LETTER: Bedroom tax is no answer to the ‘housing crisis’

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As the spectre of the new bedroom tax looms is there still time for common sense to prevail?

No doubt the standpoint of the present Con-Dem Government and unfortunately most of the Labour Party. is that the bedroom tax will not only cut public expenditure, but will encourage occupants who are under occupying properties to move and therefore free up much-needed family accommodation.

It would be hard to argue against such sentiments.

Nonetheless, on closer inspection of the housing industry we will find people are not under occupying by choice but by circumstance so why should they be penalised because of a housing crisis they have not caused. Indeed, if anyone should be penalised it should be those who have helped to create the housing crisis and responsibility for that falls squarely on the shoulders of Parliament.

However, in Parliament we have recently seen a 50% increase in the home allowances to MPs. Many MPs now claim over £1,450 a month for their accommodation.

This is by far in excess of other state-funded accommodation. Would it not be correct to expect MPs (with a second home because they have to be near London) to be funded for one bedroom and one bedroom only.

On further inspection of the bedroom tax we will find it is a national housing policy to sort out a housing crisis in the capital.

While housing policy is so London centred there will always be a housing crisis. In many of the industrial towns in the north of England the only housing crisis is that there are too many empty properties.

There is also an over abundance of two-bedroomed terraced accommodation.

Many of these terraced houses are occupied by single people, the rents are low, on average £350 p.c.m., so even if tenants are on benefits there is no great drain on public resources.

In fact, if the single people were forced to share accommodation this would lead to even more empty homes. Moreover, if they were forced out because they cannot afford the rent the added social cost of homelessness would by far outweigh the cost of keeping them in their accommodation.