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PMQs: Ed Miliband’s ‘bedroom tax’ attacks ignore the facts

6 February 2013

At a particularly unedifying PMQs today, one Labour MP even suggested that ministers need cognitive behavioural therapy. The cause of all this rancour: the so-called ‘bedroom tax’.

Now, the ‘bedroom tax’ is not actually a tax. Rather, it is a reduction in the amount of housing benefit paid to those who — according to the local authority — have spare capacity in their homes. If the Labour leadership genuinely does not grasp this distinction, then this country is in worse trouble than we thought.

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Ed Miliband peppered Cameron with questions about difficult cases. It was an effective debating tactic as there was little Cameron could say without knowing all the details. Miliband also had one biting one-liner, joking that Cameron shouldn’t get so ‘het up as he has nearly half his parliamentary party behind him’. The jibe drew a few wry smiles from the Tory benches.

But, overall, I suspect that the Tories will be happy to fight on welfare. Labour’s refusal to back the benefit cap has made them vulnerable on this issue.

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Show comments
  • Alan Ji

    Is there also to be a “a reduction in the amount of”
    Council Tax
    “benefit paid to those who …… have spare capacity in their homes”
    and are Owner Occupiers?
    There isn’t! Why aren’t I surprised?

  • Alan Ji

    ” a reduction in the amount of housing benefit paid to those who — according to the local authority — have spare capacity in their homes.”
    I don’t know where you get that one from. The spare capacity criteria have been specified by the government, and they won’t always align with a Council’s policy for creating tenancies or deciding whether or not successors to tenancies should be expected to move to smaller accommodation.
    A kind of case in point would be widows and widowers who have not reached pensionable age. Most Councils will allow them to remain in the former marital home. But if they haven’t reached pensionable age…

  • Lynda Charters

    Repeal the Welfare Reform Act 2012

    Responsible department: Department for Work and Pensions

    We want Parliament to repeal the Welfare Reform Act of 2012.

    The Act vindictively targets all benefit claimants disproportionately causing millions of people financial hardship, poverty and at risk of starvation and homelessness.

    The Bedroom Tax, the abolition of Disability Living Allowance, changes to Social Fund, ending of Council Tax Benefit, draconian sanctions on those deemed to have not actively sought work and more are all measures that have and will cause severe hardship.

    The Act, in particularly targets sick and disabled people causing them immense hardship and unnecessary suffering.

  • Lynda Charters

    I vote we vote OUT the Conservatives! They have caused widespread hardship and misery to the people who are the most hard up and miserable! Bedroom Tax, benefits caps, disability living allowance scrapped – what next? Mass Genocide to everyone who doesn’t work or is very sick or disabled? Our grandfathers fought against this very thing!

  • Debbie Price

    Quite CLEARLY, this issue NEEDS further debate in the House of commons. The amount of time spent on it was an absolute joke!! thousands of people have written to Ed Miliband. Their voices are NOT being heard. People are in desperate situations. People have already committed suicide and there will be many more. THIS government have blood on their hands. I’ve written to Cameron and Clegg. They are not interested. They don’t even read the letters. They get passed to the DWP!!

    I am 56. I am Disabled. I am 95% bed bound. I also have Bipolar. With a history of self harm and suicide attempts. My House has been adapted. I have carers that come in daily. I pay towards that.

    I have lived in my 3 bed HA HOME for over 21 years. Have spent a lot of money on it and my garden, over the years. I have an assured tenancy. I would lose that if I moved. I would also lose the support of my neighbours, who do my banking etc., for me.
    I also have pets. If I was ‘stuck in a 1 bed flat’. What would I do with them?? Have them put to sleep?? They are my reason to wake up in the morning. My companions. My life. If I had to do that then I would be folllowing them in a pine box!
    There is NO support for people with mental health problems.
    There are NO, 1 bed ADAPTED Bungalows for me to move to.
    I could never cope with moving. I couldn’t even pack a box.I can’t afford to move.
    I pay a cleaner. A handyman. a decorator. And have always taken pride in my HOME.
    Now, I ‘m told I have to pay over, £28 a week. I may need one of my bedrooms for an overnight carer. My Grandson comes to stay. My youngest, in his last year of Uni.
    What am I meant to do?? I NEED to stay in my home. Even though you think, I ‘don’t deserve to’. I cannot take in a Lodger. I have to keep in my routine. I could never COPE with a stranger living here. I would be putting myself at risk. I could be abused. Attacked. Stolen from. Etc., etc.
    The DHP fund. a high critea to get it in the first place! and is only short term. When, ‘the pot, runs dry’. Then what?? Back to sqaure one!
    And if you’ve had a grant for adaptations and move within 5 years. You have to pay the money back. HOW???
    The word, ‘SIGNIFICANTLY’ adapted, has been banded about. But NO ONE actually knows what that means???? Not even the DWP. And what about the rest of us then?? Do we not count?? NO, of course we don’t!! All this policy is doing is attacking the poorest and most vunerable of ‘our society’. Creating, an, ‘them and us’ culture. Is it our fault that Thatcher sold off loads of council housing? That, not enough social housing has been built? Especialled 1 bed adapted bungalows?? NO. WHY? Because they can’t get enough rent for them!!
    This Government, waste money, left, right and centre. And look at what they earn and their expences! The list go’s on. Where they could save money. instead of attacking us.

