The UK Government crack down on the under occupancy tax, AKA bedroom tax, has been met with frustration and anger. The tax focuses on people who live in a social property which is under occupied. A couple living in a three bedroom house, where the children have grown up and fled the ‘nest’, will be charged a 25% premium on their rent.
This only impacts people who get their housing benefit paid by the Government. The housing benefit will be cut accordingly. A 25% cut on a property rent of £4oo means there will be a £100 shortfall each month.
It’s a devious route from the Government to drop the housing benefit and represents a financial problem for millions of people. The Government’s stance is “why should we pay for somebody to live in a 3 bedroom house, when they need a 1 bedroom flat”.
The Government’s right. But, the deployment of their plan is horrific. To change the goalposts with little notice is barbaric. People didn’t have enough time to move out their property and downsize so they’re being asked to use their jobseeker’s money to pay for their rent. As a result, adults and children are going hungry.
Issues With Bedroom Tax
Most people I speak to say they believe the bedroom tax is fair, but they don’t agree with the way the tax is being implemented is right. The number of 1 bedroom properties is too low; there aren’t enough around to meet the demand. So, people are stuck in a position where they can’t move and they can’t afford to repay the additional fees.
As a consequence people are accruing debts and social landlords are having to evict people.
There are also issues with people who have disabilities. The second bedroom, which may be used for nursing care or rehabilitation is considered as a bedroom. Thus, they will have to pay for the extra bedroom. I may be completely out of sync, but I think people who need an extra bedroom to pay for disabilities should get extra support.
The Government is using a 1 size fits all approach and it’s not fair, in my opinion. If people are stuck in a property they should not be penalised, but instead give them help and time to move.
How People Are Getting Round The Tax?
There have been some success stories regarding the bedroom tax, with people claiming their second room is too small to constitute a bedroom. Housing associations and local councils have been helping their tenants avoid extra charges by finding loopholes. However, for the majority of people they are getting into increasing levels of debt.
The deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said that we are turning a corner and things are getting better for the nation. I saw this picture and felt it was accurate given the current situation.