Monday, 22 December 2014

DWP to close bedroom tax loophole

The Department for Work and Pensions has pledged to close a loophole which would have inadvertently exempted long-term housing association tenants from the bedroom tax.

Regulations for the controversial policy, which will cut housing benefit for social housing tenants of working age with spare rooms, were laid before parliament last month.

The policy will see an estimated 660,000 households lose £14 a week on average.

The regulations state the bedroom tax does not apply to housing association regulated tenancies which date from before 15 January 1989.

Since 1989, housing associations have offered assured tenancies, which offer less security than regulated tenancies.

However the Department for Work Pensions says it will re-draft the regulations and take out the pre-1989 exemption. A spokesperson said the exemption was included in ‘error’.

She said: ‘These cases will not be exempted.’

Readers' comments (49)

  • Rick Campbell

    Their actions certainly say a darned sight more about the true nature of this government -- it's not exactly falling over itself to close the loopholes for the tax evaders/avoiders or reducing the financial support the MPs and Lords receive for their housing costs even though they have more than 1 home.

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  • Gavin Rider

    Rick - so the setting up of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority and the passing of the Parliamentary Standards Act doesn't count?

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  • Gavin - were you born yesterday? The IPSA etc are red-herrings designed as a sop to the gullible .... while you are looking at them and feeling smug that the politicians are personally being brought to heel,their policies are robbing every disadvantaged people group in the country blind!

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  • Rick Campbell

    As I said -- they are not reducing the financial support to MPs and Lords for their housing costs like they are for ordinary folk -- they get no penalty for over-occupying like the ordinary mortals do and it is that which says more about them (i.e. "filling" their own pockets whilst "emptying" those of others!

    Of course, there;'s bound to be some who will support them in this and decry the mere mortals for protesting or not being pleased about it.

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  • Gavin Rider

    Paul, Rick - I hardly think that MPs' business expenses bear any relationship to the welfare reforms that are under way, but if you want to draw parallels simply so that you can feel all puffed up and indignant at the government, go ahead.

    I would have thought the closing of the loophole was a more comment-worthy issue, myself.

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  • Chris

    Paul, Rick - fancy calling for fairness in this age of Hood Robin - of course some will see this as just and fair, after all it is only tenants, and the poorest tenants at that who will be affected - so doubly qualified for any form of public humiliation and suffering.

    I dare not mention where it seems the inspiration behind this poilcy is coming from, suffice to say that it does not truly follow any serious biblical guidance.

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  • Rick Campbell

    Those in authority are filling their own pockets while gleefully taking money away from others -- as I said, that says more about the true nature of the government.

    They aren't exactly rushing to close the loopholes for the rich.

    There will be those who will see the further hurting of some of the poorest in our society as a good thing by supporting the government -- the object of the welfare reform is to make people poorer.

    To reduce the financial support of someone makes them poorer.

    Funny though --- that we're all supposed to be in this together and the rich are not, apparently.

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  • Joe Halewood

    Just a thought does anyone know if the 42,000 or so PRIVATE regulated tenancies are covered by this same loophole?

    Or if they have been subject to the LHA restrictions since they came in in 2008?

    Did the IPSA also scrutinise the DWP impact assessments which said 20,000 will lose HB originally that last week was revised up to 40,000 - a mere 100% out?

    Did anyone scrutinise affordable rent programme that Shapps sais last month was "Affordable Rent was created at a very fast rate for the Spending Review. When we got into government we realised we had to sort out this deficit so (Affordable Rent) was a pretty rough and ready exercise in all honesty."

    Ah the joys of rough and ready scrutiny!!

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  • Rick, I completely agree, seems like the poorest are going to be even poorer. Judging by Gavin's comments though it would appear that the Government are doing a good job in "educating" people.

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  • Gavin Rider

    Joe - "Did the IPSA also scrutinise the DWP impact assessments which said 20,000 will lose HB originally that last week was revised up to 40,000 - a mere 100% out?"

    errr... did the UNCHR make any ruling on this?

    Did the WWF issue a policy statement supporting this attack on social tenants?

    NO OF COURSE NOT - it is nothing to do with them.

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