  • Debbie Price

    Thank you, Alyzande for being brave enough to share your story. It not easy to put your private details out there for people to read…….There are thousands of people who are going to be affected by this, ‘BEDROOM TAX’. All with different stories and circumstances. I can’t believe the ignorance of some of the comments that have been left. I wonder how ‘these people’ would cope, if they were in the same circumstances?? There but for the grace of God, go I. Peoples circumstances can change in the blink of an eye. You could lose your job. Become Disabled. Lose your home. Etc.

    How would you like it then if people attacked you for your circumstances, which are NOT your fault???
    Maybe you should think much more deaply???

  • Teresa Green

    I feel for you Alyzande. My story is not as harrowing as yours.
    I was placed in a 2 bed 1st floor flat 13 years ago (as a single person) due to ill health & the accommodation I was then in being totally unsuitable. If I didn’t take what was offered, I would have been placed at the bottom of the housing list. I was able to pay rent and council tax fully once an operation made me better. I have created a home from a tatty flat, built up a lovely community and now after a couple of redundancies run a small business with clients local to me. The box room which is too small to legally take a lodger, is used to store paperwork & used at times in connection with the business. I am now suffering with ill health again, and although I am still working as much as I can, I am on a meagre wage and claim some help. I now have to pay or move. There are no 1 bed properties locally to me in social housing for me to keep my business going. If I could move into privately rented accommodation (which is extremely difficult, as most private landlords will not take people in receipt of benefits), I would lose my business and cost the government an extra £20 in rent. This has been an ill thought out ‘tax’ on the poorest and most vulnerable. To those of you who think this is fair, I hope you never lose your job or become ill.

  • Alex Milne

    Wow. A small minded paper for small minded people. Well done to everyone that opened up their hearts and souls to show the people the truth about this bully tax/benefit cut

  • Dominic Hills

    i think that the government want to free up council houses in favoured areas and this a way to get round the long term tenants rights.

  • Sue Gates

    Thank you so much for sharing your story Alyzande. You are a brave and dedicated Mum and a very hard working member of society. It is the rumours in the press that all of us who have to live on benefits are scroungers. That we do nothing but sit and watch our plasma tvs and drink and take drugs all day long, that makes those who work turn against those who are not able to. Cameron and the government bang on about lifestyle choices I am sure you and your sons would not chose the lifestyle you are having to live. My husband also didn’t chose his lifestyle, he is disabled following surgery and has progressed to now needing to use a wheelchair when out. He struggles every day to do things that men his age can do without a second thought. He has to take a raft of prescription drugs to be able to move and some at night to be able to sleep. He is a patient gentle person and not able to stand up for himself easily. At our age (56) we know that this is going to be o, ngoing for the rest of our lives. Low income, daily severe pain for my husband, hoping that if things breakdown or wear out that we have managed to save enough to replace them. This so called ‘Bedroom Tax’ and the Council tax payments will mean we have less to save for that rainy day, and those days seem to come quicker just lately. I was told by our council that we can have a ground floor one bedroom flat and that they would convert it if necessary with a walk in shower for my husband. Our HOME is already adapted with stair lift, grab rails and walk in shower which cost a small fortune a few years ago. That was after 6 years of asking. I dread to think how long it would be before a new place was converted, he certainly cant stand up having a wash at the sink. It is supposed to be 2013 not 1813. I sincerely hope that for all of us the government have a change of policy. Best wishes to you and your sons and I hope you are successful in keeping your home.

