Tuesday, 02 September 2014

Cameron defends ‘bedroom tax’ penalties

The prime minister has defended his government’s ‘bedroom tax’ after a Labour MP said it would leave members of the armed forces without a place to stay in their family home.

During prime minister’s questions yesterday Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth and a former housing minister, asked David Cameron:

‘Is it right that a mother in my constituency may not, because of the prime minister’s bedroom tax – and as confirmed by his minister – be able offer her son, serving in Her Majesty’s armed forces, either a home or a bedroom on his return from duty?’

Under the ‘bedroom tax’ working age housing benefit recipients who are in social housing will have their payments cut if they have one or more spare rooms.

Mr Cameron replied that he would ‘look at the case’ but defended the reasoning behind the reforms.

‘There are many people in private rented accommodation who do not have housing benefit and cannot afford extra bedrooms,’ he said. ‘We have to get control of housing benefit. We are now spending, as a country, £23 billion on housing benefit, and we have to get that budget under control.’

Another Labour MP, member for Wrexham Ian Lucas, also raised the case of one of his constituents during the debate.

He said the man is ‘severely disabled and has medical need for an extra room in his home’ but faces a cut of £676 a year.

Mr Cameron replied: ‘We have put in place a £30 million discretionary fund to help in particular cases such as the one that he raises, but we do have an overall situation where the housing benefit budget is now £23 billion.’

Readers' comments (32)

  • she is wasting her breath. cameron doesnt care about the homeless so he is hardly going to worry about a super fit soldier who can more than afford to house himself or suffer having to crash for a short stay at his mums.

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  • As reported elsewhere, his benefit reforms are failing to get the HB budget "under control". In fact rents are rising. If he wants to do somethng he should ensure that more social homes are built at affordable rents

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  • Iron Fist

    Wasn't it his own party that introduced the "housing benefit will take the strain" view of private sector rents? Any credible PM would tackle the problem the sensible way; build more social housing and cap private sector rents rather than beating those who happen to be trapped in the property nightmare the Tory's have helped to create. (and New Labour did nothing to remedy).

    As rents continue to rise, and wages continue to stagnate, the HB bill will only continue to rise under Cameron's woeful leadership. And he talks of reducing dependency on the state. Berk!!

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  • Melvin Bone

    Should a son not pay his mother some rent as he has a full time job albiet one working away?

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  • He isn't listening, they want people out of affordable social housing into the problematic and unaffordable private rented sector to save the skins of overstretched buy to letters.

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  • Eric Blair

    A tangential point here, but many ex soldiers have trouble integrating into mainstream society when they leave the forces. It's an uphill struggle for them to fit into the routines of 'civvy street', let alone find suitable homes.

    I've met plenty of former soldiers and they need a helping hand. I asked one to tell me about his difficulties and he said, 'You're asked to cross the line in the army. They teach you to kill - that's a taboo for most people. Then you're supposed to get an office job afterwards. It's hard to handle.'

    In Cameron's world, however, everyone is the same. Or else they're 'shirkers' depending on a 'something for nothing culture.' Naturally he worked hard for every penny he's got.

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  • Chris

    What happened to the Tory promise to give armed forces personnel housing priority?

    Cameron is right. The massive and continuing increase in housing benefit his policies have caused needs to be reversed. Penalising those in receipt of benefit is not the answer. Reversing the policies causing the problems is the only way to fairly reduce the benefit burden.

    Reversing the push for greater numbers of people on poverty pay will reduce housing benefit costs.
    Reversing the increasing of rents to max out profits will reduce housing benefit costs.
    Reversing the bias towards private and market renting will reduce housing benefit costs.
    Reversing the right to buy will reduce housing benefit costs.
    Reversing the abandonment of social housing will reduce housnig benefit costs.
    Indeed, reversing line by line the policy of the Selsdon Group will reduce housing benefit costs - and more, will reduce benefit dependency, will reduce mass unemployment, will restore a balanced economy and growth, will restore fairness and hope.

    The Prime Minister is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

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  • the article doesnt say he has left the army or is homeless. he could have perfectly good barracks etc and just be visiting his mum after a tour. i am sure if thats the case he could just crash and as melvin says he will probably be paying his "keep" to his mum anyway

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  • Kate M

    I would love to know where all the one bedroomed properties are that people are to be encouaraged to move to if they wish to avoid bedroom tax. I would also love to know where all these families are who will be moving into the vacated houses. I have so many clients who are going to face massive problems and are being treated like animals being herded from pillar to post, away from all that is familiar. What happens on the continent where the vast majority of people rent and home ownership is not the norm? Any answers to any of my queries gratefully received. Thanks :)

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  • What planet is Cameron on? discrtionary payments will end up being complicated and costly to administer. in fact most of this things he is doing is costing us greatly, is he trying to destroy our country and our people? the facts are the number of people who are flooding our country and taking up our housing making less avilable for people who have lived here all their lives. the ideotic idea of bringing social rents in line with private rents has pushed up the rent arrear levels and now direct payments and bedroom tax will inevitably develop homelessnes. This situation is pricing people out of their homes and creating hardship for many. It is sad that a PM who is supposed to care about his people and country obviously dosn't give a dam. He will not feel the effects of any of this untill he puts the last nail in his own coffin and he seems to be making very good progress on this. Social housing was needed for the less well off and now they are constantly being penilised one way or another, the stress and poverty his policies are developing will come back and bite him. There again he is so cusioned by his privilaged position and the fact that he has and never will endure hardship the damage that his policies are causing will only affect the vulnerable in society. He does not listen to his people and that will be his downfall. Build more house that people can actually afford! and stop attacking the poorest in society.

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