Thursday, 05 May 2016

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, your subscription may not be linked to your online account. You can link your subscription from within the My Account section of the website and clicking on Link My Account.

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



  • Court rules bedroom tax is unlawful

    27 January 2016

    The bedroom tax unlawfully discriminates against domestic violence victims and disabled children, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

  • Bedroom tax tenants 'fail to downsize'

    18 December 2015

    Just 8% of tenants hit by the bedroom tax have moved to smaller properties, an official study commissioned by the government has found.

  • Stormont deal will nullify bedroom tax

    18 November 2015

    The bedroom tax will be introduced in Northern Ireland but fully mitigated for at least four years under an historic agreement to break political deadlock in the country.

  • IDS pledges disability benefits overhaul

    24 August 2015

    Iain Duncan Smith has pledged to change the way people are assessed as capable of work.

  • IDS re-appointed to lead welfare cuts

    11 May 2015

    Iain Duncan Smith has been re-appointed as work and pensions secretary to oversee £12bn of fresh welfare cuts and push ahead with universal credit.

IH Subscription