This is a letter from SherryWaldon in response to Swindon South MP Robert Buckland’s article in the Swindon Advertiser
Dear Robert Buckland
I have read the column which you wrote in the Advertiser last week on the Bedroom Tax and also your comment in today’s Adver, and, once again, I marvel at how ideology can blot out common humanity and rational thinking..
The housing shortage in this country is mainly caused by successive governments failing to provide sufficient houses for its increasing population; and especially for its lower paid citizens – fuelled by Mrs Thatcher’s Right to Buy and the cessation of Council House building. So private landlords could have a wonderful time pushing up their rents and the ‘market value’ of houses. That’s what the housing market is all about.
What seems to have been lost sight of – by you and your Government – is that houses are not just units of utility: they are homes Most people move through their lives in various stages – single, then a couple, then a family with children, then a couple again and lastly as single. Since social housing has always been a scarce resource, new council tenants are allocated, if possible, the type of council house or flat that suits their ‘need’ at the time they move in. At that time, it is a housing unit. when they move in it becomes a home, and their ‘need’ encompasses a myriad of social elements. If their family increases and a larger property becomes available they move into a larger council home.
What is new with your lot, is that it is now decreed that the family home cannot be retained and such couples or single tenants must move again – but only those on Housing Benefit. If they are on HB they are already having a struggle to make ends meet and now you wish to deprive them of their home and the security it provides in a settled environment, a community and friends they know, and, most important, in many cases the ability to have children and grandchildren to visit. Why is their ‘need’ any less than social housing tenants who are not on benefit, or on owners or private tenants who have spare rooms?
You say “People who pay for their homes may like another bedroom but can’t afford it.” That is a choice they can make, depending on what they mean by “afford”. People on HB have far less choice as to how to manage scarce resources, and they will have even less after today.
In today’s Adver there is also an article on “Fears as benefits changes kick in” which correctly charts some of the consequences of this inhuman policy. It is going to destroy settled communities, many people’s lives, and hugely increase the health and welfare bills for successive governments.
Finally, I am a pensioner, now on HB, having lived here in my family home for 48 years and paying full rent except for the last 3 years. Is my ‘need’ any greater than the woman down the road who has brought up her family in what has been her family home for 30 years? She is a young grandmother (there are a lot of them around these days!). She has a 3-bedroom house and will have to pay about £25 extra rent a week on Jobseekers Allowance. And she is one of many seeking a job when there aren’t enough jobs available, and not enough one-bedroom flats available So why did your government exempt pensioners? Not for humanitarian reasons. Purely a political decision, I would think.
No doubt you are enjoying your Easter break. Many people today will not.
There are going to be several thousand households adversely by this ideologically driven decision by the Conservative Party in Swindon alone.
A quote from “Another Angry Voice” attributed to the film director Ken Loach describes the situation perfectly:- “Judged by its own stated goals, government [austerity] policy isn’t working – borrowing will be around £61.5bn higher than planned. Of course the reality is that austerity policies are actually designed to dismantle the welfare state, bring down wages and fully marketise the economy, destroying all the social and economic gains of ordinary people since the second world war. So from the government point of view the policies are working.”
Proof as if it’s needed, that all the worst aspects of Thatcherism are alive and well, and are being actively supported by the “Con-Dem” Coalition. Both these parties have scored a massive political own goal with their joint policies.
The annual amount of taxes being avoided by the business community, the Conservative Party’s greatest supporters is estimated to be £120bn by the Tax Justice Network, while the amount of benefits overpaid due to fraud is estimated by the DWP to be £1.2bn.
Yet strangely the government seems to be putting much more effort into catching benefit fraudsters than those who are in effect defrauding the entire nation, and who are depriving us all of more than 100 times the amount. Without supporting benefit fraud or any other criminal activity, I have to wonder why this is so? But there again, in the late 1980’s an Inland Revenue department specialising in “city tax avoidance” was closed down by Mrs Thatcher, on the grounds that it was not “cost effective”. This department cost around £2m to run and only recovered a mere £2bn in avoided taxes annually….. Draw your own conclusions, I have……
I dont agree wiv people that can work that do scam the DWP but that is unfair on people that do struggle as a private paid company set impossible demands as seen on channel4 dispatches ,so a genuine claimer is unfairly examained not evrybody wants to b on benefits to most gen claimers if given a choice i no wot id choose (not evrybody is as like the people shown on jez kyle) If we can we sud b able to sack half or most MP’S as i dont think they do much as in a job Most people working n living in london Dont get a 2nd home out of the area , If an mp choices that job then it makes sence there family wud move there , If that 2nd home paid by the tax payer id state anything on it evry mp wudt av the 2nd HOME ,afterall its the mp’s dosnt matter wot party theyv run the cuntry in to the state its in YET THEY NEVA SEEM 2 SUFFER even wen its down 2 evry pm sum more then others , DO WE NEED THEM REALLY most just slag each other off n make sure they double claim expencices