had anything to do with flying the nest then it would apply to pensioners living alone in houses but it does not - Government scared of the grey vote.

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  • The lib dems have grasped power with only 8 % of the seats
    in the House of Commons and have spent the past 3 years
    attacking the British poor non stop , by rushing through
    severe leglislation to impose £24 billion of benefit cuts onto
    these people , many of these cuts are repeated annually , to cause
    massive shortfalls in these people meeting their cost of living,
    especially regarding their housing costs where they want the
    poorest 660,000 social tenants to paty a £1 billion per annum penalty
    for living in their exisitng homes by cutting housing and council tax
    The lib dems have also been attacking the social housing rights
    of these tenants throughout these past 3 years by passing
    leglislation to reduce security of tenure and introducing 80 %
    market rents into this sector to frighten all these 7 million
    reswidents of social housing.
    It sums up the lib dems that they passed leglislation in june 2010
    to bring about the bedroom tax / but have avoided bringing in
    the so called mansion tax , to let off the better off !

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  • definately is a tax for the people whose incomes are severely reduced by having to meet this shortfall, out of their other incomes.

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