St Helens Star'Bedroom tax saves £1m a day' (From St Helens Star)

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'Bedroom tax saves £1m a day'

St Helens Star: Iain Duncan Smith said the reform had ensured that working-age social tenants received taxpayer support only for the number of rooms they actually needed Iain Duncan Smith said the reform had ensured that working-age social tenants received taxpayer support only for the number of rooms they actually needed

Reforms to cut housing benefit from council tenants with spare rooms - branded a bedroom tax by critics - have saved taxpayers £1 million a day since they were imposed a year ago, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

On the first anniversary of the controversial cutback, which is described by ministers as the removal of a "spare room subsidy", Iain Duncan Smith's department released figures showing that almost half a million households were having cash deducted from their benefits.

Under the new rules, social housing tenants deemed to have one more bedroom than they need lose 14% of their eligible rent and those with two or more lose 25%.

DWP figures showed that in November 2013, some 498,000 social housing tenants in England, Scotland and Wales were having their benefits reduced under the policy.

This figure was 50,000 down on numbers affected in the first month of the policy's operation, suggesting that tens of thousands of tenants have moved to smaller accommodation.

Changes to housing benefit in the social rented sector are expected to save £490 million in 2013/14 and a total of around £1 billion by the end of 2014/15, equating to more than £1.3 million per day, the DWP said.

Critics said the tax was forcing disadvantaged tenants into rent arrears, putting them at risk of losing their homes.

A recent survey for the National Housing Federation found that 66% of housing association residents hit by the bedroom tax were in arrears and more than one in seven (15%) had received a letter warning them they were at risk of eviction.

NHF director of policy and external affairs Gill Payne said: " One year on there is no disputing the devastating impact the bedroom tax is having across the country.

"It is heaping misery and hardship on already struggling families, pushing them into debt, hunger and fear of eviction, with two-thirds struggling to find the money to pay their rent.

"From day one we said the bedroom tax is unfair and warned the Government that it would not work.

"We've been told time and time again that the bedroom tax is necessary to cut the housing benefit bill but this policy is still in danger of costing the taxpayer more in the long-term."

Ms Payne added: "Housing associations are doing all they can, helping residents get back into work, downsize or manage their money better, yet they have reported significant increases in indicators of poverty.

"This ill-conceived policy should be repealed and efforts re-doubled to build more homes which would bring down the cost of housing and reduce benefit bills rather than hurting the most vulnerable."

But Mr Duncan Smith said that the reform had ensured that working-age social tenants received taxpayer support only for the number of rooms their household actually needed, in line with the system already in place for tenants renting privately, and had freed up much-needed space for tenants stuck on waiting lists or living in over-crowded accommodation.

"It was absolutely necessary that we fixed the broken system which just a year ago allowed the taxpayer to cover the £1 million daily cost of spare rooms in social housing," the Work and Pensions Secretary said.

"We have taken action to help the hundreds of thousands of people living in cramped, over-crowded accommodation and to control the spiralling Housing Benefit bill, as part of the Government's long-term economic plan.

"Our reforms ensure we can sustain a strong welfare safety net, and we are providing an extra £165 million next year to support the most vulnerable claimants."

Employment Minister Esther McVey said around 8% of those affected had so far moved to a smaller property and insisted that meant the policy was "exactly on track".

A BBC survey, based on freedom of information requests to social housing providers, put the figure at 6%.

Asked if she was disappointed by the numbers, Ms McVey told BBC Radio 4"s Today: "Well no, because it wasn't that you had to move house - that was one of the options.

"What we thought would happen is roughly what is happening. There has been 30,000 people-plus move in the last 10 or 11 months.

"It is about 8%. We would say we were looking at 25-30% over four to five years which is exactly on track."

She said that far from increasing arrears "it looks like the number of people in debt is falling" after taking into account the fact that half were already behind in rent before the policy started.

Shadow work and pensions minister Chris Bryant said: " The Tories are so out of touch they just don't get it. This proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the bedroom tax was always designed as a tax on the poorest and most vulnerable.

