Monday, 30 November 2015

Labour attacks ‘perverse’ bedroom tax

The coalition government’s bedroom tax is ‘perverse’ the shadow employment minister has said.

Labour’s Stephen Timms, speaking on Radio 4 yesterday, criticised the controversial policy, under which benefit claimants in social housing of working age with spare rooms will have their benefit cut from 1 April.

Mr Timms said: ‘We have argued for the last two years that it would be fine to apply the penalty where people have refused to take smaller accommodation, but to penalise people when there’s nowhere smaller to move to is perverse.’

Mr Timms used the example of Hull, which he says has 4,700 people affected but only 73 smaller properties for people to downsize into, to illustrate that in some parts of the country people won’t be able to move to smaller homes.

Conservative party chairman and former housing minister Grant Shapps said: ‘Labour have very cleverly deemed this to be a tax; of course it’s exactly the opposite to a tax.

‘It is a spare rooms subsidy, that’s being paid through the benefits system, on a million empty bedrooms in this country, which makes no sense.’

Mr Shapps added: ‘What we can’t continue to do, and we can’t afford to do, is pay for a million empty rooms while we’ve got a waiting list that doubled under the previous administration and with so many people in desperate need of a house at all.’

Readers' comments (27)

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



  • 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.

  • Perverse policies

    22 September 2015

    The chancellor’s plans for housing will only make London’s housing crisis worse, says Tom Copley

  • Law of perverse incentives

    23 July 2015

    Recent policy changes may not work as intended, suggests Brendan Sarsfield, and feel like the ‘modern equivalent of PFI – benefit now, pay later’

  • Labour to push for vote to repeal bedroom tax

    17 December 2014

    Labour is hoping to push through a vote on repealing the bedroom tax in an opposition day debate today.

  • DWP overturns bedroom tax room size judgement

    11 December 2014

    The Department for Work and Pensions has overturned a tribunal’s decision to exempt two brothers from the bedroom tax due to room size.

IH Subscription