Tuesday, 26 May 2015

UKIP would scrap the bedroom tax

The UK Independence Party would scrap the bedroom tax if it came into power.

Andrew Charalambous, the housing spokesperson for Nigel Farage’s party, says the current government’s under-occupation penalty – often referred to as the bedroom tax – is ‘nonsensical’.

Under the policy, which came into force last month, social tenants of working age on housing benefit will have their payments cut if they have one or more spare bedrooms.

Mr Charalambous, an unelected private sector landlord, said: ‘We’d absolutely scrap the bedroom tax. It’s just tokenism and has no real effect. It causes a lot hardship, pain and suffering. Housing should be there to make people’s lives better.’

His comments come in the wake of UKIP’s strong performance in this month’s local elections: the party took 147 seats in England, a gain of 139.

In this week’s Inside Housing, Mr Charalambous reveals the party’s stance on a range of issues affecting the housing sector, including planning, homelessness and affordability.

He claims the dominant pressure on housing in the UK has come from ‘the unprecedented immigration of the last decade’. He said: ‘Withdrawal from the European Union would be the only practical way to alleviate this effect on our housing demand.’

Other UKIP policies include the establishment of a strategy for developing brownfield sites and the creation of a national register of homeless people.

Gavin Smart, director of policy and practice at the Chartered Institute of Housing, said it was interesting to see UKIP’s housing priorities and ideas for local housing initiatives. He said: ‘As the election approaches we want to see extensive public debate about all parties’ overall vision for housing and how their housing policies link to other priorities such as economic growth and social care.’

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