Coffee House

Exclusive: Leaked emails reveal United Nations fury at ‘bedroom tax’ report

16 September 2013

Last Tuesday, word began to spread in Whitehall that the United Nations were set to release a highly critical report about the Under-Occupancy Charge, aka the ‘Bedroom Tax’ to everyone but the government. Downing Street wanted to ignore the report, yet when it emerged that the UN’s Special Rapporteur was lined up for Wednesday’s Today programme, a plan was drawn up to fight back. Grant Shapps was activated and he fired the starting gun on what would be one of the more bizarre media wars this government has got into.

Concern had been growing in the Department for Work and Pensions for several weeks about the behaviour of Raquel Rolnik, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on housing, who was investigating the UK as a representative of the UN’s High Commission on Human Rights. Alarm bells began to ring when she was photographed with the Daily Record newspaper (pictured above), receiving a ‘dossier’ of ‘evidence’ about the policy. Yet she failed to meet with any Ministers responsible for its implementation.

The government’s worst fears were realised when Rolnik described the policy as the ‘Bedroom Tax’ — an inaccurate slogan coined by the Labour Party — throughout her report and Wednesday’s media blitz. Her report claimed that asking people in social housing to pay more in rent if they have a spare bedroom was a breach of human rights. ‘Bonkers’ was at the tamer end of the briefings put out in reaction.

Claim your gift

Shapps did not hold his punches on Today, calling the report ‘a disgrace’ and the media went to town on Rolnik’s controversial background as washed up Marxist member of Brazil’s Workers’ Party, who count the Cuban Communist Party as their closest ally. It culminated with Thursday’s Daily Mail accusing the eccentric visitor of dabbling in witchcraft.

I can reveal that behind the scenes internationally, the UK’s representatives at the UN were, unforgivably to some, blind-sided by Rolnik and her report. Even after the intense media storm blew up, diplomacy came first and feathers had to be smoothed. Leaked internal communiques show the efforts the UK government went to try and avoid upsetting Rolnik:

‘Ms Rolnik apologized for her use of the term “bedroom tax”. She said she had also apologized on BBC and C4. She had not meant to be perceived as making a political point, which she accepted would be unacceptable in a UN SR. She claimed that she had shown her press statement in draft on 9 September to Whitehall officials, discussed it on 10 September and had changed some areas a result. It was clear she had been distressed by the personal comments of some of the press (and I made clear that we deplored these and that they did not stem from official briefings).’

Yet before she wrote the memo and claimed she deplored the negativity shown towards Rolnik, Karen Pierce, the UK’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, was just as furious as those in Westminster about what had happened. She emailed the Foreign Office, raging:

‘The reaction here from UN agency heads and otjers [sic] has been who is that strange woman; why is she talking about bedrooms and why on earth do we have a UN Housing Rapporteur. So to a certain extent this is beginning to speak for itself. Which is helpful.’

So what will the official reaction of the British government be to their bizarre hijacking by ‘that strange woman’? With typical diplomatic pussyfooting, Pierce concluded: ‘I will talk to her and point out the inadvisability for her credibility of entering political debate without being in possession of the facts’. A little bit late for that, one might argue.

Give the perfect gift this Christmas. Buy a subscription for a friend for just £75 and you’ll receive a free gift too. Buy now.

Show comments
  • John Mangan

    The Under-Occupancy Charge does not exist anywhere in law or government regulations. Nor does the Spare Room Subsidy. This is pure spin invented by the Neocons of the Tory Party. It is an illegal law, accurately called the Bedroom Tax as there is no government or council appellation for it. The Bedroom Tax is illegal because a law has to have an either/or alternative to make it work. In this case either move to smaller accommodation or pay the tax. The illegality arises because there IS no alternative accommodation. All the smaller council stock was sold off in the 80s by Thatcher’s desire to bribe the burgeoning lower middle class and it has never been replaced.

  • Toby Esterházy

    The High Commission on Human Rights of the United Nations is not actually the UN, but only an international NGO—only the UNSC, the UNGA and the UN Secretariat are.