  • janet varley

    Do you remember when you were a kid and you felt safe when your mom and dad were there? Those days are gone, ….now I am 59 and soon to be homeless, disabled too..but that doesn’t matter does it? No..why would anyone care anyway

  • Julia Jones

    Well said. All those in favour of this penalty – when you are made redundant, become disabled or are sick this could affect you. You will get £70 pw if you are single and then have than cut by 25% in many cases. You will then have to pay an element of council tax. Could you live on that?

  • Martyn Gomm

    The Really Really depressing thing about this whole sorry affair is that Labour started this Vendetta on the Poor,Sick and Disabled when they first employed ATOS! I see no future for US the most vulnerable people in the UK under either of the big two parties! Life in the UK is now truly unbearable. Milliband is not the man to restore any faith in Socialism thats for sure

  • Alyzande Renard

    Unfortunately, whichever name you give this change, it will significantly harm my family.

    You may consider benefits as a charitable gift. However, without this gift our family would be dead. I pay my taxes and insurance as every other citizen, and deserve to be treated humanely.

    My children’s bedrooms are not spare. Both of them are in use. They are too small to be shared. They are 9′ x 5′. To put that into perspective, it is enough for a bed, and chest of drawers, and space to open the door.

    My son has autism. When an autistic person’s personal space is invaded, the result is an autistic meltdown (see “Rainman”) For my son, this is a violent and dangerous outburst. If his bedroom space was shared, he would injure himself, the furniture, and his brother. He cannot use a bunkbed. He cannot share with a teenage brother. He cannot share a room due to his disability.

    I cannot work, I am an unpaid carer for my son, saving the state hundreds of thousands of pounds in nursing and social work. Nevertheless, I do part time self employed work after he has gone to sleep. My working hours are between 112-140 per week. I cannot work any more, I cannot earn any more.

    I cannot take in a lodger. The bedrooms are too small to legally let due to HMO laws.There are no lodgers who would pay money for an illegally small room, willing to be woken by violent destructive and dangerous rages in the night, and happy to step over or in the hygiene problems my son has in the toilet every 1 in 4 visits.

    I cannot move. There are no 2 bedroom houses in the social sector. There are no houses near my son’s school where he needs to attend due to disability. There are some 2 bed houses, but these are private and will cost the state TWICE that of my tiny 3 bed house. I would also lose years of “right to buy”.

    I cannot pay. We already choose between heat and eat. Today I have internet. Some days I do not, due to money. Today I have benefits that allow me provide a minimal life for my family. Previously, I have been without benefits. I know how to make a meal for a family of 4 for under 50p. We are in official fuel poverty. I will not bore you with more poverty sob stories. I am terrified of being that poor again, of having to bake my own unleavened bread again with 55p flour, and lick the tomato sauce from the empty tin of value beans.

    Essentially, I am being charged an extra £693 a year for a 9′ x 5′ space for a disabled child, because the government know that I cannot do anything about it.

    We are being charged bedroom tax, by whichever name you want to call it, because the private rent costs are out of control and they do not or will not control the amount of housing benefit they spend on private housing benefit. Private housing benefit goes straight to landlords, and is a Landlord Subsidy. I am being charged for this landlord subsidy.

    I am being charged for the £40,000 Millionaire grant, the name I give to the changes for millionaire tax exemption.

    I am being charged for the tax avoidance of big name companies. I am being charged because I am vulnerable and have no choice and cannot stick up for myself. This is why I need *you* to stick up for me.

    Disability is not a lifestyle choice.

    • Caroline Hudson

      Thankyou Alyzande for sharing your unfortunate story with everyone.The Bedroom tax is causing untold misery for everyone andI hope the govt will see sense and scrap the whole thing.I know this must have been hard for you to put down all your feeling’s but it caught my eye.To see the words expressing what your life is all about it makes me feel humble.It’s well written and explains all the problems you are going through.Well done for writing such a powerful extract of what life will be like for you and many others.Thankyou x

      • Someone

        Why should anyone listen to the economic reckonings of people who either A) don’t understand the distinction between an increase in taxation versus a decrease in benefits or B) Are willing to lie about the distinction because it makes their argument sound better?

        • cbinTH

          She’s not speaking of ‘economic reckonings’, but of the impacy on individual people. Why should we take seriously the objections of Someone who dorsn’t understand this distinction?

