Wednesday, 01 April 2015

IDS claims bedroom tax is 'a success'

The shadow work and pensions secretary said the government should be ‘taxing mansions not bedrooms’ in a heated exchange with Iain Duncan Smith in the House of Commons this week.

The two opposite numbers clashed during work and pensions questions on Monday over the bedroom tax when Labour’s Liam Byrne asked work and pensions secretary Mr Duncan Smith if he thought the bedroom tax was ‘proving a runaway success’.

The work and pensions secretary said: ‘It is providing a success… finally drawing a light on the failure of the last government to sort out the mess that was in social housing.’

Mr Byrne said houses were ‘lying empty from Teeside to Merseyside [and] councils up and down the country are saying arrears are up 300 per cent’.

He said if Mr Duncan Smith thought the bedroom tax was a success he was ‘living in a different planet’. ‘This government should be taxing mansions not bedrooms,’ Mr Byrne told the House.

The bedroom tax, or under-occupancy penalty, means housing benefit is cut for social tenants who are deemed to have one or more spare bedrooms.

Mr Duncan Smith said the last Labour government had left a ‘housing benefit bill that doubled in 10 years and was set to rise by another £5 billion’. The Conservatives inherited a quarter of a million people in overcrowded accommodation and waiting lists up to 1.5 million, he told the House of Commons.

He also asked Mr Byrne twice if he would reverse the policy – which the shadow work and pensions secretary did not answer. Mr Duncan Smith finished by saying if Mr Byrne was not going to reverse the policy why didn’t he ‘stop moaning about it’.

Readers' comments (42)

Comments are only open to subscribers of Inside Housing

Already a subscriber?

If you're already a subscriber to Inside Housing, please sign in to your account to view comments and add your own.

Not yet a subscriber?

If you don't yet subscribe to Inside Housing, please visit our subscription page to view our various subscription packages.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up




  • Downsizing with the bedroom tax

    17 July 2014

    The price for underoccupying a home is high for many vulnerable people. Jess McCabe visits Stoke-on-Trent to find out how landlords are attempting to help

  • A light in the dark


    The Lighthouse Project in Wales provides support to those most in need. Reni Eddo-Lodge finds out more

  • A career fix

    19 June 2014

    Apprenticeships provided by construction firms are helping students straight out of school into employment. Stuart Spear takes a closer look at the opportunities available

IH Subscription