  • wrinkledweasel

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standard. Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs.

    Only kidding, but I have just been banned again from CiF. It seems that The Guardian does not think that the lady is at all unreasonable, especially when she relates such heart-wrenching anecdotal:

    “I was very shocked to hear how people really feel abused in their human
    rights by this decision and why – being so vulnerable – they should pay
    for the cost of the economic downturn, which was brought about by the
    financial crisis. People in testimonies were crying, saying ‘I have
    nowhere to go’, ‘I will commit suicide’.” weeped Ms Rolnik.

    Human Rights – the new name for “I’m Taking the Piss.

    • Sue Mccafferty

      Of course, they’re all lying. Dump them on the streets that’ll teach them to expect a roof over their head and to live without fear of homelessness when they have altered nothing in their own behaviour to warrant it. Arrears due to non-payment are one thing: arrears that are mandated by Government policy are not the sign of a civilised society.

  • milesbetter

    What has it got to do with the UN?

  • João Eduardo Madureira

    What about to see this under the light of the the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

    “Her report claimed that asking people in social housing to pay more in rent if they have a spare bedroom was a breach of human rights”.

    The Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the right to housing as part of the right to an adequate standard of living.

    It states that:

    “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control”.

    While the article 25 does not state specifically that the Under-Occupancy Charge is a breach of human rights, one in this situation may find oneself “in circumstances beyond his control”, as the UK lacks smaller housing where people, with spare rooms, could move.

    So, what seems to be the problem is the shortage of smaller housing available to accommodate all people who has been affecting by the bedroom tax, and not the policy itself. So, in my opinion, the Ms Raquel Rolnik speech did not address the point properly, apart from doing it at the wrong place, mean, that should be delivered through diplomatic level, not in the media.

    Tough she was not comparing UK with Brazil, I wonder what Ms Raquel Rolnik has to say about slum policing in Brazil

    I did twitter her questioning this, but she did not reply.

  • donkeypunch

    if everyone in the country, except the Govt of the day, calls a it a Bedroom Tax rather than what they would like it to be called, they have lost. See also the Community Charge or rather the ‘Poll Tax’ as everyone knew it as. It”s a terrible, ill thought out policy which should be withdrawn.

    • perdix

      “Bedroom Tax” is a term made up by lefties and lazy journalists who seek to stir up conflict to sell their rubbish newspapers.

      • Sue Mccafferty

        Get your facts right: it was coined by Lord Best, a cross-bench Peer.

  • Noa

    Richard North offers an informed if unpopular view at EU Referendum; pointing out that ,thanks to the government’ ever more subservient position in the world order, she has every right to be here.