    • Angus Gulliver

      Thank you for sharing. As I see it, the problem with the ‘bedroom tax’ is that to those of us who have never known life with the aid of benefits it looks like a good idea. The newspapers are telling different stories to yours, of people on welfare living in large houses at taxpayers’ expense. It is vital that people such as yourself broadcast your stories. What might have started out as a good idea has been implemented so badly that your disabled son’s bedroom is somehow classed as “spare” when there is literally no possibility for your two sons to share and no other suitable accommodation available.

      Your situation sounds as if you are struggling to live an honest and quite frugal life, working when you can in a difficult situation that you did not choose.

    • Deb Davis

      Alyzande, I’m hearing you; I too have a child with a disability. Specialised childcare for such children is virtually non existant, locally to you, forget it. Most special needs children need familiarity, you cant pack them off to just anyone; and yet parents like us are still portrayed as scroungers, just as are the most vulnerable in society. The demonizing of the poor, the vulnerable, its the dirtiest stunt a Government could pull… and its intentional. And its working judging by some comments here.
      Poor health can strike anyone, at anytime.. We once had a Welfare State to look after people in need. And YES there really are genuine people in need out there; being poor, disabled or vulnerable isn’t a life choice. Its a devastating reality, these people live on the poverty line.
      Its become more than apparent, even in the media now; that this vile cruel attack on the vulnerable has NOT been well thought out economically; how can we trust a Government who arent economically intelligent? I’m sure ‘economics’ is in the PM’s job description, yet the PM hasnt a clue on the economic implications of this abhorant policy.

  • Radford_NG

    Of cause he knows the distinction…..this is political rhetoric…….and it is not according to the local authority:it’s on the terms set set by an increasingly neo-euro-communist administration.

  • HooksLaw

    The media were happy to talk about a granny tax which was not a tax – because it was a nice easy way to drum up copy, so why blame Miiband for playing the press at their own game.
    You need to fight your own corner in your own industry Mr Forsyth.

  • Teddy Groves

    Is the author saying that the government suddenly taking a large proportion of lots of poor peoples’ money is ok because technically it’s not a tax? Otherwise what’s the point in the hair-splitting?

    • Jer

      It’s not their money – have you missed the point entirely?

      • BenM_Kent

        It is their money.

        • Jer

          Do you not understand the difference between charity (public or private) and entitlement?

    • starfish

      IT ISN’T THEIR MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      It is money that the vanishingly small number of taxpayers in this country donate to those less fortunate than themselves to enable them to get basic (not palatial) housing

      Not to enable them to live with 2 or 3 spare rooms in their houses – or indulge is some subletting

      This policy is meant to encourage them to downsize and to bring them into line with the rules that apply to recipients of housing benefits who are in privately-reneted housing

      • HooksLaw

        All as you say. Benefit recipients need to realise that what they get is a benefit, a charity, based on an ability to pay. They can than labour for that ability to pay being traduced.

      • Teddy Groves

        You just responded to a question about hairsplitting over the definition of tax by splitting hairs over the definition of ownership. Feel free to explain how either semantic point is relevant to whether this measure is a good idea.

        See here for why this measure is a lot more harmful than its private-rental counterpart.

      • margaret benjamin

        Did anyone tell Cameron first build these one bedroom flats! It is impossible to find one bedroom flats they really are few in number local councils don’t have an alternative to offer someone who wants to downsize housing really is a problem So to move to a one bedroom sounds a good idea in reality its nigh impossible anything available is snapped up bit like gold dust Don’t think people living in council property view that spare bedroom as a luxury! they cannot take in lodgers rent the room out. That spare room was not a problem last year the reason the local councils put people into 2bed/ is because that’s all they have the very few one beds are given to pensioners.

        • starfish

          ‘Imposssible to find’
          Why not house share then?
          Is it really so difficult to see the wider benefits to people currently living in cramped housing?

          • margaret benjamin

            Have you thought that through! two one parent families under one roof. that may work for a handful providing the children don’t need separate bedrooms,this is not a couple who work and share to save on the bills in a leafy suburb and no children or pets.It does not solve the problem people do need a bit of space. Maybe we should go back to the days when their was a workhouse .

      • Sam Edwards

        If and when any working taxpayer loses their job, they might find themselves in exactly the same boat. It’s all very well to say ‘that will never happen to me’ however, nothing is guaranteed while economic growth is uncertain.

        I am a benefit claimant facing the punitive charge for having a spare room. I am not thinking about my entitlement to benefit, I am thinking about how I will survive with less to go around. Moving to a smaller place is possible, if I ignore the costs of moving (which I will not be able to pay right now) and the potentially higher housing benefit cost if there are no one-beds in social housing. After all, what does the government accomplish other than moving pieces around on its housing chess board if it ends up paying more to private landlords?

