Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Former prime minister attacks bedroom tax

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has waded into a debate on the bedroom tax.

He hailed the penalty for people who are deemed to have a spare room a ‘devastating indictment of the damage being done to family life’.

A report by Fife Housing Association in his constituency found that one in five of its tenants will be affected by the bedroom tax. It said it is particularly concerned about vulnerable tenants, many with serious health problems, who are already struggling financially and have no immediate and affordable alternatives.

The association said it is ‘utterly shocked by the terms of the bedroom tax and also by the limited exemptions’ – even after the exceptions agreed for armed forces personnel and foster parents last week.

It also said that 25 per cent of its tenants who are affected will not be able to downsize because there are no smaller properties available in the area.

Mr Brown said: ‘I have said [the bedroom tax] should be abandoned and if not, further concessions should be made to people unable to pay and unable to move home.

‘The needs of the disabled have not been fully taken into account.

‘This has been an arbitrary, ill thought-out imposition upon the people who can ill afford to lose housing benefit.’

Mr Brown said he has worked with Fife Council to set up an advice hotline for people who will be affected.

Readers' comments (25)

  • Progressive Solutions Required

    What a shame Mr Brown never worked with the nation to undo the terrible housing, employment and economic policies of Thatcherism, but instead chose to adopt them and deepen them.

    What a shame Mr Brown never decided to adopt a more progressive approach (excepting the too little too late change of heart when it was realised that descimating social housing and laundering HB through to bankers had failed as a policy) sooner, perhaps 10-years earlier would have been nice!

    What a shame Mr Brown chose to follow the orders of the Blairites instead of standing up for what he knew to be right and speaking out against the atrocities government committed in removing employment and individual rights, destroying social housing, and peverting the economy to the ends of the elite financiers.

    At least the Tories do not claim to be working on behalf of the workers when they legislate in their own interests.

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  • Chirs you hit the nail on the head!!!

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  • Progressive Solutions Required

    If only it was in the New Labour coffin instead!

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  • Colin McCulloch

    Gordon Brown - a good man destroyed by the British political system.

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  • Ernie Gray

    Not sure if I could agree with Collins view, although I understand where he's coming from. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown never put housing high enough on the political agenda.

    The merry-go-round farce of housing ministers is a testament to this. Golden Gordon has brooded in the background since his calamitous fall from power. Like Jim Callaghan before him both were very good Chancellor of the Exchequer, however when it came to the top job their political judgement was left wanting. Both of them lost power due to their cautious nature when they make decisions not to call general elections in their particular eras which ultimately led to their downfall.

    We should be looking to the future not really taking much notice of Gordon and Tony. We need Mr Dromey to drive the housing agenda towards the top of the political tree.

    I've been listening on the radio this morning about the various proposals to support childcare by the current government will be in the future. I would argue that it is equally important to provide some form of housing support to families on low and middle incomes as well. In other words a portable housing allowance.

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  • We could blame the last Labour government (Blair and Brown) for the shortage of social housing leading to the bedroom tax. We could also blame the Thatcher govt for selling off social housing and not using the money to build more. I can only blame the govt that is hurting me and 666,000 others, right now, right this minute and that is Cameron/Glegg.

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  • Progressive Solutions Required

    Absloutely Julia - but do not lose sight of what this succession of governments' failing you suggests - namely that it is the system that is corrupt, not just the politicians that are part of it.

    There will be no point voting out the coalition only to replace it with Nu-Thatcher Mark III - such a 3rd Reich of Consumerism will all but finish of the survivors of the first two generations of Selsdon Group acolytes.

    They'll tax vagrancy next, as well as increase death taxes!

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  • C'mon Sense

    Chris - but aren't we all part of the system? Discuss!!

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  • John Smith

    Since we're playing the blame game.. When the Tories left office in 1997 they left behind a £19 billion repairs backlog in social housing. Labour decided to prioritise investment into existing stock, upgrading one million council and housing assoc homes. Along side building over 300,000 affordable new homes while in office. I for one do not feel failed by the last Labour Government.

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  • Progressive Solutions Required

    I was C'mon Sense but resigned - you may be responsible for your own actions.

    Are you ever going to come clean and accept your preferred gang have failed this nation with new record debt, new record benefit claimant numbers, and new record borrowing. Your Avatar has become a parody of irony that detracts from your purpose - discuss!

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