This week an appeal court ruled that Bedroom Tax is indeed discriminatory in two cases. One being a victim of domestic violence, who had had her “spare” room converted into a safe room, after being stalked, harassed and victimised by a previous partner. The other case, the grandparents of a severely disabled grandson who needs overnight care in a specially adapted room. They were both faced with having to pay the Bedroom Tax, otherwise they would have lost their homes. As a result it would have been impossible for them to find suitably adapted new houses to live in. Paying this unfair tax would have put them in financial hardship, and they would also have the constant worry of not having the security of their tenancies, a security that they need.
I am a victim of the Bedroom Tax. An unfair and unjust tax that has been forced upon us. Some people say that we should just not pay it. That isn’t an option. The housing associations and councils would evict us, rendering us homeless with no home to go to. They would then be of the opinion that we have chosen to become homeless, so wouldn’t have a duty of care to house us. Leaving us with no choice but to live on the streets or in tents. The very thought of having to do that sends shivers down my spine.
So we pay, and it does leave us in hardship. Although I live a very frugal lifestyle, it can be difficult. My house wasn’t given to me with a spare room. All my bedrooms were occupied by my older children, and I had waited over 12 months to be rehoused, after living in a women’s refuge. I, like many others did not purposely choose house that was too big. Myself, like others have tried moving to a smaller property, but there isn’t the availability. So I have to stay where I am and pay the unfair tax. Of course it’s discrimitory. The very way it was constructed makes it so. Even if the so called spare room is occupied you still have to pay the tax for the room.
My friends in other countries cannot believe that we have to pay tax for a bedroom. Comments have ranged from “Has your government gone mad?” to “Why is your government intent on making the poor and vulnerable suffer so much?” They just don’t understand it. The mentality behind the bedroom tax is very cruel. It harks back to the time of the window tax. When the window tax was introduced people blocked off their so called extra Windows. Pity we can’t brick off our so called spare bedrooms. Of course this wouldn’t be allowed. Fighting against the bedroom tax is also very hard. They system and their operatives make this very hard to do.
It isn’t working either. Bigger properties are being left empty, people unable to occupy them. The government have brought in new rules stating that children have to share a bedroom with their parents in their bedroom for much longer, and siblings of different sexes have to share a bedroom until they are much older than is appropriate. This is resulting in unhealthy overcrowding, and empty larger properties, that would have previously been occupied by these families. At the same time we have a record amount of homeless living on the streets, sofa surfing or living in unsuitable temporary accommodation
We are seeing poverty levels now that we haven’t seen since the 1930s, alongside this is the return of illnesses that had long since disappeared. But the government will continue to push its war against the poor. Once again, I say its a war, because I do feel that it is a war. A bully always picks on the most vulnerable. And they are doing just that. I only have to take a short walk around the town that I live in to see this. Manchester has a massive amount of “visible” homeless people, many requiring specialist help that isn’t available anymore.
But the government will not give up on its attack on the poor. They are planning to appeal the above appeal decisions, and will do so with great gusto. They will not be seen to fail, not at any cost.
I hear people say to me that this government must live on a different planet… indeed they do, they have always lived a very privileged lifestyle, so we can never expect them to understand our plight, but neither do they want to understand it either. They aren’t interested. Like all bullies they will never admit to failure, and failing they are, at a massive rate.
The Tory Government are fulfilling one thing though, they are taking the GREAT out of Great Britain, and replacing it with something far more sinister.