        I’m all for getting families out of overcrowded accommodation so long as it is done in a way that is sustainable given the government’s need to -reduce- the housing benefit expenditure, not inflate it. Bring pressure to bear on private landlords to make their rents competitive with social housing. Develop more social housing of the right size. Look at ways of redeveloping existing stock, if possible.

      • Martyn Gomm

        This policy is not meant to encourage “them” to downsize at all this Evil Regime knows there is not enough smaller properties for “them” to move to! It’s a Benefit cut! PURE AND SIMPLE! Tell me why if you’ve lived in your HOME for years and you fall on hard times you should be bullied because of circumstances beyond your control? people have paid into this it’s called social security! This is not black and white it’s fifty shades of grey to use someones elses term!

  • Steve R

    Of course Labour understand the distinction – and because they do, what’s so deplorable is that they assume the electorate don’t understand the difference between a benefit cut and a tax rise, which is why each proposed change to a benefit is spun as a “tax” – so to perpetuate and cement the preception that the sole objective of Gov’t policies is “tax” increases for the poor, and tax “cuts” for millionaires.

    This cynical, systematic (they’re all reading from the same “lines to
    take” script) and relentless distortion of facts exemplifies why the
    current opposition aren’t fit to govern – if they’d focus less on generating
    mis-information and more on policy formulation, then we might get an idea of
    what they would do differently – but I guess we already know the answer to that
    is “nothing” which, of course, will be spun as “because of the
    mess we’ve inherited from the coalition”. This is party politics at its
    very worst.

    I suppose some will argue that a benefit reduction is a “tax” because
    it has the effect of taking “income” from the recipient – but this
    line of logic presumes that the benefit payments are “income” just as
    wage / salary payments are. The truly alarming extension of this presumption is
    that it’s right to take income from (i.e., tax) those earning above a defined
    level and pay it to those earning below a defined level. Those in receipt of
    benefit “income” will, perfectly sensibly, factor this into their
    spending so that, over time, any proposal to reduce the benefit is perceived as
    a “tax” on the “income” of the recipient – with potentially
    bad consequences, given that their spending commitments now depend on continued
    payment of the before-reduction sum of benefit.

    So come on Her Majesty’s Opposition – give us a hint that you deserve this
    title, and the respect that should with it – put an honest, straightforward
    proposition to the electorate – what you propose is that those above the income
    dividing line will have a ceiling applied to their prosperity aspirations, via
    the permanent transfer of their income (in re-distributed taxes) to those below
    the income dividing line – and we propose this because it’s fair and socially

    The tricky thing about doing this, however, is that the response the electorate
    would make to such a clearly-stated proposition is already known- hence the
    systematic obfuscation, spin and mis-representation of the facts, as clarity,
    honesty and tranparency won’t achieve the single objective – regaining power,
    whatever it takes.

    • HooksLaw

      Even some councils explaining the change call it a tax. Dudley for one. Dudley is labour controlled.

      • Barbara Stevens

        And don’t the people of Dudley know it. £400,000 on a referendum to see what if people would like a council tax rise. Again Labour’s waste with others money.

  • White lies

    When will Miliband accept responsibility for his collaboration with Tony Blair in the formulation of the dodgy dossier?

    • DWWolds

      And his collaboration with Gordon Brown over an economic policy that landed us with the mass of problems we now face.

      • telemachus

        Or accept our congratulations for helping Gordon to save the world banks and engineer a return to growth (which Osborne choked)

        • Tony Quintus

          False growth funded by massive public borrowing leaving us with a structural defecit equal to 25% of government spending.

  • Colonel Mustard

    10p tax. Gordon Brown. Labour. Miliband, protégé of. Doubling the tax burden of the poorest paid workers in society. Do as they say not as they do. Hypocrites. Dissemblers.

    • jack mustard

      I admire your ongoing campaign for honesty on the part of our politicians. Here’s a few Cameron lies for you to rail against: (i) “Any cabinet
      minister … who comes to me and says ‘Here are my plans’ and they involve
      frontline reductions, they’ll be sent straight back to their department to go
      away and think again”; (ii) “Our plans involve
      cutting wasteful spending … our plans don’t involve an increase in VAT”;
      (iii) “We will stop top-down
      reorganisations of the NHS”; (iv) “we will guarantee that health
      spending increases in real terms”; (v) “I wouldn’t change
      child benefit, I wouldn’t means test it, I don’t think that’s a good idea”;
      (vi) “Ed
      Balls keeps saying that we are committed to scrapping EMA. I have never said
      this. We won’t.”; (vii) “a bigger army for a safer Britain”

      • Colonel Mustard

        How about balancing that with some Labour lies? Or are you just another paid Labour party troll?