    “Much outrage has attended the report from UN official Raquel Rolnik, and her
    comments on the so-called “Bedroom Tax”, not least in the Daily Mail, which is highlighting “Tory fury” at Rolnik, now branded as a “loopy Brazilian leftie”.
    Puzzlement is being expressed at Rolnik should have come to the UK to
    make “a political point” at a time when “there are 50million people
    living in shanty towns”. Tory Party chairman Grant Shapps has called on
    UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon to launch a full investigation.
    However, despite what has now become a torrent of press coverage, after an initial BBC report, we are being left largely uninformed about the status of Mrs Rolnik,
    other than the fact that she is UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to
    Adequate Housing.
    What is not being made clear is that the role of UN Special Rapporteur is well established part of the UN Commission on Human Rights and, in this case, is implementing the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
    This instrument was adopted and opened for signature, ratification and
    accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December
    1966, and it was signed and ratified by the UK respectively on 16 September 1968 and 20 May 1976, the latter under the tenure of James Callaghan and his Labour Government.
    Although the UK has not accepted the Optional Protocol to the Covenant,
    under the provisions of the existing agreement, the UK commits (via
    Article 11) to “recognise the right of everyone to an adequate standard
    of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing
    and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions”.
    This same Covenant then permits the UN agencies and experts to carry out
    studies and submit reports concerning the implementation of the
    Covenant by the parties, which gives Mrs Rolnik her authority to carry
    out her study and make her report.
    The Mail makes a big deal about Rolnik coming from “violent,
    slum-ridden Brazil” yet, the paper says, she “still attacks us on
    housing and human rights”. This, of course, misses the point. As
    Rolnik makes clear in this video:
    “We are not comparing UK with Brazil … we are comparing UK to UK … we
    are looking for improvement … what we see is retrogression”.
    This is in the context of Article 11 where the government is committed
    to “continuous improvement of living conditions”. The UK signed and
    ratified the Covenant, and it is still in force. Thus the argument is
    that retrogression is a breach of the Covenant. Comparisons with Brazil
    are not relevant.
    As for Mrs Rolnik she is an architect and an urban planner, with over 30 years of
    experience in planning and urban land management. She has considerable
    experience in the implementation and evaluation of housing and urban
    policies. Currently based in Sao Paulo, she is a professor at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of Sao Paolo and is the author of several books and articles on urban issues.
    She was appointed at the 7th session of the Human Rights Council as the
    second United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a
    component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the
    right to non-discrimination in this context. She has acted as Special
    Rapporteur since 1 May 2008.
    Like it or not, under the Covenant to which the UK fully subscribes, Mrs
    Rolnik has every right to carry out her investigations on housing provision in the UK, and make such reports as she thinks fit to the Commission on Human Rights and other UN bodies.
    Her activity is part of that growing and increasingly powerful system of world governance, largely invisible and almost entirely unrecognised – until, that is, that we get an incident such as the one reported.

    But Mrs Rolnik’s action is only the tiniest tip of a huge iceberg which,
    alongside the European Union, is systematically destroying any vestige
    of independent government in the UK. And it is doing so without the
    least amount of awareness by politicians and the legacy media. For
    instance, we get Littlejohn hyperventilating
    at great length, but never once does he explain that it is Britain’s
    accession to the Covenant – nearly 40 years ago – which gives Rolnik her

    This Covenant and thousands of other instruments fundamentally change
    the political environment in the UK, the nature of which we have
    scarcely begun to understand. But as far as the legacy media goes, we
    are at year zero. The press (and broadcasters) show not the slightest
    understanding of the situation, and therefore cannot even begin to
    explain it to the public.

    But then, why would we expect anything different?”

  • D Whiggery

    Having a spare room a universal human right now, who knew?. If so, how many families have a spare room in Brazil’s social housing?

    • João Eduardo Madureira

      By the way, there is not Under-Occupancy Charge policy in Brazil, because there is not Housing Benefit in Ms Rolnik country. It is not the Brazilian government´s business if one can not pay the rent.

      One has not the right to claim Housing Benefit in Brazil, because it does not exist.

  • cyllan

    why isnt the news titled something like?….( “United Nations cant bother to do anything about anything except bother western democracies about how to run themselves…like this brazilian UN marxist……..blah blah blah” ).
    why is she allowed to dirty the pages of this newspaper????

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Try starting from the bottom in downtown Tokyo.

  • Radford_NG

    Everybody but the nasties calls it the bed-room tax.The Daily Record reports she had meetings with Eric Pickles and other ministers;and the government had invited her here.IS THIS DENIED?? Where she was born is irrelevant.The Record gave her a dossier [not sexed-up]of the problems this stupid measure has caused to normal people.She has said:”The right to housing is not about a roof anywhere without any social ties.

    • McRobbie

      You actually should mean all the liers in the really nasty labour party call a reduced subsidy a tax…when it suits them. Spin and obfuscation is the left whinge way.

    • DWWolds

      The government did not invite her here. They gave her the minimum courtesy considered to be due to someone who was supposed to be representing the UN. She seems to have been invited by the Daily Record.

  • Bonkim

    Silly Painted Lady – none of your business.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    …you know, when I suggested Pantsdown should put on ruby red lipstick and fishnet stockings and walk the streets, I didn’t think he’d follow through… but along came the photograph at the top of this blogpost…

  • Abhay

    A stupid low-level paper-pusher from an out-dated institution wrote a foolish report. Who cares? It should be ignored. She looks wasted in the pic!