"Trapped with nowhere else to go, thousands of people have had no choice but to fork out an extra £14 a week. David Cameron's Government have pretended this was all about helping people who are overcrowded, but in truth the bedroom tax is a cruel, unfair and appallingly administered policy.

"The Government should scrap the bedroom tax immediately. If they won't, Labour will."

Claudia Wood, chief executive of the think tank Demos, said: "The Government said the bedroom tax would encourage people to downsize and reduce housing benefit costs.

"In reality, a chronic shortage of smaller properties means many cannot move. Today's figures show over one in four households affected have fallen into arrears for the first time, and if the problems worsen then evictions come at a price. Evicting someone can cost over £5,000.

"Even those who are able to move turn to the private sector - where sky-high rents lead to higher benefit claims.

"The inevitable consequence of this poorly considered policy is it fails its main objective - saving the Government money - and creates a huge amount of hardship in the process."

Asked about the BBC's 6% claim Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude told BBC Radio 4's Any Questions: "My understanding is that the numbers may be a little low, it may be 7% or 8% but we have always said the expectation is you will have 30% to 40%, but over three to four years.

"So it's in the right kind of territory and we didn't say it would happen overnight."

Shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry told the programme the policy was "vindictive and nasty and picking on the poorest and the most vulnerable".

She said pensioners "tend to be under-occupiers" but insisted she was not advocating that the Government should include them in the policy.

"If you were really interested ... in making sure that families were in appropriate-sized accommodation - don't misunderstand what I'm about to say, I don't suggest you do this - but you would include pensioners," she told Mr Maude.

"Older people tend to be people whose families have moved out and moved away and they are the ones who tend to be under-occupiers.

"So if you were really interested in getting people into appropriate-sized accommodation you would do what my local council does, which is that we go and interview people who are under-occupying, we suggest that they move, we offer them really nice flats, we give them money. Actually what you should be doing is investing in schemes like this.

"But t his is punitive and it's nasty and you should be ashamed of yourself."

Comments (14)

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5:49am Fri 28 Mar 14

Mike0408 says...

If it's saving us £1 million a day, why do i get taxed the same amount? It hasn't personally saved me a penny, but I bet tax will still go up, even with all this apparent saving it is doing.
If it's saving us £1 million a day, why do i get taxed the same amount? It hasn't personally saved me a penny, but I bet tax will still go up, even with all this apparent saving it is doing. Mike0408
  • Score: 4

7:20am Fri 28 Mar 14

nigelej says...

Maybe I've missed the point but I thought it was about overcrowding not saving so why hasn't that money gone straight into new builds if it had I would have believed them .
Maybe I've missed the point but I thought it was about overcrowding not saving so why hasn't that money gone straight into new builds if it had I would have believed them . nigelej
  • Score: 5

8:01am Fri 28 Mar 14

Jonn says...

nigelej wrote:
Maybe I've missed the point but I thought it was about overcrowding not saving so why hasn't that money gone straight into new builds if it had I would have believed them .
Yes, the Governments main justification for bringing in this policy was to help solve overcrowding. A problem that actually only exists in London and the south east. One year on and 94% haven't moved, mainly because of a chronic shortage of smaller properties for them to go to, as well as the social and financial costs. Of course, the Government knew this already but didn't give a ****.
As a policy, it has utterly failed to achieve what the Government said it would do. Another IDS failure but a success for Tory ideology.
[quote][p][bold]nigelej[/bold] wrote: Maybe I've missed the point but I thought it was about overcrowding not saving so why hasn't that money gone straight into new builds if it had I would have believed them .[/p][/quote]Yes, the Governments main justification for bringing in this policy was to help solve overcrowding. A problem that actually only exists in London and the south east. One year on and 94% haven't moved, mainly because of a chronic shortage of smaller properties for them to go to, as well as the social and financial costs. Of course, the Government knew this already but didn't give a ****. As a policy, it has utterly failed to achieve what the Government said it would do. Another IDS failure but a success for Tory ideology. Jonn
  • Score: 4

8:19am Fri 28 Mar 14

cosmick says...

