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Bedroom Tax is Once Again In The Public Eye

Bedroom Tax is Once Again In The Public Eye

Bedroom Tax is Once Again In The Public Eye Because Lib Dems Withdraw Support.

Nick Clegg denies the call for a reform of the ‘Bedroom Tax’ is a u-turn, with the coalition partners set for a bruising battle.

The Liberal Democrats have withdrawn support for the so-called “bedroom tax” setting up a showdown with the Conservatives and sparking questions over credibility.

Will Nick Clegg's U-turn threaten the coalition?

Will Nick Clegg’s U-turn threaten the coalition?

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said it was clear the policy was unfair and was not working, saying: “I think when something isn’t working, you fix it.”

Mr Clegg said a Government report, which was published on Tuesday, showed people being penalised for living in homes deemed too big were unable to move to smaller properties. He said it was wrong they should have their benefits cut.

Danny Alexander revealed the Lib Dem shift in a Daily Mirror article

Danny Alexander revealed the Lib Dem shift in a Daily Mirror article

Speaking on his LBC Call Clegg radio programme, he denied the call for three significant changes to the policy amounted to a u-turn and said “sometimes things, in practice, don’t work quite in the way you expect”

The reform has seen social housing tenants considered to have more bedrooms than they need have their housing benefit reduced, to offset what the Government calls a “spare room subsidy”.

Mr Clegg said disabled people should be exempt and those who were unable to move to a smaller property should not have to pay. He also said 300,000 more affordable homes should be made available.

The significant policy shift emerged overnight when Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander outlined the changes in an article for the Daily Mirror.

It sparked accusations of “hypocrisy” and “lack of credibility” from both Labour and the Conservatives.

The Liberal Democrats had not discussed their change of stance with their coalition partners and Tory sources told Sky News: “It was news to us.”

However, the Conservatives remain committed to the policy.

They said the volte-face struck at the heart of the Lib Dem’s credibility and added: “They say one thing and do another. They have no conviction in their beliefs.”

The party’s credibility suffered badly after it broke its 2010 manifesto pledge to vote against a rise in university tuition fees when it formed the coalition.

Mr Alexander said the Lib Dems hoped to convince the Tories of the need to change the policy and if they do not they could force a Commons vote on the issue. The new approach will be included in the party’s 2015 manifesto.

The Government report into the so-called bedroom tax found 60% of those hit by the reforms had been in rent arrears and a shortage of smaller properties meant just 4.5% of tenants had been able to move into a smaller property.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves said Mr Clegg was guilty of “unbelievable hypocrisy”.

She said: “The Lib Dems voted for the bedroom tax. There wouldn’t be a bedroom tax if it wasn’t for the Lib Dems. And in February, when Labour tabled a bill to scrap the bedroom tax, the Lib Dems were nowhere to be seen.”

Mr Clegg has come under pressure to oppose the policy since his party conference voted overwhelmingly to review what activists called a “reprehensible and evil” move.

Related Articles On This Subject The New Bedroom Tax Starts In April

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Welfare Reforms ‘Will Make Benefits Fairer’

Welfare Reforms ‘Will Make Benefits Fairer’

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2013
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New rules on housing benefit come into effect as the Government begins the biggest shake-up in the history of the Welfare State.

The Government is beginning the biggest shake-up in the history of the Welfare State with the introduction of a raft of reforms which it says will make the benefits system “fairer”.

Chancellor George Osborne and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith have dismissed criticism that they say makes the shake-up sound like “the beginning of the end of the world”.

From  April 2013 around 660,000 social housing tenants with a spare room began to lose an average £14 a week in what critics have dubbed a “bedroom tax”.

It is part of a package of welfare and tax changes coming into force this month and will hit poor families and the disabled particularly hard.

Mr Duncan Smith said the changes were about “getting some fairness in the system”.

Iain Duncan Smith

Iain Duncan Smith benefit changes takes affect from 1 April 2013

An overhaul to council tax benefit will see bills for an estimated 2.4 million households rise an average £138 a year, with two million paying for the first time, an anti-poverty group said. Administration of the benefit has been handed to town halls to operate, but with a 10% funding cut.

On April 6, working-age benefits and tax credits will be cut in real terms with the first of three years of maximum 1% rises – well below the present rate of inflation.

On April 8, disability living allowance begins to be replaced by the personal independence payment (Pip), which charities say will remove support from many in real need.

At the end of April, trials begin in four London boroughs of a £500-a-week cap on any household’s benefits and of the new universal credit system.

Pilots for the flagship scheme have been scaled back amid reports – denied by welfare officials – that IT problems have derailed preparations for its roll-out from October.

Labour claims the impact of the measures and other coalition policies have left the average family almost £900 a year worse off.

A coalition of churches has said vulnerable people are paying a “disproportionate price” for the Government’s austerity drive and attacked its whole approach.

Mr Osborne and Mr Duncan Smith declared: “Our changes will ensure that the welfare state offers the right help to those who need it, and is fair to those who pay for it.”

Ending what ministers call a “spare room subsidy” will try to deal with millions of people living in overcrowded conditions and millions more on waiting lists, they said.

The three-year, real-terms cut was a hard but “necessary” decision to save the taxpayer £2bn a year as part of austerity deficit-reduction measures, they wrote.

And raising the personal income tax allowance to £10,000 in two phases starting at the start of the financial year on Saturday was “the biggest tax cut in a generation”.

“What we’re doing this coming week is making welfare fairer, helping to create jobs, and making sure you can keep more of what you earn.”

Mr Duncan Smith has drawn some criticism for saying he could survive on £7.57 per day – the amount given to one benefits claimant who was interviewed by the BBC. The Work and Pensions Secretary told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme he could live on £53 a week if he “had to”.