    • Russell

      You should be sacked. A piece of verminous socialism/labour scum.
      Funny how the National Socialist party (labour) didn’t call the spare bedroom subsidy a Bedroom tax or a Brown tax when people on benefits renting private accomodation had to pay more to have additional rooms according to their needs. Think of all the people who could have enjoyed having their own rooms if Brown/labour had introduced the removal of this subsidy to all those on benefits.

      • Roland’s Delectus

        Firstly, Labour did not introduce a bedroom tax on existing private rentals, only on new contracts to stop single people and childless couples renting outsize houses. There is no need for this in social housing since social housing is allocated on the basis of need. The private rental scheme – LHAs – hit nobody on the day it began, while the bedroom tax hit 2 million in 660,000 households. There is no comparison.

        Secondly, there is no subsidy in social housing since all the properties have been paid for over and again. The Conservatives seem to have forgotten that their doyenne, Margaret Thatcher, sold council houses off at a discount of tens of thousands of pounds with the justification that council house tenants over the years had paid for their homes multiple times over the years and that the houses owed the state nothing. Council house rents were therefore subsidizing the taxpayer and it is quite absurd thirty years later to claim that the selfsame properties are subsidized by the taxpayer. Yet another government lie courtesy of Iain ‘Duncan’ Smith of the University of Perugia which people seem to be swallowing wholesale.

        • Roland’s Delectus

          All I have stated in my post is a series of facts commonly known. It is remarkable, therefore, that readers have voted my comment down. In this company that is largely a badge of honour, but I do wonder why so many readers of The Spectator are plainly in denial. Bizarre.

          • telemackus

            Yes, the Spectator’s readers deny the truth of progressive national socialism and Margaret Thatcher’s responsibility for all the immigrants and our housing crisis. Despite our national socialist government for 13 years we were unable to reverse a single policy of her 18 year reign of terror.

            • UKSteve

              That’s because they were outstandingly good policies. they saved this country from certain bankruptcy.

        • Alexsandr

          social housing is allocated in case of need. But we don’t have the churn where people move to more suitable sized housing as their needs change. So you end up with single people in accommodation sized for a family.

          • Roland’s Delectus

            Oh I see. I’m enlightened. So social housing tenants are like cattle kept in pens, to be moved about as it suits the farmer.

            I get it.

            The housing shortage is a consequence of government failure – of both parties – to build enough housing to accommodate the entirety of the country’s population. Then the UN human rights watchdogs criticize them and, naturally, enough, pondlife like Smith blame the tenants & cavemen like Shapps start foaming at the mouth.

            Once we were a civilized country.

            • madasafish

              Once we were a civilized country.

              Yes: and PM s did not lie to us all about going to war. And Chancellors of the Exchequer did not lie several times over years about “no more boom and bust”.

              If you want to make political points about it as well, we also did not subscribe to unrestricted immigration.

              But then lefties are basically incapable of seeing the truth for their shibboleths.

              • Roland’s Delectus

                I’ve never voted Labour or Liberal or Liberal Democrat or SDP in 35 years of voting, only ever Tory. As I said, all I stated was a series of facts. Sorry that you couldn’t cope with them without imagining I was making political points.

            • Alexsandr

              The Labour government created the housing shortage by unfettered immigration

              • Roland’s Delectus

                There has been a housing shortage in my home town, Cambridge, since at least 1970; the same is true of the rest of the south-east of England and has nothing to do with the Blair or Brown governments. Immigration is only unfettered as we belong to the EU, and is the fault of neither major party.

                A housing shortage has only one cause, and that is a lack of housing, and both parties are to blame for their failure.

                • Alexsandr

                  so who negotiated the EU treaties? Monster Raving Loony Party?
                  And have Pakistan and Sudan etc joined the EU.

