Opinion: Ten reasons why the bedroom tax must go

The conference amendments can only be an expedient stop-gap to complete repeal. Here are ten reasons why the bedroom tax (also known as the spare room subsidy) should go.

1. Bedroom Tax is targeted to victimise the most vulnerable members of society. Two thirds of the victims of Bedroom Tax were receiving Incapacity Benefit: over 440,000 nationally.

2. An extra bedroom is not an extravagance if you need additional space for medical equipment, a room for carers to sleep in or live in a household where an ill person is too unwell to sleep in the same room as their partner and to do so would negatively affect the health and wellbeing of both.

3. Bedroom Tax will not resolve the housing crisis. We do not have enough homes of the right size, in the right places at affordable cost. Local authorities’ housing stock has been smashed apart in the last thirty years through the Tory Right to Buy policy. Councils have been unable to build new homes because they have been inadequately funded.

4. Bedroom Tax is intrinsically unfair because it does not apply to every social tenant. Pensioners  have been, cynically, exempt only because of the millions of votes they hold in their hands. But bringing pensioners under the tax is not the solution; that would merely spread the misery, fear, indebtedness and social upheaval.

5. Bedroom Tax wastes millions of already scarce public resources on making new adaptations and undoing perfectly good existing modifications. It can cost £30,000 or more to adapt one home to make it bespoke for a tenant with a disability. How can government justify this unwarranted and undesired profligacy?

6. Tenants have invested time, money and personal commitment in their homes, gardens and communities. In parts of the country where housing is expensive most social tenants cannot afford private rents so the only option is to ship out. Croydon Council suggests that tenants who can’t downsize move to the seaside. The Tory Centre for Social Justice reports these same seaside towns, have become “dumping grounds” for the vulnerable and those in poverty.

7. The social cost of the policy is incalculable. Family support mechanisms collapse when grandchildren are prevented from visiting. Fathers or mothers involved in a family breakdown no longer have acceptable accommodation for their children to visit. Unpaid friends and relatives who enable disabled families on an informal basis will no longer be able to provide respite for main carers.

8. The myth that no one will fall through the safety net must be exposed. Government double-speak reassures us that Discretionary Housing Payments, Hardship Funds and phased introduction will enable victims to gradually adapt to the changes. Why then have tenants around the country fallen into rent arrears for the first time in their lives? Why have applications for one-off grants rocketed? Why are Pay Day Loan companies rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of ever-greater demand for their reprehensible ‘services’?

9. Bedroom Tax is only the first in a raft of cuts thinly disguised as reforms. We have yet to discover the impact of slashing Council Tax Benefit, introducing Universal Credit, increasing the shared room age limit from 25 years to 35, the benefit cap and changing the direct payment of Credit to tenants rather than straight to landlords.

10. The changes massively increase the potential for fraud. By imposing online management of the forthcoming Universal Credit along with centralised processing the vast pools of local knowledge are negated at a stroke and the scope for fraud balloons colossally.

* Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera is Chair of the Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats.

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  • Kevin White 14th Sep '13 - 4:28pm

    Excellent article. Spot on.

  • Mark Yeates 14th Sep '13 - 4:34pm

    Thank you for articulating and expressing my thoughts on this pernicious and rather spiteful policy. It is members like you, that reaffirm my faith in remaining in the party itself.

  • “Tenants have invested time, money and personal commitment in their homes, gardens and communities.”

    Really? What evidence do you base that on?

    I live on an estate, and almost without exception, the owner-occupied properties (i.e. those bought under right to buy) are clean and well-maintained while those properties with tenants are shabby and poorly-looked after. The same was true of the last street I lived on, where again the properties were a mix of council-tenanted and owner occupied.

    The residents association on the estate is run almost entirely by owner-occupiers. Hardly any council tenants “invest time and personal commitment” in trying to improve their homes and communities.

    The same was true of the last street I lived on, which again was a mix of council-tenanted and owner occupied housing.

  • Have you ever been in a council house Will Mann?
    Did it have carpets, curtains maybe a fridge or a washing machine?
    Was it nicely decorated?

    When you rent a private property you’d expect most of these things.

    You don’t get them in a council property. You have to pay for them yourself.
    You may be lucky and get a grant, or a short term emergency loan to buy essentials that you then have to pay back.
    But then private renting is mostly on short term tenancies whilst council/HA properties are secure long term tenancies so some people, but not all people, invest in their property.

