Never in the recent history of the UK has there been a government so callous, so fascist, or so self-interested, that they force the disabled and the sick to move out of their homes for the sake of saving a relatively small amount of money from the government budget.
Since the 1st April 2013, new housing benefit regulations mean that there have been reductions in benefit payments for those who are considered to be under-occupying their homes.
People who have a ‘spare bedroom’ have seen their payments cut by 14%, and those with two or more ‘spare bedrooms’ have seen their housing benefit cut by 25%.
Under the ‘size criteria’ no allowance has been made for those who require a second bedroom for carers to use, or a room to store equipment, such as hoists and other bulky items needed for their care. Neither does it take into account the needs of many disabled couples to have to use separate bedrooms because of the nature of one partner’s disabilities.
A challenge by 10 families against the government’s ‘bedroom tax’ in the High Court has been dismissed by judges, stating that the ‘bedroom tax’ does not discriminate against disabled adults in social housing.
The main challenge presented by Martin Westgate QC for the 10 applicants was that the new housing benefit regulations breached Article 14 of the European convention on human rights, which aims to prevent discrimination. Westgate also argued that government failed to comply with the Equality Act 2010.
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, which campaigns for affordable housing, told the Independent newspaper “Housing associations warned from day one that this policy was unworkable. Disabled people across the country are being forced to cut back on food and heating to pay the bedroom tax, despite the fact that many have had their homes adapted at great cost due to their disabilities. This judgment does not change the fact that the bedroom tax is a flawed and unfair policy that won’t achieve what the Government hopes it will.”
In their ruling, Lord Justice Laws, sitting with Mr Justice Cranston, said the current state of affairs “cannot be allowed to continue”.
The judges criticised the secretary of state for failing to set out other regulations concerning disabled children following a ruling made in March of this year that the ‘bedroom tax’ discriminates against children who need a bedroom each because of health problems.
The 10 applicants are now set to go to appeal.
It doesn’t matter if a disabled person is a child or an adult. If they have specific needs which means they need additional space in their home they should not be discriminated against.
The government have justified their introduction of the ‘bedroom tax’ by claiming that a ‘spare room subsidy’ has been removed from the benefit to save £500 million a year from welfare costs.
The term ‘spare room subsidy’ has been bandied around by government, but as far as we can ascertain there has never been a time when such a ‘subsidy’ existed or was introduced. Logically, if it did not exist in the first place then it cannot be ‘removed’.
The term ‘bedroom tax’ is then more appropriate – or perhaps that should be ‘spare room penalisation’, which seems a more appropriate description of the real situation.
So nothing has been ‘removed’, the rate of housing benefit has been ‘reduced’ based on new criteria the government have decided.
In amongst all the political rhetoric and smoke and mirrors, the government have effectively just made a cut and are wholly responsible for the decision and the economic effects that will have on the population.
The £500 million pound saving the government claim they will make is miniscule when compared to the obscene amount of money the government waste every year. It was recently estimated (quite accurately) by the Tax Payers Alliance that total government waste comes in at a staggering £128 BILLION every year.
There is no reason for anyone (disabled or not) to be forced out of their homes, possibly homes they have spent their entire life in, homes where generations of their family may have shared experiences together, homes where their children have become settled and form part of their social foundation, and homes where people thought they would be secure – perhaps until the end of their lives.
The government seem to be engaging in the same activities as those of the terrible and atrocious Nazi regime in the 1930s and 1940s, where those considered to be ‘unfit’ in society are persecuted and made to suffer for the good of the ‘elite’. The only difference is that so far people are not rounded up and taken to camps – although it makes one wonder how long it will be before that becomes the latest bright idea of Cameron.
This government has engaged on a conscious agenda of social engineering. Those who are poor and vulnerable who the government see as a drain on society will suffer, while those who are filthy rich and part of ‘the circle’ will continue to reap more and more rewards.
In every area of life, the government are ‘tinkering’ to gradually repress and make life extremely difficult for those who are least able to defend themselves against a powerful commercial machine.
If we stand back for a while and take a look at what is happening around us – in our towns, in our country, and around the world – we can see that the abomination of the bedroom tax is a small part of a system of oppression and control – and it is time for it to be stopped.