Maybe if we shut all the services ie FIRE, POLICE, SCHOOLS , HOSPITALS, WE COULD SAVE SOME MORE MONEY.
Maybe if we shut all the services ie FIRE, POLICE, SCHOOLS , HOSPITALS, WE COULD SAVE SOME MORE MONEY. cosmick
  • Score: 3

9:28am Fri 28 Mar 14

Sussex jim says...

It is not a "bedroom tax" or indeed any form of tax. It is simply a reduction in housing benefit to a level that claimants need to pay for their accommodation, rather than be funded extra to live in a larger house than they require.
I agree that this scheme should have been phased in over a period of time, to allow people to consider moving; but the basic fact is that all benefits (other that long-term invalidity,etc.) are intended as emergency payments to assist those in need, and not to provide permanent free housing.
It is not a "bedroom tax" or indeed any form of tax. It is simply a reduction in housing benefit to a level that claimants need to pay for their accommodation, rather than be funded extra to live in a larger house than they require. I agree that this scheme should have been phased in over a period of time, to allow people to consider moving; but the basic fact is that all benefits (other that long-term invalidity,etc.) are intended as emergency payments to assist those in need, and not to provide permanent free housing. Sussex jim
  • Score: -3

11:16am Fri 28 Mar 14

nigelej says...

Sussex jim wrote:
It is not a "bedroom tax" or indeed any form of tax. It is simply a reduction in housing benefit to a level that claimants need to pay for their accommodation, rather than be funded extra to live in a larger house than they require.
I agree that this scheme should have been phased in over a period of time, to allow people to consider moving; but the basic fact is that all benefits (other that long-term invalidity,etc.) are intended as emergency payments to assist those in need, and not to provide permanent free housing.
I understand your thoughts but the way this was done was poor to say the least .for those in private rent who were already in larger properties did not have to move home when labour brought there changes in it only applied to people moving in to property .why is this so different if you live in social housing you have no choice my home is probably square footage the size of some people's bedroom I don't care that's fine but because we have small box room it's classed as a spare bedroom . In the governments theory we need to create more homes they should make it compulsory that all ther seconded homes that the tax payer pays for should be one bedroom .How many have that I wonder
[quote][p][bold]Sussex jim[/bold] wrote: It is not a "bedroom tax" or indeed any form of tax. It is simply a reduction in housing benefit to a level that claimants need to pay for their accommodation, rather than be funded extra to live in a larger house than they require. I agree that this scheme should have been phased in over a period of time, to allow people to consider moving; but the basic fact is that all benefits (other that long-term invalidity,etc.) are intended as emergency payments to assist those in need, and not to provide permanent free housing.[/p][/quote]I understand your thoughts but the way this was done was poor to say the least .for those in private rent who were already in larger properties did not have to move home when labour brought there changes in it only applied to people moving in to property .why is this so different if you live in social housing you have no choice my home is probably square footage the size of some people's bedroom I don't care that's fine but because we have small box room it's classed as a spare bedroom . In the governments theory we need to create more homes they should make it compulsory that all ther seconded homes that the tax payer pays for should be one bedroom .How many have that I wonder nigelej
  • Score: 3

11:17am Fri 28 Mar 14

nigelej says...