    I was in a property last week assessing a person for a Discretionary Housing Payment to cover the shortfall caused by the bedroom tax. The lady who’d been renting It for 17 years had replaced doors, skirting boards, new bathroom, landscaped the gardens etc.
    She said she’d “invested her life” in that house and would lose it all if she couldn’t keep up with her £20 per week shortfall.

    So yes the evidence is there if you cared to look.

    But you’re probably too blinded trying to defend the indefensible.

  • HB Tone – yes, I have been in plenty of council houses.

    All of the ones on the estate where I live have recently had new kitchens and bathrooms fitted through the Decent Homes Standard. Last year, the exteriors of all properties on the estate were redecorated, a good bit of which was paid for by leaseholders.

    The council gives tenants plenty – not least the house itself – and yet many tenants are still happy to use their front gardens as a rubbish tip.

    So we’ll have to agree to disagree about the ‘evidence’, because I have ‘cared to look’, and where I live, very few council tenants look after their properties.

  • Mark Yeates 14th Sep '13 - 9:19pm

    I rarely get incensed in these discussion but @Will Mann – are you really a Lib Dem? Where did this vicious generalisation of council tenants come from?
    I was for my part a town councillor in the mid to late 90s, the ward had some of the most deprived areas in my town, The council properties were for the most part well kept and maintained. I also speak as one who was brought up on a council estate, my mother and father bought the carpets, we decorated the flat once a year (a nagging mother), the majority of the maintenance was completed by myself or my father.

    In fact from feedback I had as a councillor and as an advocate dealing with mental health issues, the private rented sector is the one that seriously needs to be regulated. Lazy landlords and high priced rents,

    The failure of this policy is that it is indefensible and that it is ill thought out. There isn’t enough housing stock for tenants to size down, and that this policy is just wrong on every possible level as a social liberal.

  • Alex Harvey 14th Sep '13 - 9:50pm

    Will Mann, you are a disgrace to the group we call ‘Human Beings’.

    You should be ashamed.

  • Martin Caffrey 14th Sep '13 - 10:44pm

    I suspect that Mr Mann has been in a lot of council houses because I believe him to be a bailiff!

    Or perhaps a loan shark.

  • Pensioners aren’t the only ones exempt. People not on benefits are allowed however many bedrooms. Those with enough money are given up to £75,000 subsidy to buy it.

    Other reasons:

    Its retrospective

    Its driven at least 2 people to suicide already

    Its happening at the same time as new subsidies are being given for people to buy their home and also to “safeguard people’s inheritance”. So they get a whole second home when their parent dies rather than paying for care.

    People who’ve lived in a house (as long as 51 years) have payed rent enough over the years to build a whole new social house for other people – now they’re being made to suffer for governments neglecting to build more social housing. Many have had their place far longer than a 25 year mortgage.

    Its discusting to make children of opposite sexes in particular share a bedroom regardless of what their parents think.

    I could go on and on… The measure is vile.

  • A Social Liberal 15th Sep '13 - 12:15am

    My housing association has just had a best garden competition. Not just because they want to reward tenants for putting a lot of hard work into their gardens, but because the HA doesn’t want to be seen just as an organisation that badgers the odd tenant that doesn’t keep their garden up to scratch.

    Why do I mention this? Because nearly all councils and HAs have a clause in their contracts that force tenants to be responsible for the care of their property – inside and out

  • Jonathan Brown 15th Sep '13 - 1:33am

    Hear hear! Excellent and succinct article Ruwan!

    My experience some years ago of interviewing council tenants in London and Hull revealed a huge diversity in how much people looked after their houses, and also a huge diversity in how nice or disgusting those houses were before they moved in. No amount of cleaning and putting decent carpet down can disguise rotting walls and water dripping from the ceiling.

  • One of the LibDem ministers, (I forget which), came out with the “never hurt me” line on siblings sharing a room. One size fits all. Well, I had my own room till aged 11- and then had to share with my brother. And we hated each other after that. If you’ve always shared a room – that’s one circumstance. And then, if you’re made to have one later – that’s another.

    Children are egocentric. Verbal abuse amongst siblings (and other child relationships) is universal in our culture. Physical bullying very common. And there’s sexual abuse amongst siblings as well. Along with a sea change in the availability of pornography and children being exposed to it. But a nearly 10 year old and his 3 year old sibling of the opposite sex must now share a room under this policy. If you’re sharing a room with someone, there is no escape from the power-hold they might have over you, or any respite.

