Ridiculous, cruel and an unprovoked attack on people with disabilities and others who are just as vulnerable, the UK government’s bedroom tax1 has led to more than 57,000 households falling into rent arrears.
Who said so? Why, the government itself. But it tried to conceal the report by burying it as one of 300 documents issued on the day that the House of Commons went into its summer recess.
In fact, it’s even worse than that. Besides the 2014/15 English Housing Survey being part of a mountain of paperwork, the figures themselves were only to be unearthed by digging through the survey. Remember, too, that the figures are a year old and, since then, the situation can only have got worse; what’s more they only relate to England, not the UK as a whole.
The Housing Survey shows the horrific number of people who were hit by then work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s awful policy.
According to the Mirror Online:
When the survey was taken 364,000 households in social housing were in rent arrears. Another 348,000 had been behind on rent in the previous year.
Among those, 22% (153,800 households) blamed problems or cuts in their benefits.
And 37% of that group (57,485 households) said they had benefits cut for ‘under-occupying’ their home – the hated bedroom tax.
Another 24,000 people in social housing fell behind on rent due to new systems like Universal Credit or the benefits cap.
Figures revealed earlier this year showed the Bedroom Tax is now costing each victim £66 a year more than Iain Duncan Smith’s former department first predicted, when he was in office.
The cost to 442,000 home was around £794 a year, compared to £728 in the official impact assessment dated 2013/14.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) blamed the difference on rent rises over the past two years – but Labour said it proved once again why the tax should be scrapped.
Although I don’t receive housing benefit, I can see that the bedroom tax is unfair and unjustified.
1 Officially, the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ is the ‘abolition of the spare room subsidy’, a government reform that reduces housing benefit to anyone with a bedroom more than they are said to need.