Sussex jim wrote:
It is not a "bedroom tax" or indeed any form of tax. It is simply a reduction in housing benefit to a level that claimants need to pay for their accommodation, rather than be funded extra to live in a larger house than they require.
I agree that this scheme should have been phased in over a period of time, to allow people to consider moving; but the basic fact is that all benefits (other that long-term invalidity,etc.) are intended as emergency payments to assist those in need, and not to provide permanent free housing.
I understand your thoughts but the way this was done was poor to say the least .for those in private rent who were already in larger properties did not have to move home when labour brought there changes in it only applied to people moving in to property .why is this so different if you live in social housing you have no choice my home is probably square footage the size of some people's bedroom I don't care that's fine but because we have small box room it's classed as a spare bedroom . In the governments theory we need to create more homes they should make it compulsory that all ther seconded homes that the tax payer pays for should be one bedroom .How many have that I wonder
[quote][p][bold]Sussex jim[/bold] wrote: It is not a "bedroom tax" or indeed any form of tax. It is simply a reduction in housing benefit to a level that claimants need to pay for their accommodation, rather than be funded extra to live in a larger house than they require. I agree that this scheme should have been phased in over a period of time, to allow people to consider moving; but the basic fact is that all benefits (other that long-term invalidity,etc.) are intended as emergency payments to assist those in need, and not to provide permanent free housing.[/p][/quote]I understand your thoughts but the way this was done was poor to say the least .for those in private rent who were already in larger properties did not have to move home when labour brought there changes in it only applied to people moving in to property .why is this so different if you live in social housing you have no choice my home is probably square footage the size of some people's bedroom I don't care that's fine but because we have small box room it's classed as a spare bedroom . In the governments theory we need to create more homes they should make it compulsory that all ther seconded homes that the tax payer pays for should be one bedroom .How many have that I wonder nigelej
  • Score: -2

6:29pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Jonn says...

Sussex jim wrote:
It is not a "bedroom tax" or indeed any form of tax. It is simply a reduction in housing benefit to a level that claimants need to pay for their accommodation, rather than be funded extra to live in a larger house than they require.
I agree that this scheme should have been phased in over a period of time, to allow people to consider moving; but the basic fact is that all benefits (other that long-term invalidity,etc.) are intended as emergency payments to assist those in need, and not to provide permanent free housing.
You do realise that out of the 660,000 households affected, 440,000 are disabled.
[quote][p][bold]Sussex jim[/bold] wrote: It is not a "bedroom tax" or indeed any form of tax. It is simply a reduction in housing benefit to a level that claimants need to pay for their accommodation, rather than be funded extra to live in a larger house than they require. I agree that this scheme should have been phased in over a period of time, to allow people to consider moving; but the basic fact is that all benefits (other that long-term invalidity,etc.) are intended as emergency payments to assist those in need, and not to provide permanent free housing.[/p][/quote]You do realise that out of the 660,000 households affected, 440,000 are disabled. Jonn
  • Score: 0

8:27pm Fri 28 Mar 14

welshmen says...

Wow £1 million a day, that's £365.000000. a year and that's our poor and disabled suffering, British people suffering, now how much do we give anybody from anywhere as long they are NOT British £12.6 Billion a year,

What IDS the idiot should have done was to take £1 billion from the Foreign Aid Budget, that would have given him a bigger profit and more votes at the next General Election, our poor and disabled would have been happy and those who committed suicide would still be with their loved ones, the www.bnp.org.uk would have done this, British First, Foreigners LAST....
Wow £1 million a day, that's £365.000000. a year and that's our poor and disabled suffering, British people suffering, now how much do we give anybody from anywhere as long they are NOT British £12.6 Billion a year, What IDS the idiot should have done was to take £1 billion from the Foreign Aid Budget, that would have given him a bigger profit and more votes at the next General Election, our poor and disabled would have been happy and those who committed suicide would still be with their loved ones, the www.bnp.org.uk would have done this, British First, Foreigners LAST.... welshmen
  • Score: 3

9:47pm Fri 28 Mar 14

varteg1 says...

Something does not compute.


I would need to know the average extra payment made to those who have moved down before they moved, and what the average is to all claimants.

But we are again getting a shortage of information, just stating we save a million a day, is akin to Thatchers coal subsidy costing a million a day. A figure never substantiated with full statistics.

Whether in subsidised accommodation or not, it would take one helluva a lot of margin to make a saving of 7 millions a week, 365 millions a year.

In fact I just do not accept or believe such a claim. I think it's total rubbish.
Something does not compute. I would need to know the average extra payment made to those who have moved down before they moved, and what the average is to all claimants. But we are again getting a shortage of information, just stating we save a million a day, is akin to Thatchers coal subsidy costing a million a day. A figure never substantiated with full statistics. Whether in subsidised accommodation or not, it would take one helluva a lot of margin to make a saving of 7 millions a week, 365 millions a year. In fact I just do not accept or believe such a claim. I think it's total rubbish. varteg1
  • Score: 2

9:52pm Fri 28 Mar 14

varteg1 says...