                • Roland’s Delectus

                  Well, Ted Heath of the Tories took us into Europe & Thatcher and Major signed most of the treaties in their 18 years. What’s your point?

                  Pakistanis came at the request of the British government in the 60s when unskilled labour was short.

                • Alexsandr
                • Roland’s Delectus

                  Not sure what point you’re trying to make. If we’re in the EU we have to accept unlimited migration from within it. The only option we have if we want to limit it is to get out of the EU. And once we were out we would want to be back in.

  • paulus

    We are the greatest nation on this Earth: live with it.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      That you, Jock?

    • Cathy Mckeane

      Hahahaha, splitting my sides Phallus, oops, Paulus 😉

    • teigitur

      We WERE!

  • David Lindsay

    None of this changes the fact that the British Government’s housing policy was and is disgusting to a visitor from South America.

    Outside Bullingdonland, Britain is now part of the Fourth World, the existence of Bullingdonland being itself a feature of Fourth World status.

    If you don’t believe me, then ask the disgusted visitors from the Third World.

    • Abhay

      When you have nothing to say, consider silence!

    • telemackus

      Yes, you are perfectly correct. it is amazing how many disgusting visitors from the third world come here to get subsidised rooms.

      • aron lipshitz

        I am familiar with the slums of Lagos, the townships in South Africa and pre-capitalist boom of old Shanghai hovels and many parts of Britain are now looking more and more like the worst of those towns.
        I recently asked a Kurdish refugee why he thought that immigrants turn areas into slums–he explained, it is not their place, they didn’t pay for it and when it gets really bad, the government will pay to move them somewhere better.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …you mean the disgusted marxist nutters from the Third World… your comrades in kookery? Is that who should be asked?

      • David Lindsay

        Oh, I admit that when it comes to squalor, we have nothing on America. Like mass illiteracy. Or lack of healthcare. Still, America has lots of aircraft carriers, and what have you. Which is what matters. Isn’t it?

        • telemackus

          David as always is absolutely correct. We need him to lead us to a progressive national socialism like the Germans once enjoyed.

          • David Lindsay

            Or proper housing, policing, transport and various other things that the Germans now enjoy.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …which they haven’t modeled after your Brazilian socialist nutter heroes, lad.

            • loftytom

              Through solid Conservative government

            • telemackus

              Yes, you are right of course. The Germans, like we progressive national socialists have excellent final solutions for our problems which is why labour emulate their tactics so well.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …Oh I’d say what matters for you socialist nutters has been made quite apparent over the decades, lad.

          Your reflexive grab for this marxist’s blather reminds us, if we needed to be reminded.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Nothing like a bit of hyperbole but somewhat ironic that Brazil, the home of Ms Rolnik, is listed as having one of the 10 worst slums in the world and she is on record as complaining about that fact too. Her beef is the provision of adequate housing. The clue is in the word ‘adequate’.

      Currently the only real slums in the UK are mainly an import of foreign landlords and gang bosses. The direct result of more than a decade of “radical progressive politics” pursued mainly by socialists.

      • allymax bruce

        She’s holding a copy of the highest standard of journalism in Scotland; what do you expect?

        • loftytom

          The Scotsman?

      • David Lindsay

        Brazil, the home of Ms Rolnik, is listed as having one of the 10 worst slums in the world

        Yet still she was shocked by the housing conditions in Britain.

        Hyperbole does not enter into it.

        • telemackus

          We the people need a progressive national socialist government so we can achieve the same levels of housing as other left-wing states like Brazil and Venezuela. Only our great labour party working with Vince Cable can bring us a progressive national socialist future where all of us can have the same level of poverty.

          • David Lindsay

            Well, we evidently need something to attain housing provision that does not horrify South Americans, yes.

            That is what Britain has become under the Tories: shockingly poor and squalid to people from Brazil.

            No wonder that, accordingly to Ashcroft, Labour is 14 points ahead in the Blue-Red marginals.

        • milliboot

          They dont even HAVE bedrooms in the shacks in Brazil you oaf, there again they dont need as many as they shoot the slum kids as they scrabble around on rubbish tips for food.You really need to do some reading before you post again as you are embarassing.

