Wednesday, 24 September 2014

'Party politics' stopping tenants from getting bedroom tax discretionary payments

Local councils are ‘playing politics’ by not granting discretionary payments to tenants affected by the bedroom tax, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats said yesterday.

Simon Hughes MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark told at the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow that the policy ‘was not the crisis many people predicted.’

Chief executive of the National Federation of Housing David Orr had earlier branded the policy ‘the worst since the poll tax’, and called on members to scrap it.

Speaking at a fringe meeting on housing Mr Hughes said: ‘I have to say it isn’t the crisis many people predicted. 

‘The discretionary fund is significant, we were told it would be spent way before the end of the year, it hasn’t.

‘Actually, the number of people coming into my surgery to talk about it is far fewer than expected. 

‘The problem is that when people apply for discretionary help, many councils turn them down, and there is no independent appeal system… some councils are playing politics with this.’

Councils have been granted a pot of £185 million this year to provide assistance to those struggling to pay their rent. 

Calling on members to oppose the bedroom tax, Mr Orr said: ‘The bedroom tax isn’t a reform, its a disaster. It is the worst policy since the poll tax, bar none. 

‘Disabled people being thrown out is an outrage, and we really need you to be on ourside about it. 

‘Aside from the personal consequences, it means we will be able to build less homes.’

Readers' comments (13)

  • Colin McCulloch

    Moronic Simon Hughes - if LAs spent the DHP on every case of need it would have been gone well before Christmas. As it is, it is being rationed to short bursts of awards, giving a few people only temporary respite.

    The DHP pot is woefully inadequate and eligibility contradictory from case to case.

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  • I see they have been busy looking for ways to come back into Government.

    I feel for those who are up to their ears in debt, and struggle.

    Why should anyone wish to meet and talk with a person who was party to the making of this law?

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  • This from the man who abstained in favour of so many attacks on the poor and vulnerable.

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  • Rick Campbell

    Hughes is a deluded eejit.

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  • Iron Fist

    The only one playing politics here Hughes is your duplicitous self. More faces than a watchmaker's shop.

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  • Shows just how out of touch Hughes is. This is bloke who used to appear at "Defend Council Housing" conferences! Anyway, the electors of Bermondsey & Southwark know what to do at the next election. Be interesting to see what he starts to say when his seat is on the line!

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  • on the Bedroom Tax Action Group we have applied to every Council in the UK asking how much they had for DHP payments, howmuch spent/left, how many applications they have received and how many they refused, results avail on the group

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  • The Lib Dems are in trouble over the bedroom tax and, having justified it over and over again, are in too deep to be able to commit to scrapping it in their 2015 manifesto. It will cost them more than a dozen marginal seats on its own, regardless of their poor poll ratings on top.

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  • I wouldn't believe anything the Lib Dems say in their Manefesto leading up to the 2015 elections they have prooved themselves over free tution fees already.
    They simply tell lies to get into power plain and simple.
    They are the Conservatives lap dogs nothing more and nothing less, Clegg should grow a pair and remind Cameron that he would not be PM without the lib dems.

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  • Is there anything more repuslive than a Liberal Democrat spouting its Conservative Central office scripts?

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