Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Liberal Democrats commit to bedroom tax reform

Danny Alexander writes:
“As a Liberal Democrat I want everyone to have the opportunity to have a secure and decent home. 
“We brought in changes to how housing benefit is calculated in the social housing sector with the best of intentions. 
“However, a recent report shows people are having to cut back on household essentials despite the help offered through Discretionary Housing Payments. 
“Therefore, we have reviewed our position so only those already in the social rented sector who turn down suitable smaller homes will see a reduction in their benefit. These commitments will be in the Lib Dem manifesto and we will push for it as government policy right away. 
“This change, combined with a commitment to build 300,000 houses a year in the next Parliament, will build on the progress we have already made to address Britain’s housing problem.”
That sounds about right to me.


Frank Little said...

He hasn't addressed the point in the Ipsos/MORI report about DHPs being applied arbitrarily. The need to pay for separate rooms for medical reasons needs to be written into legislation.

Frank Little said...

Oops! Missed the preamble to Danny Alexander's letter which specifically mentions disabled people.

Phil Beesley said...

Some ex-SPADs have recently discussed how government works or fails to work in practice. SPADs and civil servants advise ministers about policies which might work positively and how they would work. And then there are "other policies".

The bedroom tax is a penalty to encourage those renting an "under occupied home" to move, and it is an "other policy". Policy true believers might have thought it would work; anyone with feet embedded in the real world would have determined that it is unrealistic or brutal to implement. Whether or not the policy aim is correct, it does not fit the world of property renting.

As coalition partners, Lib Dems were sucked into the bedroom tax policy. I'd argue that association with this policy is much worse reputationally than the student fees kerfuffle. I'm pleased that Lib Dems have recanted, but potential voters will always view the Lib Dem parliamentary party as a bit stupid.