          • David Lindsay

            Yet she was still shocked and appalled at the conditions in Britain under this wretched, thankfully doomed Government.

            Fourth World Britain, under a fabulously rich, utterly spiteful and totally out-of-touch kleptocracy which would not be tolerated in Brazil.

            That means you.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              You are in a hole, and it’s best you stop digging, lad.

              A hint for you: International troughing commies from Brazil aren’t the best reference point for your case.

              • David Lindsay

                They are when the case is that Britain is now a disgustingly squalid country to anyone outside the tiny, gilded world of the people who have been running it since they failed to win an Election in 2010 but were made the Government anyway because of where they had gone to school and who they were related to. That case is made.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You’re not taking the hint, lad. You should. You and your fellow travelers need to work underground, in spreading your socialist madness. Overt genuflections for Brazilian commie nutters isn’t where it’s at for you, comrade.

                • HJ777

                  You really do need to get out of the bedroom at your parents house more often.

                • Hexhamgeezer

                  That case is mot made.

                • Noa

                  David, if you had stopped at
                  “…Britain is now a disgustingly squalid country to anyone outside the tiny, gilded world of the people who have been running it”.
                  Most of us would have agreed with you.

                  You know yourself that this wretched Coalition, facing the accumulated dunghill of 60 years of labour malfeasence and tory appeasement, is incapable of doing more than adding a few more shovelfuls of crap to the pile.

              • Sue Mccafferty

                Ms Rolnik made it abundantly clear during the meeting in Manchester that she was not comparing the UK with Brazil and acknowledged that Brazil had much work to do to move forward in housing provision and human rights. She was comparing the UK with the UK and judged by our own standards we are moving backwards. If you would like evidence of this retrogression and the suffering it is causing it is easily found. That a housing expert from anywhere should have to point out that we are failing in our most basic human rights commitments would be enough to make anyone defensive so I do understand your discomfort. However it is nothing compared to the very real hardship I have witnessed at first hand due to this vile policy and the spectacle of Ministers openly lying about this suffering (mainly of sick and disabled tenants) and pretending it doesn’t exist is utterly disgraceful.

                • Alexsandr

                  we are moving backwards because the socialists overspent and trashed the economy. Let us not forget, this is LABOUR’s fault.

                • Sue Mccafferty

                  What a ridiculous comment in the context of the suffering being caused by the bedroom tax. So, you’d stand by wringing your wet hands in despair at the sight of another human being in pain, and just cry,”wasn’t me, it was your fault”.

                • Alexsandr

                  There is no ‘bedroom tax’, the poor taxpayers have stopped subsidising people to have unnecessary rooms.
                  This is a necessary rebalancing away from claimants and back to the taxpayers. Who are struggling too.
                  Why are some people so hard of thinking they don’t understand that government spending doesn’t come off a money tree but is taken from the pockets of others.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, I’m not discomfited by this policy, although you extreme socialists might have that effect, at times.

                • Hexhamgeezer

                  ‘our most basic human rights commitments’ do not include a spare bedroom.

                • Sue Mccafferty

                  I agree. But what does constitute a breach of human rights is policy that does not allow for any transitional protection, where there are no allowances made for the different needs of disabled people, where the rooms are not ‘spare’ at all, and, most importantly, where a reduction in rent (regardless of whether the tenant actually would like to move) results in the choice of rent arrears, eviction and homelessness or having to use other benefits (meant for food and heating) to cover that shortfall, plunging the tenant into abject poverty. The question of consent is also crucial here. many tenants were given no real warning of this policy. There was no formal consultation or piloted study. Whilst the tenant is unable to move, and until other accommodation can be found, it makes no sense to remove all protections from arrears, causing greater costs in evictions and homelessness provision. Making people suffer, especially chronically sick and disabled people who cannot even look for work to pay the shortfall, does not result in better housing allocation. So yes, it’s a human rights abuse.

