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http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/01/bedroom-tax-careless-cruel-policy

 

The bedroom tax's authors were either careless or cruel – it must be fought

 

For some time now, I've been trying to understand the government's thought process as it devised the bedroom tax. I can imagine Lord Freud, its inventor, might not know enough about the social housing stock to realise it is an impractical policy (though if he doesn't even know the basics of social housing, I'm not sure why the government is letting him tinker with it); I can understand the mean-spirited attitude that resents giving poor people anything other than as little as possible (though I don't share it); I can even accept that – as bizarre as it sounds to me – the government might sincerely see the bedroom tax as a practical solution to the social housing shortage.

 

But what I don't understand is the rationale of a group of individuals who decide to tax people for their spare rooms, and actively include foster parents in that – or people with disabilities, or people whose children are serving overseas. I mean, there must have been a conversation at some point where one policymaker asked "what about people who need a spare room to store medical equipment to keep them alive? Are they going to be exempted?" and another replied "no, let's take money from them as well". And if that conversation didn't happen, what does that say about the level of scrutiny that goes into making government policy?

 

I ponder this because to me it is evidence that this government is either careless or actively cruel. There are simply no other explanations. The bedroom tax has certainly not come from a place of reason. If it had, the government wouldn't have partially U-turned by exempting foster families as it has now done, or it would have listened to all the local authorities saying they don't have the right housing stock, or it would have been deterred by warnings that the policy will lead to evictions and homelessness. That's how a reasonable government would behave, and this government is not reasonable.

 

We've been here before, where the government attempts to introduce a tax that is unworkable, unfair and unreasonable. The fledgling campaigns against the bedroom tax have already begun to make comparisons with the poll tax, suggesting that campaigners are aware that direct action is the only conceivable response. The poll tax was defeated with mass non-payment and protest on the streets, not with rational arguments or pleas for compassion. I get the impression that campaigners against the bedroom tax will be responding with similar inflexibility to the government. Inflexibility is something this government seems to understand.

 

UK Uncut's forthcoming day of action on 13 April is the obvious starting point for a sustained campaign of direct action against the bedroom tax. And what the government needs to grasp pretty quickly is that opposition to the bedroom tax will not come from hubristic activists, but from people who feel they have no choice but to fight because they are already being dragged down by a whole other set of austerity measures. For a lot of people in this country, a campaign against the bedroom tax will not be an opportunity to score political points; it will be the raft that stops them from drowning.

 

Over the coming weeks and months, a cocktail of local authority cuts, benefit caps, and the bedroom tax will push people into fighting back. The media and political class may condemn their actions, even if they are non-violent. There won't be any headlines depicting these protests as what they simply are: a justifiable reaction to an intolerable policy. But when the government pushes people to their absolute limit, something has to give. This year, that will happen. And if you want to know who to blame, look to Westminster.

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UN now looking into WCAhttp://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2013/september/un-now-looking-wca

"While millionaires get an average £100,000 tax cut this week Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) figures show that the average family will be £891 worse off this year because of tax and benefit changes since 2010," he said.

 

"And just looking at the new changes this week the poorest 10% are losing £127 while the richest 10% gain 10 times that - £1,265. Labour would not be making these deeply unfair choices this week."

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"While millionaires get an average £100,000 tax cut this week Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) figures show that the average family will be £891 worse off this year because of tax and benefit changes since 2010," he said.

 

"And just looking at the new changes this week the poorest 10% are losing £127 while the richest 10% gain 10 times that - £1,265. Labour would not be making these deeply unfair choices this week."

 

 

As i have said before "you just could not make it up" The Tories are certainly a rich mans Government, not sure what to say about Labour though as i was very disappointed in their abstaining from voting on the retrospective law to stop job seekers claiming back money which was taken from them by means of unfair/illegal sanctions.

 

However there is at least a couple who have spoken up extremely well for the most vulnerable and against the cuts being imposed, a Mr Michael Meacher and Mr John McDonnel have both made very good speaches in the House of Commons during debates.

 

I also noticed last night on the Scottish news that Orkney is going to be quite badly affected by the bedroom tax as well, and yet i have still not heard any word from our local MP or MSP on what they are doing for their constituents who are suffering and possibly facing eviction as a result of the tax.......... Mmh

 

I seem to keep drifting away from the topic which i started "ATOS" but feel it is necessary to try and highlight all the draconian measures being imposed on the poorest and least able as well as the horrendous failings of both the Government and the company they have in place to do their dirty work, Atos ,who have been linked to the cause of death of thousands of people, perhaps that is what they want as it will reduce their benefits paid out :x

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sign one of the fastest growing petitions ever? :D

 

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/iain-duncan-smith-iain-duncan-smith-to-live-on-53-a-week

 

see if IDS takes up the offer to live on £53 a week as he claimed he could. (although that was probably because of all the state-subsidised lobster and moët & chandon and his multi millionaire wife and his well stocked mansion and his chauffeur and his spaceship and....