    Even if you accept the Stalinist rules of ages and bedroom sharing, there isn’t the mobility in the social housing sector for people to upsize and downsize when their children cross the magical age bands. Nor can people on benefits afford to keep moving.

  • Stephen W – that’s a taste of the amount of anger there is over this. The LibDems and the Tories are absolutely hated because of this policy by the people’s who’s lives they are destroying. Much angrier things are said in the comment section of the newspapers. And I mean hate, real hate.

  • Helen Dudden 15th Sep '13 - 8:17am

    I left the Party after 21 years, even getting Don Foster elected with others, to replace an MP and Government dishing up things like the above. We worked like nothing else.

    Don, this breaks my heart what is happening. Cruel thoughtless laws, legal aid, family law, children who have lost the rights to legal aid, who, have some serious problems. Affordable Rents, what else can I say. Although a social housing tenant I do support legal issues.

    Some housing here, in the social sector could do with something. The right to buy was never the right thing to do.

    Petitions by your councilors not to allow building. Not all social housing tenants will have homes that are sadly looked after, that is narrow minded ideas.

    My flat getting very cold now and damp.

  • “The LibDems and the Tories are absolutely hated because of this policy by the people’s who’s lives they are destroying.”

    I suspect the Lib Dems have already given up on these people, electorally speaking – have written off most “Labour-facing” seats and are putting all their efforts into courting middle-class votes in the Lib Dem/Tory marginals. That will be much harder without Labour tactical votes though, and I still can’t really see why people should support an imitation Tory party rather than the real thing.

  • Julian Dean 15th Sep '13 - 9:41am

    Good article but most if not all the points raised were apparent before the legislation was pushed through so why did the party back the tories on this one?

  • Laudable and sensible article but not a fat chance of the policy being overturned when Clegg is publicly supporting taxpayers money propping up the housing market: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24099255

    The fact that this is a priority for him in conference week says it all.

  • Paul in Twickenham 15th Sep '13 - 11:39am

    Nick Clegg this morning on the Andrew Marr show: “we are nowhere near to an unsustainable housing bubble”.

    Would one of the Clegg loyalists care to try justifying this statement?

  • Well I can’t agree with this article, there are fundamental flaws with the policy but to assume it is some kind of act of hatred against people who live in social housing. The aim of the policy to encourage more people to move between properties ensures more effective use of the properties.

    The fundamental weaknesses of the policy are twofold:

    Firstly; there are many specific weaknesses, e.g. it is rushed the lack of requirement for identifying alternative accommodation.

    Secondly; there is no strategic approach to this. No corresponding attempt to increase movement among those in the owner occupier population, abolish stamp duty, LVT, improve competition in estate agents market etc. There is a lack of concerted effort to improve house building to resolve the supply driver of current problems.

  • Good article. The bedroom tax is pernicious and applied retrospectively. As for the state of council houses and their tenants. This form of social housing has undergone massive changes over the years. Houses are allocated according to a point system, which means they tend to be occupied by vulnerable people according to need rather. This means that a lot of tenants may have mental health issues or other problems. Most owner occupiers are fit, in work and have the money to improve their properties.

  • Helen Dudden 15th Sep '13 - 4:38pm

    So that is why no one in the Lib Dems are interested in problems with social housing, we are not included in your game plan.

  • Psi The weaknesses you identify are quite true. What seems to underlie them is a willingness to shape policy in response to widespread prejudice effectively peddled by most of the right wing press. This origin can be seen not just in the bedroom tax, but most of the other benefit changes brought in by this Government. As genuine liberals, we find it difficult to accept.

  • Steve Chapman 15th Sep '13 - 11:56pm

    You refer to ‘the Government’ several times – this is you – all good points – this is what you have been perfectly happy doing to us. Shame on you all!

  • Steve Chapman 16th Sep '13 - 12:52am

    The fact that you are only now considering the effects of these policies – that you have been perfectly happy propping them up without considering these factors demonstrates exactly what this party is about and what really matters to you – to think that I voted for you. This betrayal runs too deep – at the first chance you’ve lowered your pants and bent over for the Tories, you must be so proud

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 16th Sep '13 - 9:37am

    Steve, you state “…‘the Government’ several times – this is you…” well you note and hopefully be pleased that it is people from within the Party that are robustly challenging it, as we did over the attempt by the Leaders of the Coalition to decimate the Equality Act.

  • Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera’s article presents a succinct critique of the iniquitous and inequitable Bedroom Tax. I agree with the author and with comments which support him.

    It is a vile and (via anagram) evil tax. It exploits the most disadvantaged people in society. Yes, it exploits everybody, whether they are able-bodied or not; parents or not. Why? Because there are few, if any, smaller homes to which the cruelly taxed can relocate.

    I am at a loss to understand why our LibDem parliamentarians failed to resist Bedroom Tax all the way to the final vote. Being part of a coalition does not require all LD MPs and peers to surrender every vestige of moral and social decency and dignity.

  • As one of those affected by the bedroom tax I applaud the Lib Dems apparent awakening to the problems this policy has caused and is still causing to so many people. Our home is adapted, at considerable cost to the public purse, so that my Husband can move around our home with a little independence. There will always be good and bad in both private and social housing occupants. I pride myself in keeping our house as nicely decorated as I can and the garden is always kept tidy. Since this policy came into force we have felt like sitting ducks in our own home. It’s not great feeling like a second class citizen just because we have one extra bedroom in our house. Which incidentally is used for several weeks a year for my stepchildren to visit and stay. I do hope that now this vote has been taken that some pressure will be brought to bare on the government to repeal this nasty policy.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Sep '13 - 11:26pm

    2. An extra bedroom is not an extravagance if you need additional space for medical equipment, a room for carers to sleep in or live in a household where an ill person is too unwell to sleep in the same room as their partner and to do so would negatively affect the health and wellbeing of both.

    Well, that’s all very nice for those who were lucky enough to get social housing allocation to accommodate their extra need in the first place. What about all those families who have been unable to get a social housing to meet very definite needs due to what little 3 or 4 bedroom social housing is left after right-to-buy often being hogged by tenants who don’t have such a desperate need for it? Why is it their needs are being COMPLETELY IGNORED in this debate?

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Sep '13 - 11:29pm

    Nick Clegg this morning on the Andrew Marr show: “we are nowhere near to an unsustainable housing bubble”.

    Nowhere near? What planet is this man living in? We are in a ridiculously stupid and enormously damaging housing bubble. Ending this bubble ought to be the number 1 priority of ANY decent politician who aspires to govern this country in the needs of all its people rather than in the needs of the wealthy few who benefit from this bubble.

  • Steve Chapman 16th Sep '13 - 11:35pm

    Matthew, the properties that you speak of are in the main part lived in by pensioners who are exempt from the policy

  • Steve Chapman 16th Sep '13 - 11:42pm

    R Uduwerage-Perera – I responded to your reply but for some reason it’s flagged up. The equalities vote LibDems abstained, the vote was to scrap it. Yes. Great example there. Fantastic work. Was anyone under the impression that abstaining was any different to ‘yes’ with the numbers in this parliament? That is your idea of a robust challenge – it’s my idea of sitting on the fence while the population get’s a raw deal

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Sep '13 - 11:43pm

    David White

    I am at a loss to understand why our LibDem parliamentarians failed to resist Bedroom Tax all the way to the final vote.

    Horrible though it is, it is a sad consequence of the way the guarantee of sufficient social housing for all those in need was taken away by the combination of the “right to buy” and financial restrictions making it almost impossible for new social housing to be built which have been in place since the mid 1980s. We simply do not have enough social housing to come anywhere near meeting even the most desperate needs. Can people saying how wrong the spare bedroom subsidy is (sorry, it is NOT a tax), please tell me why we are supposed to weep for those who can’t stay in houses with their spare bedrooms due to it, but not for those who need those spare bedrooms and would get them if the houses were vacated by those who have less need for them?

    I don’t agree at all with the heartless way this has been implemented, that is just ending the subsidy without any sort of plan for re-housing those who find that because of this they can no longer pay their rent. However, to those who cannot see both sides of the argument, please try being a councillor whose surgery time is often spent telling people in desperately crowded circumstances “No, because you have a roof over your head, there is nothing I can do. You will NEVER get a three-bedroomed council house”.