                • Alexsandr

                  No. there is a local government fund of discretionary funding for those who can show a proper need for the extra room. But mentioning that doesn’t fit into your agenda does it?

                • Sue Mccafferty

                  Research by the Papworth Trust and others has shown DHPs are not being awarded in most cases even where there is illness and disability. I have no agenda. But I do have a great deal of first hand knowledge of this policy.

                • Alexsandr

                  Blame DHP’s not HMG then

                • Sue Mccafferty

                  The DHP fund, firstly, was calculated by increasing the bedroom tax percentage from 12 to 14% to justify the amount put into the pot. So tenants are in the ridiculous position of applying for money from a fund made up of an increased reduction in their own benefits. Secondly, DHPs are discretionary, there is no right of appeal.(which is itself an unprecedented development in terms of removing protection from homeless for people who are disabled) Finally, the initial 25 million was calculated, by Government, to cover a years bedroom tax for one room for 35,000 tenants with significant adaptations. Out of the 660,000 affected by the bedroom tax there are 420,000 sick and disabled tenants: there is no provision for them within the system of DHP. This includes tenants with terminal illness. So if someone is denied a DHP, a regular occurrence for the 660,000 tenants affected, and there is no right to appeal, they are left to rot. A seriously unwell home owner needing help with mortgage interest would get an amount currently above many interest repayments, the bank make a killing, and there is obviously no restriction on number of bedrooms. Whichever way you look at this policy it is the economics of the madhouse and you don’t have to be a ‘lefty’ to condemn it.

                • Hexhamgeezer

                  No real warning? I thought you said you had an intimate knowledge of the business. No formal consultation? Are you suggesting that every tenant should be formally consulted?

                  You are being disingenuous using phrases like ‘no real warning’. All tenants were informed by their councils/LHAs in writing. CABs and every voluntary group in the field advised and fed information back from these consultations to all interested parties.

                  Then there is the old reliable word of mouth on top of that which is perhaps the best and quickest way of spreading the word.

                  You mention terminally ill tenants in another linked post. NO terminally ill tenant will be forced to move under this measure.

                • Sue Mccafferty

                  You don’t know what you’re talking about. There are NO exemptions on grounds of illness or disability other than for a room for an overnight carer. I know several extremely ill people who have not been awarded discretionary housing payments and are now in arrears with their rent. Even if a DHP is awarded it is temporary, unreliable and there is no right of appeal for non-award. When I use the word consultation I mean a formal consultation before legislation is laid: common enough practice and was done for other parts of the Welfare Reform Act, of which the bedroom tax is a part. I suggest you do a bit more research on this subject.

            • Hexhamgeezer

              Utter factless bllx

              That means you.

              • Alexsandr

                pity the useless Disqus doesn’t indent more than a few levels if reply.

        • salieri

          Hyperbole does not enter into it.
          Possibly not, but hypocrisy does.
          If someone in Britain said third-world housing conditions breached human rights there’d be an outcry. In reality only the first world can breach human rights and only the third world can possess them.

    • milliboot

      David, you are truly bonkers yourself if you think that madwoman was giving an unbiased opinion ! what are you on ?

      • David Lindsay

        Bullingdon Britain speaks.

        Mercifully, not for very much longer.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …have you got your knife’s eye on their livers, then?

          • David Lindsay

            Only yours. A view endorsed by this site’s refusal to remove my expressions of it. Take the hint and f*ck off.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Your views are endorsed by nobody other than your fellow lefty nutters, laddie, least of all your passions for vivisection.

              • Mark Cooper

                I don’t think other lefties would endorse Lindsay’s views, they’d be scared of mentalism by association.

            • John

              I’m a troll
              Fol de rol
              I’m a troll
              Fol de rol
              I’m a troll
              Fol de rol
              And I’ll eat you for supper.

  • Peter Davies

    not fit to be in the job is the best description I think

    • HookesLaw

      Nice work if you can get it.
      The UN has a history of using people who plough a political axe to grind (er… but anyway) like Maurice Strong.

