Livewire - November 15, 2013

Have your say

By Marjorie Nye

Social engineering is a powerful tool of this government, but as far as helping the housing shortage, it is heading for catastrophe.

It is the politics of the mad house, as some housing associations providing social housing are getting ready to demolish three bedroom homes because families cannot afford to live in them any more.

The Government policy of social housing reform, brought in this year, set rules on the ages and numbers of children that have to share bedrooms and are not allowed to have a spare bedroom, [unless the family can pay a higher rent] is coming a cropper.

Under reforms the amount of housing benefit single people or couples can receive is cut if they are living in a council or housing association home and are deemed to have a spare bedroom.

Two children under 16 of the same gender are expected to share and two children under 10 are expected to share regardless of gender.

The Government says the rules are made to maximise the share of Britain’s housing stock. They stated when they brought in these reforms the bedroom tax was aimed at cutting the housing waiting lists. Their position is perverse as it hits the poorest, who are forced into more expensive private properties while taxpayers are left watching the demolition of housing stock paid for through taxation as it becomes unaffordable.

The Government says that hard working people in Britain should not be subsidising tenants that are living in properties too large for their needs.

They are at present silent on the facts presented by the Joseph Rowntree foundation; that Britain is facing a housing shortage of more than a million homes by 2022 unless house building is increased.

It seems clear the only way to claw their way out of this nightmare is to repeal the single room subsidy and allow tenants to enjoy a home life where children can have their own bedroom.

Just like the children of ministers!

Let not the policies of a few over privileged Government ministers affect the lives of the majority of less well heeled folk.