  • Steve Chapman 16th Sep '13 - 11:56pm

    Could I ask, what work has been done to rectify the £11 billion per anum in benefits that goes unclaimed? All of that help for struggling families that goes unclaimed? Surely this is a travesty that demands immediate attention, I wonder why the Government ignores this along with the £40 billion conservative estimate for tax evasion. Let’s hammer those with a box room instead! Yeah! That’s why I voted

  • Steve Chapman 17th Sep '13 - 12:05am

    Matthew Huntbach – you need somewhere for these people to go to – we have been told there is a 3 year wait for 2-bedroom properties in our area! Surprised you haven’t harked to the official line – see http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/regulation/leaked-email-outlines-bedroom-tax-defence-for-lib-dems/6528594.article?PageNo=2&SortOrder=dateadded&PageSize=10#comments

  • Susan Gates 17th Sep '13 - 1:14am

    With regard to those in overcrowded conditions. I asked under the FOI act for details on one bed accommodation available from our housing provider. In the week I asked there were 17 one bed properties waiting to be let. Waiting for those 17 were 1,348 who like us are considered to be under occupying their homes. In addition there were over 3,000 on the waiting list for one bed properties. Over 4,000 to move into 17. That’s why there will always be people in overcrowded accommodation. There are not enough properties for people to downsize in and that is the same in every area in the country. It will take years for everyone who allegedly should downsize to do so, in the mean time there are people in extremely difficult situations financially. Remember a lot of people paying the subsidy are low paid workers, the strivers that the government keeps talking about. Who need just a little help with paying their rent. Our housing provider is finding it difficult to let 3 bedroom properties because people are worried about having to pay the Bedroom Tax as their family changes. There is even talk of demolishing some in a years time if they have not been able to rent them out. This country needs more social housing built I think everyone is agreed on that point. Implementing the Bedroom Tax and keeping it is making more people fall into extreme poverty than ever before.

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Sep '13 - 12:30pm

    Steve Chapman

    Matthew Huntbach – you need somewhere for these people to go to – we have been told there is a 3 year wait for 2-bedroom properties in our area!

    Yes, I’m aware of that, that is why I wrote “I don’t agree at all with the heartless way this has been implemented, that is just ending the subsidy without any sort of plan for re-housing those who find that because of this they can no longer pay their rent.” I am not at conference this week (could not afford it), but if I were I would have voted against ending the spare bedroom subsidy on those grounds.

    BTW, I will continue to call it that because I’m against misuse of language. Sorry, but withdrawing a subsidy is NOT a tax. Calling it “bedroom tax” is as ridiculous as using the term “Children tax” to mean not paying child benefit to people who don’t have children. A genuine bedroom tax would work by making EVERYONE who is in possession of a bedroom they don’t need pay a sum of money to government.

    The point is, people just don’t seem to be aware of how serious the housing crisis is. When our leaders say “Oh there’s no housing bubble”, that’s a HUGE INSULT to the masses of people in this country who are hugely affected by the housing bubble that has been blown up over the years. Those who proposed ending the subsidy to spare bedrooms just don’t seem to have realised that those who could no longer pay for their accommodation after that did not have easy access smaller social accommodation to walk into. Those who argue against ending the subsidy seem to have ignored the very real issue of those with the spare bedrooms leaving people with MORE actual need in even more dire situations.

    All this goes back to the policy of selling off council housing without replacing it which was initiated by the Thatcher government. As with much else that government did, a policy which looked good in the short term, but had very predictable disastrous long-term consequences. Yet STILL this policy is put forward, see all the stuff written about it on the death of Margaret Thatcher, as some sort of triumph. Now we are seeing the home-owning family-oriented society it was meant to create is being destroyed by it – home ownership is going down, people are being forced into private renting, family life is being destroyed by the way so few people can get housing of their own.

    To me, having a home of your own which does not consume your entire spare income and where you know you have long-term possession of it is freedom. Whether you actually own it or rent it is not the important issue. So getting rid of council housing did not significantly expand freedom, since it just gave people long-term possession they already had – but it did in the long-term lead to a huge denial of freedom, given the way it meant so many of the next generation did not have the freedom of social housing which their parents enjoyed.

  • Thank you, Matthew Huntbach, for your response to my comment.

    I agree with you, wholeheartedly, about the shortage of social housing since the Thatcher government introduced ‘right-to-buy’ for council tenants accompanied by ‘denial-to-build’ for local authorities. It has taken far too long for even some of us to realise that, among the many awful things donated to us by Thatcherism, the acute shortage of social housing must be No.1 – well, mustn’t it?

