The Benefit System

Council opposition to bedroom tax

Council opposition to bedroom tax

The Under Occupancy Penalty/’Bedroom tax’ (previously written about here) has been one of the most controversial welfare policies, with proponents arguing that it will free up social housing and opponents claiming that it will be both expensive and hurt the poorest.

Several councils have adopted a ‘no evictions’ policy. This means that, whilst they shall implement the Under Occupancy Penalty/’Bedroom tax’, they shall refuse to evict tenants unable to pay. In Scotland, SNP led councils such as Dundee[1], East Ayrshire[2], Edinburgh[3] and Fife[4] have said that they will not evict tenants unable to pay. Tenants with a spare bedroom that do fulfil the requirements will still be expected to pay however.

This follows an interjection made a fortnight ago by the government’s own ‘poverty tsar’, Frank Field MP, who urged landlords of social tenants to take “direct action” of a similar nature claiming that the measures were “grossly unfair”. Field, a Labour MP, claimed that spare bedrooms should be bricked up in order to avoid the policy, invoking the spirit of the defiance to the nineteenth century Window Tax, where families bricked up windows in order to avoid a new tax that taxed households on the number of windows their property had[5][6][7][8].

  • Will such action negate the benefits of the policy? Or is it necessary to negate the worst excesses of the policy?
  • Will welfare reform have an impact the number of left wing Scottish unionists?
  • Is this evidence of ‘localism’, an agenda the government has said it is committed to?


 By Will Archdeacon


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