It is my understanding, that civilised society should be judged on how it looks after its most vulnerable, rather than how big a tax break it can offer its wealthiest. Apparently the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party take the opposite view. I cannot fathom what kind of disturbed mind a person must have, to believe that threatening to kick people out of their homes, people who are already struggling horrendously, is a worthwhile or noble cause. It is cruel extremism, and nothing less.
As the Bedroom Tax takes vitally needed money out of the pockets of 400,000 families with disabled children; our wondrous government will at the same time be handing a tax cut to 8,000 millionaires, giving them an average £107,000 more. This, alongside the Welfare Uprating Bill; essentially a huge cut to Jobseeker’s Allowance, Maternity Pay, Child Benefit and Income Support; all to pay for huge tax breaks for the wealthiest, means that whilst parents of disabled children will miss meals, and be unable to heat their homes; the millionaire Cabinet will be able to go shopping for new Yachts.
Where was the moral outrage from Tory supporters who now yell “Putting your kids in two separate rooms is an insult to the tax payer!!!” before the Tory Party actually mentioned it? Feigned outrage again.
Kicking people out of their homes seems like an easy solution, to rich men pacing the corridors of Whitehall, or maybe it isn’t even a thought whilst the millionaire Prime Minister spends £680,000 of taxpayers money making Downing Street look a bit nicer inside, including refurbishing the kitchen. But to the people who are settled, who are part of the community, whose children play on the street with their friends (i’m fully aware that children leading happy lives, is not something Liberal Democrats or Tories are really too concerned about, given the horrifically increasing rates of child poverty they have created). They are destroying homes, and applying unnecessary pressure to families already struggling to cope. The Bedroom Tax can be described as nothing more than heartless.
The IFS estimated that 3.5 million children in the UK live in poverty. The also estimate that this is set to rise steeply. 14% of children in poverty go without a warm coat during winter. 26% of parents whose children are in poverty, skip meals through lack of money even though 61% of parents of children in poverty, have at least one person in work. And now, if those people also claim housing benefit to help make life even a little more bearable, they will lose more money, or be forced to move home.
As we know, the ‘Bedroom Tax’ refers to the reduction in housing benefits for anyone who has a spare room in their council house. The idea is, people will downsize to a smaller house, or have their housing benefit cut by 14 per cent for people seen to have one spare room and 25 per cent for those with two or more. The cruelty is intense.
Whilst the most vulnerable, with very little money, and living every day wondering if they’ll eat stand to lose their home or even more money, the Chancellor will be reflecting on his “tough decisions” from his 215 acre estate, given to him to live in, free of charge, in Dorneywood….. here:
Then there is ‘Baron’ Freud (I know what you’re thinking, he’s sure to be in touch with common folk). He is Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Freud is in control of Welfare Reform. All of this, is his doing. Here is where ‘Baron Freud’ lives:
– I wonder how many rooms in this massive mansion are underused. Or, how much land accompanies it, on which homes, blocks of flats, shops, businesses could be built if ‘Baron’ (seriously, he’s a Baron) Freud downsized to a property that wasn’t too big for his needs.
These are the people who run your lives. Multi-millionaires, in mansions, unsurprisingly cutting taxes for multi-millionaires, in mansions. This is Versailles. The Court of King
Louis XIV Cameron.
According to the Government’s figures, 660,000 households will be affected by the changes, and of that, 420,000 are households including someone with a disability. Low income households, who have faced a plethora of cuts since the start of this monstrous Coalition, now facing a huge cut to their welfare payments.
The point of this article is to get the Bedroom Tax down from numbers (Clegg justifies his support for this idea, with numbers), and back to individual cases. People.
ITV broadcast the story of Tony, Diann, their three year old daughter Shanice, and their 15 year old daughter Stephanie. Stephanie has 1p36 deletion syndrome, and a mental age of four. She struggles with words, and mobility. All three bedrooms in their house are currently occupied. Stephanie requires her own room, because she wakes up around 5am and can become loud and violent due to her illness. But under the rules of the ‘Bedroom Tax’, the two daughters will be required to share a bedroom, because they’re both under 16. That, or face a huge cut to their Housing benefit payment. They will be deemed to have a spare room. Tony and Diann say the cut would mean cutting down on meals.
Maria Brabiner has lived in her home since 1978. It is indescribably cruel of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to wish to see her kicked out of the security of the house she has made a home, all because of a spare room. Do you know why she now has a spare room? It is because her mother, whom lived in the room, died recently. Miss Brabiner said:
“I’m scared of what’s going to happen to me, I’m worried about whether my electric will be cut off, whether my gas will be cut off.
– This economic violence, by perhaps the two nastiest Parties we have seen in the UK, is being forced upon a woman whose mother has recently died, and whose house is more than just a house; it is a home. Worse still, it is being forced on her, by a Cabinet of multi-millionaires, with multiple houses that remain unoccupied and included acres of land that could be used to build new houses on.