        • jack mustard

          You had already attempted to list some Labour lies. Just providing some balance, Dad.

          • Colonel Mustard

            I listed one and it was no attempt. You are no son of mine, creep. Get your own pseudonym and make your own comments. I detest creepy, stalking sickos like you.

            • jack mustard

              My pseudonym is my business. Yours, however, is pointless – everyone knows you are Nicholas…

              • Colonel Mustard

                Even creepier.

      • HooksLaw

        In 2007 Liam Fox talked about a ‘bigger army for a safer Britain’. Remind me what happened in 2008 – oh yes the financial crash. Sadly no one in 2007 realised what a massive over-commitment and total mess labour had made to the defence budget. Nor that the 2 giant carriers and their exotic planes could not be cancelled .

        • Tony Quintus

          Don’t forget the extra millions so they could be assembled in scotland, or the extra billion so Gordon could push the cost onto another balance sheet.
          Or the fact that the entire 1997 SDR (which was actually a pretty well thought out document) was never funded properly when Brown was chancellor.

  • Alison Murphy

    but its fine for mps to take as much as they possibly can for their own personal gain isnt it. i mean destitue the most vunerable ruin lives but line their own pockets thats fine.

    • HooksLaw

      No it is not fine. And MPs do not. They get paid expenses to cover associated costs. You and others may not like it but its true.
      Some MPs broke the law and are in jail.

  • Harold Angryperson

    Miliband needs to be careful taunting Cameron about having the backing of nearly half his parliamentary party – or has he forgotten the circumstances of his own election as party leader?,_2010#Results

    • Russell

      Cameron should have reminded the pillock Miliband that he had almost the total support of the Labour MP’s!

    • George_Arseborne

      That gone. He is very comfortable and has unite his Party. For Cameron he is trying to control his divided Party rather than taking on issues concerning the nstion. Where has EU referendum unifying strategy gone? More coup d’etat within the party

  • Andy B

    So a bit like describing the complexity of government borrowing as the ‘nations credit card’ then ?

    • starfish

      No, not at all

      Credit cards concern debt and interest so not a bad analogy, especially as most would recognise running up credit card bills as A Bad Thing in comparison to other ways of financing expenditure

      Labour’s policy of paying off credit cards bills with more credit card debts might be seen as unwise too

  • NiceTeaParty

    Yet again another good Tory idea hits the buffers.

    With hundreds of thousands of people locked into tenancies they can not now pay for

    With thousands chasing the odd downsized accommodation available

    With a million odd families now completely hostile to the government for messing up their budgets and security

    Could have been handled better.

    By a government that needs to learn that a good policy idea does not automatically translate into a workable reality.

  • dalai guevara

    Explain it to me – if I had a council house (I don’t) and I had a spare room or two (I do), would I be able to rent these out legally as if it was my asset? If not, then the extra space is of no monetary value, so should not be penalised.

    But the real point is this: do we have a goverment estimate on what they expect this will save? No? So you are just being difficult then, aren’t you.

    • helicoil

      So you think it’s right that a husband and wife should live in a council property with 4 bedrooms 3 of which they don’t use and new families are cooped up in 1 bed flats?

      • George_Arseborne

        What do you suggest then? Couple down size eh? How much will the government save? How many such couples are there?

        • Colonel Mustard

          Hello Mr Al Fayed. I bet you have plenty of rooms in your houses. How about accommodating some of the influx of new foreigners – since you are so keen on immigration?

          • George_Arseborne

            Immigration? How is it related?

            • Colonel Mustard

              Spare rooms will soon be needed.

  • Chris lancashire

    Miliband picked the wrong topic as he is on the wrong side of the argument. And the repeated “I have a letter here from Diane ..” was just pathetic. Bad strategy, awful tactics.

    • telemachus

      He hit a target that goes to the concern of the opposition against the uncaring Tories
      All yo have to do is look at Ed Balls face and understand who cares

      • Chris lancashire

        Yes, I know, looks like he’s just had a suppository.

        • telemachus


          • Span Ows

            gravy t’as

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