BEDROOM TAX A TORY ATTACK.
From Up here in “North Britain”, it’s easy to look down at the actions of the condem government in Westminster and feel grateful that though things might be grim up here, the tory attacks will have no impact on our lives. However the benefit slashes that are being pushed through will have a significant impact on not only those who depend on benefits but the 470,000 Scottish households that depend on housing benefit to keep a roof over their heads. The psychological softening up means that we believe the hype that there are thousands of families living rent free in luxury which the rest of us can only dream about. As usual this is just an example of tory spin from their own warped perspective presenting justification for the return to the days when having a roof over your head was not a basic right.
The Scottish government statistics of 2010 present a more realistic portrayal of the households who receive housing benefit. By far the largest group are the over 65s. Out of the single group sixty five percent do not have children. 42,000 or ten percent of the group are in work. While offering no support they raise concerns that the most vulnerable in our society will be the most affected. In April of next year, housing benefit which is paid directly to the landlord will be replaced by Local Housing Allowance. It will be the duty of the tenant to pay their landlord. This in parallel to cuts to services may mean that those with learning difficulties and other vulnerable groups may be unable to work out their budgets and may face eviction. Social Housing Providers have also highlighted the impact the loss of revenue may have on them. Keith Brown the housing minister estimates that there will be a cut of 5.4 million pounds to the Scottish economy through cuts of benefit to the lowest income families.
The so called bedroom tax will affect all our communities. People seen to under occupy their home with one bedroom will receive a cut to benefit of fourteen percent while for two or more bedrooms will see a rise of twenty five percent which they e will have to find from their own income. Lord Freud kindly suggested that people move to a smaller home or take in a lodger This shows how out of touch these people are with the reality of day to day life. For many including the elderly and the disabled it may mean a move from the community they have been a part of with no supports. The reality too is there is a shortage of suitable one bedroom houses with most social landlords building two bedroom properties. Even if they wished too, people might not be able to find a smaller house. It’s not the comfy picture of granny moving from her too big family house to a cosy retirement flat the hard facts are there are so few flats where people want to live.
The Tories believe market forces will save the day. Landlords will reduce rents due to the limited income of potential tenants. Like you I do not believe in such a benevolent market force, that’s why we are socialists! Charities such as Shelter are worried that Landlords interested in profit alone will find others not dependent on housing benefit leaving housing options in the most expensive areas where there are jobs available, only for the few who can afford hefty deposits and rents. We all can look back at the days of slum landlords. Those days are not ancient history but only a couple of generations passed, and it is not too difficult to see the return to those living conditions again. It’s our job to shout about these changes which are coming our way in a few months and support those facing evictions who may be our neighbours or ourselves. It is not too late comrades and I believe it is our duty to be there and offer support.