Terry Avery is unable to use the left side of his body, after a severe stroke left him needing a wheelchair. He sleeps in a separate room from his wife, because of his situation. Under the ‘Bedroom Tax’, the room Terry sleeps in, is considered ‘spare’. Which means, he and his wife either move out, or not eat. Or a third choice; Karen, Terry’s wife would have to sleep on the floor, in absolutely no room. Karen says:
“With the hospital bed, lift, chest of drawers and turning space for his wheelchair there is no space for a wardrobe which is kept in my bedroom. There is not even room for me to sleep on the floor comfortably, which I would have to do as there is no room for a second bed or mattress.”
Julia Jones is 59, and has worked since she was 15. Her husband David contracted bowel cancer four years ago. Six months after having a irreversible colostomy he returned to work. Two years later, he contracted brain cancer and sadly passed away seven weeks later. Julia is now alone. During David’s illness, Julia rejected care allowance, and spent all of her time and money looking after him. They were given the home she now lives in, because it was easy for David to get around in. David’s ashes are buried in the garden, under a rose bush planted especially for his. Here is Julia’s plea to the millionaire Prime Minister:
“The most powerful men in the country imply we are scum so we must be scum.
Do you not consider that I would give everything for my husband to be alive, me to not have incapacitating pain and we could both be the hard workers we once were? I live in small 1 1/2 bed bungalow that was built for older people. It is supported elderly living so I feel safe. It could not house a family as under 55s are not allowed.
You now want to take my home from me. The home that literally made my fingers bleed cleaning as it had been neglected for 20 years when we moved here. You want me to leave my husband’s ashes, my neighbours who take me shopping and give me some form of social life? I have no family, we could not have children.
I am living without heating at present so how can I pay what I do not have to stay in my home?”
– This is the cost, when we bring it down to a human level, of the Tory and Lib Dem Bedroom Tax. The entire debate should be framed around the most vulnerable cases, those who stand to lose the most, not just in terms of money, but in living standard, and the brutality of stripping someone, a family, children away from the home that they call their own, and the community that they love.
In the Chancellor’s own Constituency, Tim Pinder, chief executive at Cheshire Peaks and Plains Housing Trust – a housing association said:
“Many of our customers are determined to stay in their homes despite the changes, but we fear this may lead to significant financial hardship. For some households this could mean having to choose between feeding their families and heating their homes.”
– It is just another ill thought out, nasty policy, from an incompetent and nasty government.
Over two thirds of those affected, have a household income of less than £150 a week. Apparently The Liberal Democrats feel that’s too much money. They should have less. 72% of those affected, have a member of the household with a disability of major health concern. 5% of those affected, have a spare bedroom for the carer who occasionally has to stay over. 9% use the spare room to store equipment for a disability. These people are all affected by the cruelty of the Bedroom Tax.
The human cost of cruel Conservative and Liberal Democrat policies, is heart breaking. It follows the narrative that has sprung to the front of political discourse since 2010; that the poor, the most vulnerable, the disabled must be stigmatised and demonised. It is a horrid tactic that takes the focus away from the people who caused the economic mess in the first place; very very wealthy individuals and friends of the Tory Party. We note this week, that Anthony Jenkins, the boss of Barclays, was paid more than 80 times the salary of the lowest paid. Whilst Jenkins makes £1,100,000 basic salary, alongside £4,400,000 share award, and £363,000 pension contribution, the lowest paid makes just £13,500 a year. Couple that, with the announcement that Barclays intends to cut 3700 jobs, and you start to see a bit of a problem.
This is what Tories do. We shouldn’t be surprised. They are a modern day nobility. The most vulnerable will always suffer under the nobility. When we elect a Conservative government, we must expect heartless policies, rising child poverty, a distinct lack of empathy, and a woefully underfunded NHS. That’s just what Conservatives do. So Progressives must focus their anger at the Liberal Democrats. It is shameful for a ‘progressive’ party to have so utterly abused the votes of those who voted Lib Dem in 2010 by supporting policies that I would take a confident bet that less than 1% of Lib Dem voters would ever have supported. They cannot be allowed to forget the scale of the betrayal they have inflicted. This week really does sum up exactly what the Liberal Democrat Party has become, the moment Nick Clegg showed vigorous support for the Bedroom Tax.
For a party that apparently bases itself on getting government out of the lives of the individual; in a few months we’ve had Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke wishing to tell Welfare claimants where they can spend their money (whilst himself, claiming tax payer funded expenses to pay for his licence fee, a bunch of Tory MPs telling you that you don’t deserve the same Rights as them if you happen to be gay and now a Tory coming into your home, checking who’s in the bedrooms, forcing your disabled partner with all his/her equipment to move back to one room with you, and telling you to pack up and move out if you dislike it. These people thrive on government interference. These are very wealthy, very privileged people and with that, has come the most cruel government the UK has seen in a very long time. When we speak of the nasty party, we must include the Liberal Democrats in that.