United Nations call for Bedroom Tax to be Axed

United Nations call for Bedroom Tax to be Axed

8:53 AM, 11th September 2013, About 11 years ago 34

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The United Nations special investigator on housing Raquel Rolnik has said that the Bedroom Tax could constitute a violation of the human right to adequate housing.

Rolnik, a former urban planning minister in Brazil, has has told the government it should abolish the bedroom tax, after investigating how the policy was affecting vulnerable citizens during a visit to the UK, and said Britain’s good record on housing was being eroded by a failure to provide sufficient quantities of affordable social housing, and more recently by the impact of welfare reform.

Rolnik said she was disturbed by the extent of unhappiness caused by the bedroom tax and struck by how heavily this policy was affecting “the most vulnerable, the most fragile, the people who are on the fringes of coping with everyday life”. “I was very shocked to hear how people really feel abused in their human rights by this decision and why – being so vulnerable – they should pay for the cost of the economic downturn, which was brought about by the financial crisis. People in testimonies were crying, saying ‘I have nowhere to go’, ‘I will commit suicide’.”

Rolnik reported that council officials, were struggling to cope with the repercussions of the Bedroom Tax’s introduction, because there is a shortage of single-bedroom properties for tenants move down to. She said “It’s so clear that the government didn’t really assess the impact on lives when it took this decision. The mechanism that they have in place to mitigate it, the discretionary payment that they provide the councils with, it doesn’t solve anything, it’s for just a couple of months, and the councils cannot count on that on a permanent basis, they don’t know if it’s going to be available next year, so it’s useless.”
Rolnik confirmed that the bedroom tax could be a violation of the human right to adequate housing. If for example the extra payments forced tenants to cut down on their spending on food or heating their home. She said her conclusions should carry weight in British courts, where a number of legal challenges to the bedroom tax are under way. “It depends on how much the judiciary here takes into account the international legislation. In principle they should because the UK has signed and ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.”

A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesman said: “It is surprising to see these conclusions being drawn from anecdotal evidence and conversations after a handful of meetings – instead of actual hard research and data. Britain has a very strong housing safety net and even after our necessary reforms we continue to pay over 80% of most claimants’ rent if they are affected by the ending of the spare room subsidy.”United Nations calls for bedroom tax to be axed

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Neil Patterson

9:10 AM, 11th September 2013, About 11 years ago

We should not shy away from criticism just because someone else is worse, but Raquel Rolnik is a former urban planning minister in Brazil.

Have you seen the Shanty towns above the wealth of Rio?

10:36 AM, 11th September 2013, About 11 years ago

I frequently point out to my Guardian-reading friends that the so-called Bedroom Tax was introduced to the private rented sector in 2008 by the then Labour government as part of the introduction of LHA to replace Housing Benefit. Was there not some kind of requirement for HB claimants to live in a property of an appropriate size for their needs prior to that?

Interesting that the howls of rage and anguish have only started now it has been extended to the social housing sector, which is already subsidised in one way or another by taxpayers' money.

Sally T

11:56 AM, 11th September 2013, About 11 years ago

If people don't want to be affected by the bedroom tax there is a very simple solution, get a job !

16:25 PM, 11th September 2013, About 11 years ago

well said, and also why do we allow the mis use of the term tax, it is not a tax, it is the ending of a subsidy, not the same thing, why should we subsidize someone else`s house?


19:06 PM, 11th September 2013, About 11 years ago

With all due respect Ms Rolnik you leave us to sort out the state of our country and how we are subsidising a large number of people who have had it easy for far too long and you just make sure your stadiums are ready for the world cup and Olympics in 2014/16!


21:23 PM, 11th September 2013, About 11 years ago

Hmmmm. Oh please, why do we even bother to listen to these twits........

It seems there are a large number of Brazilians along with just about every other nationality from all around our planet living here in the UK, happily taking advantage of our benefit system, NHS and Schools because there is so little for them in Brazil & similar countries. Even Ronnie Biggs crawled back when his health started to fail, despite all his previous bluster and bravado. The inside of one of our prisons is clearly more attractive than being ill and poor in Brazil.

I have Brazilian tenants in one of my properties who tell me that Brazil is too unsafe to live in so they will never take their children back there and this silly woman has nothing more important to worry about than the UK bedroom tax?? How many English live in Brazil on a cushy benefits ticket?? No bedroom tax to worry about there - you simply don't get one, unless of course you make it yourself out of waste wood, plastic and tin, then you consider yourself lucky to squeeze three families in & live next to the open sewer rather than actually in it. Have you seen the programmes showing how many people live in just one room in a shanty town? Clearly Raquel Rolnik is too busy criticising others to watch TV.

People who live in glass houses really should not throw stones.....................


7:02 AM, 12th September 2013, About 11 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sally T" at "11/09/2013 - 11:56":

Such a naive and trite comment in the extreme.

If only it were that simple! I'm sure most people would love a job that pays their way. Trouble is...they can't get one nor are there any available (jobs) in some areas of the UK.

Think about it...

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

7:29 AM, 12th September 2013, About 11 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gareth Thomas" at "12/09/2013 - 07:02":

Don't make me laugh, of course there are jobs! Why do you think we have such high immigration here in the UK? You are lucky to find a person with a British accent working in a petrol station or a hotel these days.


7:45 AM, 12th September 2013, About 11 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "12/09/2013 - 07:29":


So you're telling me there are 7% unemployed in the UK and there are jobs for every single one of them? If that were the case, why are these jobs not being filled?

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

8:07 AM, 12th September 2013, About 11 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gareth Thomas" at "12/09/2013 - 07:45":

No that's not what I am saying at all.

What I am saying is that immigrants are managing to find work and many of them are working their way up in society and the housing ladder so why isn't our indigenous population?

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