    As many comments, including mine, have pointed out, there is a severe lack of small social housing units into which those tenants who are considered as under-occupiers can move. Meanwhile, we have Messrs Osborne, Pickles and Shapps encouraging an owner-occupier housing price ‘bubble’, courtesy of the taxpayers. Last week, I heard Mr Shapps state that the increase in ‘affordable housing’ would enable under-occupiers of rented homes to downsize. Oh yes? So how are people who can’t afford the Bedroom Tax to find a deposit and a mortgage which will allow them to buy a smaller, ‘affordable’ home?

    Am I overly unkind to wonder if Mr Shapps and I inhabit the same planet? I hope so!

  • Easy way to solve housing crisis and poverty:

    Build lots of apartments and put a covenant on them, stating that they cannot be sold on for more than they were originally bought for (plus inflation) and can only be bought buy those classed as in need, but employed. These apartments would be sold at cost price and would be very affordable (circa £30,000 for a 2 bed in london, with a 100 year lease). This will allow most poor families to own their own home, giving great positivity in their lives and a willingness to work, knowing that there is something to strive for, even on a minimum wage. The government would facilitate the mortgage, which would have lenient terms and be interest free. Only working families need apply. A job can be offered if necessary, and a condition of the ownership would be that you take the job offered to you if you fail to get your own employment within a 6 month period, otherwise eviction proceedings will occur.

    – Gives hope to poor working class families
    – Increases employment (Low wages will no longer be useless and jobs can be provided as a condition of ownership)
    – Greatly reduces long term dependancy on the state with regards to housing benefit.
    – Owners will eventually become more afluent as they repay the mortgage
    – 100 year lease will be long enough for owner’s lifetime, yet ensures housing stock is restored to government, or lease renewed for next generation.
    – property is removed from the main housing market and unaffected by house price fluctuations. Houses can be resold back to the government.

  • My husband and I have been affected by the bedroom tax the conservatives forget that they caused the housing shortage by not building more homes when they sold them off to council ten nets and now we have to suffer for their mistakes I always voted conservative but not any more they sai d they would protect the vulnerable but they have failed my husband worked since he was 14 and in 2009 could no longer work due to his disabilities yes a small minority take advantage of the benefit system but everyone needs a roof over their heads and people are suffering we have had to cut back on food and gas and electric what with increasing prices how do they expect people to manage? We have under the amount the law says we need to live on we don’t claim ESA yet we get penalised yet it will only get worse when they start giving the ten nets the rent to pay their selves how many alcoholics ,drug abusers and people in debt are going to pay their rent? And more to the point there is no mention on how much it costs to implement these changes

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 19th Sep '13 - 7:50pm

    Call it what you wish: The imposition of bedroom tax or removal of spare room subsidy, the impact of this vicious policy, on individuals, neighbourhoods and communities, is what matters.

    The almost universally supportive reactions from fellow LDs has been humbling. However this peevish policy is only the beginning in a series of cuts that will penalise, erode and challenge social tenants’ lives in the coming months and years. Universal Credit…. Direct Payments… Higher age limits on single room occupation…. Digital only management of benefits… Untried computer system ….

    As grassroots members have very clearly shown the leadership how strongly we feel about the iniquitous tax/subsidy will we further demonstrate our anger and dismay at these equally draconian and divisive measures?

  • MICHAEL PROCTOR 19th Sep '13 - 8:09pm

    Many low paid people have spent on their properties over decades;saving the local council money and keeping to a degree local buisnesses going.I agree with the comment above that the a room is only spare if it is never ever used for anything at all.

  • The spare room penalty as it is actually called is one of the most disgusting pieces of legislation. It can be nothing other than a penalty, it penalises those who are the poorest and most vunerable in society for the failure of successive governments not building new social housing. The Lib Dems will not be forgiven for their complicity. Whilst your conference may have voted to reject the penalty your leader will do no such thing. So you can wring your hands as much as you like it is too little and too late and especially too late for the people who have taken their own lives, been plunged into debt and about to be evicted.

  • They call it a spare bedroom I call it my home.

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 21st Jul '14 - 11:14am

    It would appear that far more people agreed with my personal concerns that were raised last September, especially on the doorsteps, than some in the corridors of power thought!

    It is good to see that within our Party there is room for reflection and change, even if it is apparently 180 degrees and a little late. We should commend this change and not try to destroy people for ultimately doing the right thing.

    Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera

    Liberal Democrat English Party Diversity Champion
    Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrat (EMLD) – Vice Chair
    Newbury Town Council – Councillor for Victoria Ward & Deputy Leader

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