If Grant Shapps, Danny Alexander and the rest of the Coalition government really thought the Bedroom Tax was about making the best use of available accommodation, they would be offering to pay the full costs of a move into smaller, private accommodation for those able to downgrade, along with the difference in housing benefit contribution – so the tenant does not have to pay more – in perpetuity.
But they aren’t prepared to pay that, are they? Instead, they want the poorest tenants in the country to become poorer. Don’t believe this gang of sponging liars.
I call them sponging liars because you will recall that most of them are perfectly happy to claim just as much money as they can from the taxpayer – at rates that are vastly above the benefits they want to steal from you or your next-door-neighbour.
Think of James Clappison (Con, Hertsmere) – on £12,500 per year, which is almost two-and-a-half times as much as people could get on the maximum amount of housing benefit.
Yet Tory Chairman Grant Shapps insists on proving himself to be an untrustworthy doubletalking deceiver by claiming in the Telegraph that the change is a “common sense reform which in the end will help house more people”.
That is not what it is intended to be. If more people are housed, the government will be out-of-pocket because of all the extra housing benefit claims that will incur. The plan is to make people who are trapped in “under-occupied” accommodation pay more towards their rent, thereby reducing their spending power and making them poorer.
This will have a knock-on effect on the national economy, of course, as the money supply is squeezed ever further. But the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have already proven themselves to be economic illiterates – look at the ‘Mandatory Work Activity’ schemes that are depriving the economy of almost £1 billion every year.
“People share rooms quite commonly – my boys share a room,” wittered the Welwyn Hatfield MP, opening up the opportunity for us all to suggest that the remaining space in his five-bedroom house is there to accommodate his many aliases, such as Michael Green and Sebastian Fox. Under these names, he operated HowToCorp and TrafficPaymaster, the former of which has been under investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority in response to a complaint that its website made misleading claims.
In The Sun, Danny Alexander (if he really wrote the article) revealed his woeful failure to understand the housing benefit rules to the world.
“Social tenants live in homes that are let at low rents to people in housing need… Under Labour’s rules, such tenants — reported to include the likes of Bob Crow, the RMT union general secretary who earns £145,000 a year — have their rent subsidised by you and me,” the article inaccurately claimed.
If Mr Alexander knew anything at all about his subject, he would know that the amount of housing benefit available to any tenant tapers off, according to the amount they earn. If Bob Crow earns £145,000 per year, he won’t receive any benefit at all.
Most ridiculous of all was his claim that, “in this month’s Budget, we announced our plan to call time on Labour’s better-off bedroom blockers.”
Bedroom blockers? Did a real person write this nonsense?
Nobody – nobody is blocking bedrooms, other than Conservatives and their allies. Let’s remember that Conservatives sold off council houses by the hundreds of thousands in the 1980s and choked off the money supply to local authorities in order to prevent any more being built. New Labour tried to get the private sector involved in affordable housing but this didn’t get off the ground because greedy privateers simply sat on their planning permissions, waiting for an administration to come along that would not enforce the requirement for affordability. Now we have a Tory-led administration that has completely failed to build any social housing to accommodate the 600,000 people affected by its Bedroom Tax policy trap.
It is Mr Alexander and his kind who are the bedroom-blockers.
Meanwhile, four more religious organisations have joined the Church of England in denouncing the Coalition’s benefit changes as “unjust”.
The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist and United Reformed Churches, and the Church of Scotland have echoed criticism by the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and 43 other Anglican bishops, claiming Coalition benefit changes target society’s most vulnerable and create a “false picture” of the poor as “lazy”.
The government – as epitomised by the rantings of Messrs Shapps and Alexander – claims the changes are fair, but the facts state otherwise. The Mirror today ran a story showing that nearly 10 million households will be hit by the Coalition’s “brutal” austerity measures, leaving families an average of £891 worse-off than last year.
That is an average figure, of course – some will lose much more, including some of the poorest in the UK.
That’s the truth of Coalition politics:
Steal as much as possible from those who can’t fight back.
Sponge as much as possible from the hopelessly overgenerous Parliamentary expenses system.
And laugh all the way to the (possibly offshore) bank.
- Grant Shapps claimed £12,647 in second-home expenses between 2005-2008; Danny Alexander “conned the Treasury out of over £100,000 by flipping his home back during the expenses scandal”, according to that paragon of journalism, the Guido Fawkes blog.