Sussex jim wrote:
It is not a "bedroom tax" or indeed any form of tax. It is simply a reduction in housing benefit to a level that claimants need to pay for their accommodation, rather than be funded extra to live in a larger house than they require.
I agree that this scheme should have been phased in over a period of time, to allow people to consider moving; but the basic fact is that all benefits (other that long-term invalidity,etc.) are intended as emergency payments to assist those in need, and not to provide permanent free housing.
Get real., we live in a welfare state, a situation promoted and fostered because people NEED subsidising.

This has nothing to do with permanent 'free' housing, people have to be housed and the private sector has proven time and again, year on year decade on decade that it is unwilling, incapable and downright failing to provide, unless it can take the absolute maximum profit from letting property.
[quote][p][bold]Sussex jim[/bold] wrote: It is not a "bedroom tax" or indeed any form of tax. It is simply a reduction in housing benefit to a level that claimants need to pay for their accommodation, rather than be funded extra to live in a larger house than they require. I agree that this scheme should have been phased in over a period of time, to allow people to consider moving; but the basic fact is that all benefits (other that long-term invalidity,etc.) are intended as emergency payments to assist those in need, and not to provide permanent free housing.[/p][/quote]Get real., we live in a welfare state, a situation promoted and fostered because people NEED subsidising. This has nothing to do with permanent 'free' housing, people have to be housed and the private sector has proven time and again, year on year decade on decade that it is unwilling, incapable and downright failing to provide, unless it can take the absolute maximum profit from letting property. varteg1
  • Score: -2

6:15pm Sat 29 Mar 14

Jonn says...

varteg1 wrote:
Something does not compute.


I would need to know the average extra payment made to those who have moved down before they moved, and what the average is to all claimants.

But we are again getting a shortage of information, just stating we save a million a day, is akin to Thatchers coal subsidy costing a million a day. A figure never substantiated with full statistics.

Whether in subsidised accommodation or not, it would take one helluva a lot of margin to make a saving of 7 millions a week, 365 millions a year.

In fact I just do not accept or believe such a claim. I think it's total rubbish.
The Government calculated the annual saving of 490 million based on nobody moving and everybody paying the extra.
[quote][p][bold]varteg1[/bold] wrote: Something does not compute. I would need to know the average extra payment made to those who have moved down before they moved, and what the average is to all claimants. But we are again getting a shortage of information, just stating we save a million a day, is akin to Thatchers coal subsidy costing a million a day. A figure never substantiated with full statistics. Whether in subsidised accommodation or not, it would take one helluva a lot of margin to make a saving of 7 millions a week, 365 millions a year. In fact I just do not accept or believe such a claim. I think it's total rubbish.[/p][/quote]The Government calculated the annual saving of 490 million based on nobody moving and everybody paying the extra. Jonn
  • Score: 2

6:58pm Wed 9 Apr 14

ConcernedOssy says...

It must be difficult to to do simple arithmetic when your base figure is an exaggeration, guess, or outright lie. But this lot are not acclaimed for their academic prowess. The sooner there gone the better !!
It must be difficult to to do simple arithmetic when your base figure is an exaggeration, guess, or outright lie. But this lot are not acclaimed for their academic prowess. The sooner there gone the better !! ConcernedOssy
  • Score: 2

7:02pm Wed 9 Apr 14

ConcernedOssy says...

It must be difficult to to do simple arithmetic when your base figure is an exaggeration, guess, or outright lie. But this lot are not acclaimed for their academic prowess. The sooner the're gone the better !! This man is really not fit for purpose and has proved it on many occasions he still continues to do so
It must be difficult to to do simple arithmetic when your base figure is an exaggeration, guess, or outright lie. But this lot are not acclaimed for their academic prowess. The sooner the're gone the better !! This man is really not fit for purpose and has proved it on many occasions he still continues to do so ConcernedOssy
  • Score: 2
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