Coffee House

Tory MPs lobby David Cameron on the ‘bedroom tax’

4 March 2013

Liam Byrne launched Labour’s campaign on the ‘bedroom tax’ today, while Helen Goodman, who was the Labour minister responsible for the party’s own attempt at cutting the housing benefit bill when in government, raised the cut at Education Questions today. Tory MPs groaned a little. Michael Gove pounded the despatch box, and shouted ‘this is not a tax!’ and Labour MPs groaned back.

But behind the scenes, I understand that far from groaning, Conservative MPs have been lobbying the Prime Minister on this particular cut, which comes into effect on 1 April. At a Downing Street lunch for a number of Conservative MPs recently, David Cameron received a bit of a bashing from those worried about a number of specific problems with the cut which relate to carers, armed forces families and couples whose disabilities mean they cannot share a bedroom.

James wrote about these lunches at the weekend, explaining that they’re part of the Tory leadership’s attempt to assuage their own MPs’ fears and make them feel a little more loved. But those at the lunch were a little cheesed off by the PM’s response, which was to say that he hadn’t had such problems raised by his own constituents. One grumbled that Witney might not be quite the same as the areas represented by Cameron’s colleagues. It’s not clear whether the lunch made much of a difference to the feeling among backbenchers that they’re not being listened to by their leaders.

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  • petermorris

    David Camoron has stated at Prime Minister’s Questions that he will deal with any problems with the bedroom tax on an individual case basis. So he should be kept busy with the half a million or so cases where there are problems. Just send any complaints individually to the Prime Minister’s office or constituency office.

  • Jules

    This ‘bedroom tax’ is seriously bad policy and is going to hurt a lot of genuine people. The Tory party don’t realise but this could be as bad as the poll tax.

  • P Windsor

    Its not a tax but its forcing people out of their homes and into smaller homes that are in many cases more expensive and will cost the state more.

  • Radford_NG

    The claim is that it is not about cuts. It is to tackle the problem of housing-blockers[my word];tenants in housing too big for them so as to make room for bigger families.In this it is foolish because elderly people are not included,whilst they are the ones who may most want and/or need to down size. This will now be harder with younger people being forced move from their homes.This is simply a bad policy….like so many others.Where is the clear- minded Civil Service drawing-up the pros-and-cons of projected Government policies for Ministers?Destroyed under Blair?

  • Snowtintrough

    Another non starter from The Nasty Party what a pathetic way to tax ordinary people when millionaires are recieving tax cuts in April
    Support Nigels UKIP party the party for the people

    • notme3

      Except this nasty little principle was brought in in the 2007 welfare reform bill, it was called the ‘local housing allowance’. It only applied to housing benefit applicants in private accommodation. The rules on under occupancy are identical to these rules.

    • Yoolander

      Which people exactly….the ones who would like to vote BNP but are too embaressed…>

  • Davey12

    Yet again the Tories and Cameron show how inept they are. He can save billions by cutting foreign aid, legal aid to people who want to kill us and the voters will cheer.This is a lousy idea and makes the Cameron look spiteful and nasty. It will of course be used by the left.

    Of course Cameron promised his London Luvvies he would not cut foreign aid. What a fool.

    • Douglas Macdonald

      Perfectly put. Nothing to add except See ya Dave your on your way out son. Common enough 4U?

  • ben corde

    Not much change at the Westminster donkey sanctuary today then. I hope the first UKIP MP’s when they are elected are well prepared for this madhouse of the braying classes.

    • Douglas Macdonald

      It won’t take long the water is cheap in the Commons trough.

  • Daniel Maris

    I warned this one would be a disaster. So it proves. Forget the specialist cases, just think about a standard issue family with 2 children where the husband worked hard at a low income job and received housing benefit. Now at the end of their working life, they are being told they will have to pay more of the rent on their council house or privately rented property. Is that how we reward people who have worked hard all their lives? And if they do move into a one bed flat as a result, that’s the end of family stayovers by their children.

    Of course, meanwhile the tricksters will be hard at work working the system. Yes, my son lives here…he is just working overseas at the moment…etc

    This sort of measure targets only the hard working and the honest. The lazy and dishonest will get round it.

    • fantasy_island

      Maybe you have some ideas how we may allocate social housing in a more sophisticated way Daniel.

      • Daniel Maris

        On housing we first need to get a grip on mass immigration including the hidden migration by Chinese and Russian oligarchs who don’t actually register in the figures but nevertheless take up housing in London and elsehwere.

        Then we need to bring in controlled rents in some parts of the country, to get housing costs under control.

        Next we need to building more housing and, in particular, more social housing. However, I would favour introducing more housing co-operatives.

        We also need more imaginative schemes like the one in East London that converted garages into starter bedsits – perfectly acceptable for young single people – costing about £12,000.

        • fantasy_island

          Agree entirely with the final point, a rapid, inexpensive way to meet demand in the short term.

          For me the government proposals are entirely sensible, as personal circumstances change then it is correct that we make adjustments to the benefit levels we provide.

      • Yoolander

        You need enough houses to start off with – we used to have them but some old Lady nicked them and sold them off to create more Tories…IMHO

    • Commonwealth Party

      Sorry to have to correct you Daniel, but tenants in privately rented accomodation have only ever been able to claim benefit based on the number of rooms they actually need. Tenants in privately rented accomodation always have had to cope with the hardship of seeing their benefits reduced as their children grew up. I am not sure why nobody cared about this when it only affected those renting private accommodation, my own observation is that to get social housing you have to have some connection in the local authority ./ housing authority / ruling political party and so presumably this is only now hitting home to the ‘campaigners’

      • Daniel Maris

        Well thanks for clarifying that – sorry if I misled anyone on that.