It came after Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps faced scorn after using the fact that his own two sons shared a room in trying to justify the “common sense” spare room crackdown.

Mr Shapps made a state: “It is wrong to leave people out in the cold with effectively no roof over their heads because the taxpayer is paying for rooms which aren’t in use.

“It’s just a common-sense reform which in the end will help house more people. People share rooms quite commonly – my boys share a room.”

“The problem is the debate over welfare has become so politically charged, emotional even, that some Labour MPs are saying it is not appropriate for Mr Shapps, who is a millionaire, to compare themselves with people on low paid jobs for instance,” she said.

Labour declared that local council tax had enought one and two bedroom properties to house only one in 20 of those families with spare rooms.

Responses from 37 authorities across Britain revealed 96,041 households faced losing benefit but there were only 3,688 smaller homes available.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said: “These shocking new figures reveal the big lie behind this Government’s cruel bedroom tax.

“They say it’s not a tax but 96% of people have nowhere to move to. In the same week that millionaires get a huge tax cut, hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people will be hit by a vicious tax they can’t escape.

“This wicked bedroom tax is going to rip neighbour from neighbour, force vulnerable people to food banks and loan sharks, and end up costing Britain more than it saves as tenants are forced to go homeless or move into the expensive private rented sector.”

:: Changes to the way NHS budgets are controlled are also being introduced from April 1, with the controversial health reforms seeing responsibility for commissioning care transferred from primary care trusts to groups made up of doctors and other clinicians.

And the legal aid system is also being overhauled, with the number of people who qualify cut by 75% and areas including custody battles, divorce and employment law affected.

Benefit changes from 1 April 2013 information


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Benefit changes From 1 April 2013

Benefit changes From 1 April 2013

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2013
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Benefit changes

Some changes to benefits have already been made, but further changes are coming. You could be affected by changes being made under the Welfare Reform act.

New benefit rules will apply from 1 April 2013.

Access to London hopes offer the most accurate information possible, when becomes available.

Here are some of the main changes being introduced to Britain’s welfare and tax system from 1 April 2013:

Benefits cap

From April 2013, there will be a limit on the amount of benefit a household can get. This is called the benefit cap and some people will get less benefit than before.

Under-occupancy/bedroom tax

Tenants under-occupying social housing will have their Housing Benefit payments reduced if the home is considered to be too large for the household’s needs.

Council tax support

From 1 April 2013 the Council Tax Support (CTS) scheme will replace Council Tax Benefit (CTB). This is a local scheme that helps people with no or low income to pay their council tax.

Universal Credit

Unless you are retired or unable to work all your benefits will be replaced by Universal Credit from October 2013.

Read full story about benefit changes from the 1 April 2013


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The New Bedroom Tax Starts In April

The New Bedroom Tax Starts In April

  • Posted: Feb 02, 2013
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The new duty will plunge Britons into poverty, including members of the armed forces, the disabled and elderly.

The new law, so-called “bedroom tax” will be imposed from April by the Guvernment.

All social housing tenants of working-age will have their housing benefit docked if they are judged to have a spare bedroom. For 670,000 households already struggling to pay bills and rent while feeding themselves or their children, that means losing an average of £14 a week, and up to £80 a month. Misery awaits.

The policy has two stated aims: firstly, to bring down the housing benefits bill; secondly, to free up under-occupied social housing to help overcrowded families. The Government is absolutely right to argue that £21bn worth of taxpayers’ money is wasted on housing benefit. But it is paid out because our economy is blighted by a combination of high unemployment and underemployment, low wages and excessive rents, leaving large sections of the population unable to afford their housing costs. A huge chunk of housing benefit has become a subsidy for private landlords who scrounge off the taxpayer, knowing they can charge extortionate rents and the state will pick up the tab. Controlling rents – as in Germany – would be a more effective and humane way of reducing the bill.

What do the changes mean?

The size criteria in the social rented sector will restrict housing benefit to allow for one bedroom for each person or couple living as part of the household, with the following exceptions:
•Children under 16 of same gender expected to share
•Children under 10 expected to share regardless of gender
•Disabled tenant or partner who needs non resident overnight carer will be allowed an extra bedroom

Who will be affected?

All claimants who are deemed to have at least one spare bedroom will be affected. This includes:
•Separated parents who share the care of their children and who may have been allocated an extra bedroom to reflect this. Benefit rules mean that there must be a designated ‘main carer’ for children (who receives the extra benefit)
•Couples who use their ‘spare’ bedroom when recovering from an illness or operation
•Foster carers because foster children are not counted as part of the household for benefit purposes
•Parents whose children visit but are not part of the household
•Families with disabled children
•Disabled people including people living in adapted or specially designed properties.

How much will people lose?

The cut will be a fixed percentage of the Housing Benefit eligible rent. The Government has said that this will be set at 14% for one extra bedroom and 25% for two or more extra bedrooms.

The Government’s impact assessment shows that those affected will lose an average of £14 a week. Housing association tenants are expected to lose £16 a week on average.

How many people will see their benefit cut?

The proposal will affect an estimated 660,000 working-age social tenants – 31% of existing working-age housing benefit claimants in the social sector. The majority of these people have only one extra bedroom.

Need more detail on how the bedroom tax will be applied?

Read the regulations on the social sector size criteria or bedroom tax.

Do the regulations define a bedroom?

No. The Government’s view is that it is for landlords to specify the size of the property and this ought to match what is on any tenancy agreement and reflect the level of rent charged. The bedroom tax will not take account of whether a room is a single or a double bedroom. A room either is a bedroom or is not a bedroom.


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Bedroom Tax’ is Once Again In The Public Eye Because Lib Dems Withdraw Support



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