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sign one of the fastest growing petitions ever? :D

 

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/iain-duncan-smith-iain-duncan-smith-to-live-on-53-a-week

 

see if IDS takes up the offer to live on £53 a week as he claimed he could. (although that was probably because of all the state-subsidised lobster and moët & chandon and his multi millionaire wife and his well stocked mansion and his chauffeur and his spaceship and....

 

 

It certainly is getting a lot of signatures! If only he would attempt it with empty cupboards and for longer than a week as am sure we could all make do for 1 week but when you are doing it indefinitely and also struggling with everything else that poverty throws at you it is not really comparable.

 

This man has no concept of what hardship really is along with all his other partners in crime.

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/02/ten-lies-told-about-welfare

 

10 lies we're told about welfare

By Ricky Tomlinson

 

Has someone made Jim Royle a policy adviser? Millions are being made poorer while we're fobbed off with porkies

 

Welfare reform, my ass. Has Jim Royle parked his chair, feet up, telly on, in the corridors between the Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions? Employing him as adviser can be the only explanation for the utter rubbish that boils forth from this government on welfare.

 

Who else could have dreamed up the bedroom tax, a policy so stupid it forces people to leave their homes and drag themselves around the country in search of nonexistent one-bedroom flats?

 

That one has to be the result of too many hours in front of Jeremy Kyle (no offence) with the heating on full and a can of super-strength lager. It seems as if that is how this government views ordinary people: feckless and useless – poor, because they brought it on themselves, deliberately.

 

Maybe the cabinet is confused. Twenty-three millionaires in the one room can get like that. But do you know what, enough. Let's call this government's welfare policy what it is – wrong, nasty and dishonest.

 

Off the top of my head, I can list 10 porkies they are spinning to justify the latest stage of their attack on our 70-year-old welfare state.

 

1. Benefits are too generous

Really? Could you live on £53 a week as Iain Duncan Smith is claiming he could if he had to? Then imagine handing back 14% of this because the government deems you have a "spare room". Could you find the money to pay towards council tax and still afford to eat at the end of the week?

 

2. Benefits are going up

They're not. A 1% "uprating" cap is really a cut. Inflation is at least 2.7% . Essentials like food, fuel and transport are all up by at least that, in many cases far more. Benefits are quickly falling behind the cost of living.

 

3. Jobs are out there, if people look

Where? Unemployment rose last month and is at 2.5 million, with one million youngsters out of work. When Costa Coffee advertised eight jobs, 1,701 applied.

 

4. The bedroom tax won't hit army families or foster carers

Yes it will. Perhaps most cruel of all, the tax will not apply to foster families who look after one kid. If you foster siblings, then tough. But these kids are often the hardest to place. Thanks to George Osborne and IDS, their chances just got worse. And even if your son or daughter is in barracks in Afghanistan, then don't expect peace of mind as the government still has to come clean on plans for their bedroom.

 

5. Social tenants can downsize

Really, where? Councils sold their properties – and Osborne wants them to sell what's left. Housing associations built for families. In Hull, there are 5,500 people told to chase 70 one-bedroom properties.

 

6. Housing benefit is the problem

In fact it's rental costs. Private rents shot up by an average of £300 last year. No wonder 5 million people need housing benefits, but they don't keep a penny. It all goes to landlords.

 

7. Claimants are pulling a fast one

No. Less than 1% of the welfare budget is lost to fraud. But tax avoidance and evasion is estimated to run to £120bn.

 

8. It's those teenage single mums

An easy target. Yet only 2% of single mums are teenagers. And most single mums, at least 59%, work.

 

9. We're doing this for the next generation

No you're not. The government's admitted at least 200,000 more children will be pushed deeper into poverty because of the welfare changes.

 

10. Welfare reforms are just about benefit cuts

Wrong. The attack on our welfare state is hitting a whole range of services – privatising the NHS, winding up legal aid for people in debt and closing SureStart centres and libraries. All this will make life poorer for every community.

 

Some call these myths. I call them lies. We are being told lies about who caused this crisis and lied to about the best way out of it. But I know one thing to be true: this government's polices will make millions of people poorer and more afraid. To do that when you do not have to, when there are other options, is obscene. That's why I'm backing union Unite's OurWelfareWorks campaign in its efforts to help highlight the truth about our welfare state.

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Thank you for posting all of this, it is appreciated. I've signed the IDS petition, I think it asks him to do it for a year but canna mind. Personally I'd want cameras on him 24/7 if he was doing that and the cooker or washing machine to break someway through it.

 

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Thanks tartonangel :wink: (oops tarotangel) Time for Specsavers i fear!

 

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I never noticed that it was for a year so apologies Disortio and heading to Specsavers very soon :(

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