      • Yoolander

        It was slipped in and to my shame and regret, I was too embroiled in a Family disater to notice….it was wrong then and just as wrong now.

        BTW, G Brown, Balls and whoever facilitaed that measure is a two faced Zombie Fluckkwit on a par with Gove and Lansley

    • Colonel Mustard

      Horses for courses.

  • James Strong

    How has this government managed to lose the PR presentation battle on this one; it’s not a tax, as most readers here understand. But that’s not what many less-informed people believe.
    So, this government fails to bring in decent policies, but when it finds one it then loses the presentation. Pitiful.

    • petermorris

      Tax or reduction in benefit – it amounts o a loss of money to the people affected.

    • Yoolander

      It is a Tax….the ConDems knew in advance that there were not enough smaller properties to move into, therefore imposing a Penalty Charge on any family that cannot move, is a focussed and deliberate attempt to extract money from them…in what way is ithat not a BedroomTax ?

      BTW do you have to pay more on your mortgage if you two children and three bedrooms – if not, why not?

      • fantasy_island

        Why not?

        Because the mortgage payer is a striver whilst the benefit claimant is a sponger.

        Only a loony lefty would try to equate the two.

  • jason green

    This will be Cameron’s Poll Tax moment. This is a spiteful and vindictive policy.

    • Colonel Mustard

      No, the spite and vindictiveness is in the way it is being spun by the socialist collective. All you people have is propaganda and smears.

      • Russell

        Hence the title in this article”!

      • Yoolander

        Reality denial in Central Orifice overdrive

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      We can no longer afford to bankroll Labour’s client state. There is no money available for this purpose. When are you socialists going to realise that money does not grow on trees. The only way to stimulate sustainable economic growth is to transfer resources from the unproductive part of the economy (the public sector) to the productive part of the economy (the private sector). Even that imbecile Hollande is starting to realise this essential economic reality. So keep you bleeding heart nonsense for somebody who cares.

      • jason green

        So if someone can not afford the rent increase, what are their choices? They only have two realistic choices:-

        1.Fall into rent arrears, and the state incurs addition costs trying to recover the arrears.

        2. As there are not enough 2 and 1 bedroom properties, they have to move into private rented accommodation. Which is more expensive, so they will have to claim more Housing Benefit. Costing the state more.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          The government has included a fund to help those in financial difficulties as part of this reform and which is invariably ignored by the left who want no reduction in subsidies to it’s client vote or dilution of its message on ‘cuts’. We have to make material cost savings because we cannot afford existing levels of welfare. You can moan about it all day and cry about it all night but these savings have to be made. Frankly, I am sick of listening to sanctimonious, puerile left wing bleeding hearts who then advocate ludicrous and economically illiterate measures whose net effect is to hurt the poor people you piously profess to care so much about. The alternative to these and similar cost-cutting measures is national insolvency.

          • Yoolander

            It has been estimated that the £30m will be exhausted very quickly – it is a fig leaf used to disguise callous indifference.

            You are just a selfish and self centred materialist who hides this behind economic rhetoric – you are not an economist, you just try to create the impression you know what you are talking about in order to bulk out the facade used to justify regressive, discriminatory and deeply flawed and damaging policies.

            No use talking to a brick wall – you are incapable of empathy or the imagination to see beyond a very narrow perspective.

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              “No use talking to a brick wall” and yet you expend your time being gratuitously rude in response to my opinion which, heaven forbid, does not coincide exactly with your own. You know absolutely nothing about me and yet you feel able to make wild and inaccurate assertions simply because you believe that you have a monopoly on virtue and caring and thus any contrary opinion must be trampled upon. Spare me and everybody else for that matter from your rudeness and sanctimony.

      • Radford_NG

        Money doesn’t grow on trees. No,it’s created on the computers at the Bank of England;the Conservatives having taken up Browns policy of `print-money-and-pray`(I got that from Douglas Carswell MP[Clacton] in his article in today’s Mail on Line.]

  • Thatcherite Lee

    Yet more left wing politically correct drivel. When are the centre right going to start acting like it and stop this nonsense.

    • telemachus

      Sadly no-one cares
      Politics is all about sound bites and the coalition have lost this one

      On a more serious note I know several ordinary people who are struggling as a result of this change in housing benefit
      Whatever you call it, it is manifestly not fair

      • Colonel Mustard

        I see you’ve been going feverishly through every recent blog posting your tripe on every vaguely conservative comment as long as it is near the top of the thread. Do you get paid for doing that or do you see yourself as some kind of missionary spreading Labour’s lying words amongst the heathen?

        There is only one soundbite that describes Labour. Disgusting liars.

        • Yoolander

          Cameron Lied about Disabled Children beiong exampt from the Bedroom tax, then he lied about his cuts not affecting economic growth, he also lied about NHS spending..and his famous promise that there will be no more top down changes in the NHS..and of course IDS – he who lieth about his CV
          ……..Nasty Party Liars are ok by your reasoning – which sort of makes you seem rather ….Nasty.

      • alabenn

        The change in housing benefit do not start till April in this world, please wait till reality catches up with your fantasies.

        • telemachus

          Surprise surprise even the poor do their sums in advance and they are struggling to know how to make ends meet
          Next month they will literally have to decide whether they can still put meat on the table for their children

          • the baracus

            What a load of rubbish you spout. If you feel so strongly about it then why don’t you help them instead of lying about things here. You’ve just got a 5% payrise so go and do something useful for a change.

            • telemachus

              As Osborne points out on Bank Bonuses unilateral gestures are futile

              • the baracus

                No my friend. You are futile…..

            • Yoolander

              You are so cute and cuddly

        • Yoolander

          So as Captain of the Titanic, you would tell passengers not to panic untill they are drowning….wiered logic.

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