Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg orders an independent review into impact of bedroom tax, this policy is unjust, unfair and penalises innocent people, the unfairness really strikes home to what is wrong in Britain, the political elite don’t understand the poor

Dear All

The bedroom tax is plain wrong.

Now, there is to be an independent review into its impact.

The impact is that people are making harder choices, heat or eat, things are bad enough; this has the added impact of trapping people still further into poverty.

Quite simply, you are better off in prison than on benefits, and it costs the Government in the region of £42,000 a year to keep you and feed you.

So what does prison offer?

1/ Free bed
2/ Free food
3/ No electric and gas bills
4/ No council tax
5/ chance to get a higher education paid
6/ Free medical
7/ Free dental
8/ Free gym and leisure facilities
9/ Chance to learn a trade such as catering
10/ Plenty of time for study and reading
11/ No stress

The downside is of course no boozing and limited social life, however days out are possible on a limited basis.

And you can’t order in a Chinese meal or kebab, also no swimming pool.  

The Lib Dems are joined at the hip to the Conservatives, that decision by the now Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg literally destroyed the Lib Dems as a political force.

Clegg says research is needed to find out whether tenants could opt to take a smaller house or flat to avoid a deduction in their benefits.

The answer in many cases is no, there isn’t enough one bedroom flats and houses, and quite simply the bedroom tax idea is unworkable.

The idea is really all about people on benefits living in posh areas that have million pound houses, and most people would agree with that, that it is seriously wrong, where idea falls down is that most people don’t, many live in housing schemes.

Under the reforms, tenants with one spare bedroom have had a payment reduction of 14% and those deemed to have two or more spare have seen their benefits cut by 25%.

That is wrong, if you are in a two bed flat which is pretty much the norm for ordinary people on benefits, you are very lucky if you get offered a one bed, and chances are the one bed if available might be in a local ‘war zone’.

In what is described as ‘special cases’, councils have been handed a discretionary housing fund to help tenants pay their rent, problem is that some people on benefits are getting refused even that, and others are being pressured by housing staff to get out of their home because they have a bigger family wanting to move in.

I met a resident in my area who has been harassed in such a way.

The Labour Party is pretty much leading the charge on opposing this disastrous government policy because there is such a shortage of smaller properties, many tenants cannot downsize and the fund available for helping the vulnerable is simply inadequate.

In the real world, people on benefits live on the breadline, this just makes matters worse, it lowers their quality of life still further, and some people have opted for suicide as a way out.

The reality of the moving to a smaller house or flat is put rather nicely by Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman who said the shortage in social housing means only one in 25 households affected by the spare room subsidy can actually choose a smaller property without an extra bedroom.

As I said, you are better off in prison.

Clegg told the House of Commons he suspected the problem varied across the country, no shit Sherlock!

Question is why didn’t he oppose this, and for the Conservatives, it is a massive PR disaster of epic proportions whether you are on benefits or not, people know this is unjust and unfair.

Clegg said a review was now under way to determine the impact of the Government policy.

That review should come back and say scrap it.

In fact the Conservatives could use other means to make up the shortfall and also produce a surplus of cash for the economy while also reducing the benefits bill.

I have such an idea.

Anyway to Clegg, he said:

"Of course, I accept that there will be cases where for some households this change from one system to another creates real dilemmas which need to be addressed through the money we are making available to local authorities. To be honest, I have seen lots of widely different figures being cited about the impact of this policy - that is why we are commissioning independent research to exactly understand the impact of this. I suspect it varies enormously between one part of the country and another, and one local authority and another. That is why we are trebling, as I say, the resources we are making available to local authorities."

Clegg is facing pressure on all fronts from Labour for supporting this Turkey of a policy. At the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow last month, many Lib Dems activists were angry at the party's support.

If you are an activist and you are working to sell the Lib Dem message in a poor area, you really are rather up shit creek without a paddle, what do you say to someone who has lost 14% and 25% of the rent?


We are all in this together?

Lib Dem Activist Linda Jack, from Mid Bedfordshire, said she left the conference hall after the debate on the economy "wondering if there was still a place for me in this party".

She added:

"All I see is what appears to be an abandonment of our values."

Linda could have added the majority of the Lib Dem voter base who are asking themselves why they should even bother, probably the same thought must be running through the minds of activists. It is one thing to lose an election, but you like to think that you have a fighting chance.

Pretty much Nick Clegg has single handedly killed off his entire party, and for what?

A ministerial salary and a fleeting chance of fame and fortune!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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