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 8 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


by Neil Patterson

8:36 AM, 12th September 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "12/09/2013 - 08:07":

Economic theory states that there is a natural level of unemployment that indicates the tipping point for wage lead inflation.

The exact figure is difficult to pin point and depends on many factors such as benefits, health etc. For arguments sake lets call it 4%. That is the point where all the people that wish to be or can be employed are.

If unemployment is above that figure supply of labour is greater than demand so there is no upwards pressure on the cost of labour generally however if unemployment is less than 4% demand is greater than supply and you get wage inflation.

Therefore the real sustainable level of unemployment is not actually 7% it is 7% minus what ever this natural figure is.

by Sally T

13:52 PM, 12th September 2013, About 8 years ago

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

I am neither naive or trite. I live in an area where the only people employers can find to do the jobs are foreigners. They don't think that cleaning is 'beneath them', they also don't mind turning up on time to do a fair days work on a fair days pay. The Brits would rather sit in their flats listening to rubbish music and hanging out with there mates, all because they can because of the benefit system.

People on job seekers allowance should be made to sit in the job centre sewing mailbags 8 hours a day 5 days a week to qualify for their money. They'd soon realise they'd be better off in work !

by Sally T

21:33 PM, 12th September 2013, About 8 years ago

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

I am neither naive or trite . We make a point of only renting to workers, as a result most of tenants are foreigners. If someone looses their job they've generally found another one within 3 days. We have british people ring and when I ask if their working they say no and when I ask if they are looking for work they sound shocked like they have a god given right to live on benefits. We've had foreigners ring from abroad asking for properties who already have jobs. The work is there for the people who want it !

by LCH

23:03 PM, 12th September 2013, About 8 years ago

What about people who can't work e.g. have lifelong physical or learning disabilities? We don't claim benefits and have always paid taxes etc however our eldest has learning difficulties and we worry about his future - one reason we're trying to grow our portfolio is to ensure he and his brother have a cushion at least from financially once we're gone. I do feel that it is the most vulnerable that are being hit by all these cuts/changes the most and yes there are people who could work and don't but lets remember there are many who really aren't so fortunate. Those immigrants you mention Mark are probably fit and well.

by Gareth Thomas

7:59 AM, 13th September 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "l hassall" at "12/09/2013 - 23:03":

Well said and my point entirely.

by Mark Alexander

8:12 AM, 13th September 2013, About 8 years ago

@I Hassell

I'm probably one of the most caring people you will ever meet in real life so without wishing to come across as uncaring, would you expect the tax payer to provide more benefits than your son actually needs and if so why? Would you expect the tax payer to fund a 3 bed house if his requirements were perhaps for a two bed bungalow to provide a room for him and his carer. That's what we are discussing here and what the Bedroom Tax is all about.

The other references were to claimants of job seekers allowance so I'm assuming that would not be applicable to your son if his disabilities are too severe for him to ever be in a position to seek paid work?

@Gareth Thomas - thank you for clarifying exactly what your point was because it was not clear at all to me that the point you were making was the same point as I Hassall until now. Maybe we can agree to agree on this point after all?

by Sally T

11:03 AM, 13th September 2013, About 8 years ago

I wasn't on about people with disabilities, as I consider them to be a separate group. I do think the bedroom tax wasn't thought through properly before it was brought in ,as a result there are people suffering that shouldn't be. But then I also know single people living in 3 bedroom houses been paid for by hard working people.
I think fast forward a year with the right changes been brought in the system could work well. All they need to do now is start building more 1 bedroom social housing flats to allow people to downsize to.

by Jerry Jones

12:01 PM, 13th September 2013, About 8 years ago

Or even for more landlords to offer such properties for rent in the private sector at a realistic LHA-level rent. I'm guessing that they would actually consume less taxpayers' money overall than the apparently lower-rent social housing version once the other subsidies in the social housing system are taken into consideration.

by Jay James

17:58 PM, 13th September 2013, About 8 years ago


In particular a spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said

“These are exactly the same rules as in the private sector."

by LCH

14:43 PM, 14th September 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "13/09/2013 - 08:12":

Mark, Sally, I don't necessarily think you're uncaring, I know we all have those 'get a job' thoughts about the unemployed now and then, it just seemed to me the dialogue was turning away from bedroom tax and towards a 'get at people on benefits' for a minute there. Unfortunately the whole disability issue isn't as cut and dried as your responses would suggest either. e.g. what they've done to DLA for adults: In theory it is reasonable that individuals should have to go through medicals to justify claiming, however in practise because of the way it's been set up and executed the screening is creating lots of injustices, widely reported in the press; not least for those with physical conditions with symptoms that may vary one day to the next. I expect and indeed hope my son will be able to work, and if he is able indeed he should. In fact despite his learning difficulties he is bright (get your head round that everyone), however there are other basic social abilities etc that we all do instinctively that he will really struggle with which are required to hold down a job. So if someone says 'oh I'm not talking about disabled people as they're classed differently' they are oversimplfiying things in a way that just doesn't reflect reallity. Mark, from what I understand about the bedroom tax there are couples where one of the carers is a spouse but due to the severe disability they sleep in separate rooms but because they are married they are not allowed more than the one bedroom and are falling foul of these new rules, so no I wouldn't bank on my son being given a 2 bed bungalow ever. Just glad we're in a position to provide for our kids future ourselves (hopefully).

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