      A man who has a huge amount to answer for, but his legacy lives on.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …your Camerloonian buddies seem to like these UN types, laddie, or at least their profligate international aid budgets for those types of nutters would indicate so.

        • Makroon

          Well, no wonder the Foreign Office reacted in a “typically pussy-footing way” and “got blind sided”.
          The bloody idiot minister is still fully focussed on finding some way of getting us into a Syrian adventure.

      • Noa

        Karen Pierce, who after all is part of the FCO establishment, is
        really furious at the unexpected embarrasment this inadvertant exposure of the UK government’s subservient position to the UN in the new world order has caused.
        The unpalatable fact of this matter, regardless of the veracity or otherwise of her report, is that Mrs Rolnik has every right to be here under treaties signed by the Government 40 years ago.Except for Richard North at EU Referendum (see my link below), no part of the media has chosen to identify the true source and causes of the report, preferring instead to encourage a tribal but essential sterile debate on the Report itself.

  • Span Ows

    First paragraph: “…a highly critical report about the Under-Occupancy Charge, aka the ‘Bedroom Tax’ to everyone but the government.

    Third paragraph: The government’s worst fears were realised when Rolnik’s described the policy as the ‘Bedroom Tax’ — an inaccurate slogan coined by the Labour Party”

    hmmm, a bit of a contradiction there; I disagree that ‘not everyone but the government calls it that’ because that would be lazy, false, poor journalism and a subliminal attack on a reasonable policy (the very reasons the BBC were cheer-leading it from Day 1)

    That said, surely the UN should concentrate such ‘Housing Rapporteurs’ on those that NEED housing i.e any roof over their heads: hundreds of millions of people DO NOT have this, nor a toilet (many millions not even a bucket!).

    Follow the ‘money’, cui bono? No doubt some Labour lefty luvvie has been telling porkies…

    • telemachus

      And the United Nations are wrong on chemical weapons too

      • telemackus

        Under a progressive national socialist rule there will be no bedrooms to tax. All will live in one room and only the rich will pay tax at 90%.

        • McRobbie

          However the fascist socialists will redefine rich as any one above minimum wage. Equality for all is their cry…poverty all round is the result.

        • The_Missing_Think

          And you explained to the panel that fifty minus five equals ninety?

          Get used to the jacket.

    • HookesLaw

      ‘NEED housing i.e’ … those in Brazil.

      Did ‘this woman’ consider the plight of those who need the extra bedrooms but they are not available because those who are (subsidised in) using them to run their train sets are reluctant to give them up?

      • David Lindsay

        Still, the point dies get through: she is from Brazil, yet she still found Bullingdon Britain shocking and horrifying.

        But then, we have lower investment than Mali. Higher inequality than Ethiopia. Such are the facts. Welcome to the Fourth World.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …you need to have your medication adjusted, lad.

        • Radford_NG

          Where she was born is not relevant. Presumably she comes here from Manhattan,at the invitation of the government.Where ever you come from you can equally well see how stupid this policy is.

        • Hexhamgeezer

          No. She did not find Britain horrifying. She’s a warped lying Marxist.

          Such are the facts.

          • donkeypunch

            translated as – i don’t like what she is saying, but i can’t argue the substance of it as she is correct, so i will attack her instead

            • Hexhamgeezer

              ‘translated’? you mean in a Gramscian, Marcusian sense?

        • loftytom

          Aye, everbody is Ethiopia is dirt poor, equally poor. Even the poorest in Britain live like kings in Ethiopia.
          Mali, mean wage 40p per hour, Investment? You mean the French invasion.

        • sungeipatani

          Investment in what? We have many times more investments in the UK relative to Mali (or any other African country) in, for example; roads, housing, schools, universities, hospitals, and railways. Our foreign aid budget is roughly equal to Mali’s GDP. Why do you write such rubbish?

          On your second point income inequality under the current government is less than it was under the last Labour government.

      • milliboot

        You never hear anything about the families in overcrowded accommodation at all, which is strange.

Can't find your Web ID? Click here