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



Comments

by LCH

14:50 PM, 14th September 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "l hassall" at "14/09/2013 - 14:43":

...and Sally I agree more smaller social housing units should be available.

by Jay James

16:07 PM, 14th September 2013, About 8 years ago

restated below

by Jay James

16:10 PM, 14th September 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "l hassall" at "14/09/2013 - 14:54":

I really disagree with spending public money on housing other than through HB / LHA. It disguises that my tax money goes on housing other people and not me.
So no, I do not think that social housing should increase, it should be abolished completely.
I have no problem with the construction industry being forced to build a range of housing that suits a range of needs.

by LCH

16:29 PM, 14th September 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jay Jay" at "14/09/2013 - 16:10":

Jay Jay, I guess you'd be happy with the Brazilian slum reality outlined by others above then. Nice 🙁

by Jay James

16:44 PM, 14th September 2013, About 8 years ago

restated below

by Jay James

16:54 PM, 14th September 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "l hassall" at "14/09/2013 - 16:29":

when reasoned comments are made, I do likewise.

by LCH

19:15 PM, 14th September 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jay Jay" at "14/09/2013 - 16:54":

Jay Jay, Quite. Regards,

by Sally T

19:19 PM, 14th September 2013, About 8 years ago

Jay Jay. I have to disagree with you, social housing is very important in our society for helping people who need it. The problem is the system has been allowed to be abused, I think people in social housing should have their situation reviewed every 3 years, if the property is no longer suitable (to big or financial situation improved) they should be given notice to find somewhere more suitable or moved to a smaller property. What does upset me is councils knocking properties into one to accommodate large families on benefits or hearing of families living in million pound houses in London.
I think with the right changes the right people can be in social housing and people that need spare rooms for carers can have without been penalised. The system needed overhauling a long time ago and as such it was rushed through without proper though.

by Jay James

20:34 PM, 14th September 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sally T" at "14/09/2013 - 19:19":

Hi Sally, perhaps I was a little harsh. I am almost always a vociferous supporter of the poor. It has been suggested that I am a socialist. Think I was having a bad day. I am myself on the borderline where I could end up poor if my assets are whittled away by various policies, (hence I wish for policies that leave me able to earn my way to increased wealth).

We certainly do need adequate provision for the needs of the poor (housing is one of several), because we do not live in a society that rewards according to merit for everyone. Too many get control of resources to the detriment of the poor. Off the soap box and back to practical matters.

I just do not like having no choice as too whether I help the poor or not. I think housing provision should be absolutely removed from on-going public funding. I emphasise on-going. One time funding would be no problem to me. With no shareholders, a national housing corporation would surely be sustainable from rents collected and without further tax monies.

My other resentments against social landlords that drive the above comments include:
a bias away from providing for the employed,
single men being at the bottom of the pile for cheap housing,
the seemingly many other functions given to them that go beyond provision of housing such as street wardens,
their seemingly red tape driven ways of working,
they just cost so much to tax payers, yet this is hidden through various schemes and layers of bureaucracy,
they are too quick to make proclamations about how a community should be,
some of them do not look after their leaseholders,
there is lack of consistency of standards of operation between social landlords.

by Jay James

21:33 PM, 14th September 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sally T" at "14/09/2013 - 19:19":

should add; no issues with HB/LHA in principle. operation of this is another matter.


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