I recently replied to a Southport resident who asked me about my view on the Bedroom Tax. I thought it would be useful to share here:
The “Bedroom Tax” and The Local Housing Allowance do appear to be similar policies on first sight as they do seek to limit the amount of Housing Benefit which is paid towards a property. However, there are significant differences, which is why Labour is not seeking to repeal The Local Housing Allowance.
The first major difference between the two policies is that the “Bedroom Tax” has been implemented in a way which impacts on current tenancy agreements and effectively fines people for having a spare room, yet there are no smaller properties for them to move to. The Local Housing Allowance, was brought in for those who were entering into new rental contracts in private accomodation
Those who are living in council properties or properties belonging to Housing Associations go through a vigorous assessment process which only allows them to bid on houses according to their need, whereas those affected under the Local Housing Allowance are able to choose their properties. This in effect meant that people, who rent privately, were able to rent properties which were not in alignment with their needs. The Local Housing Allowance prevented unscrupulous landlords from charging way above the market rate as they knew that the taxpayer was eventually picking up the bill.
People who live in Housing Association Properties and Council Housing have their rental re-invested in social housing as these are not for profit organisations. Private Landlords make a profit which is taken out of the public purse.
The “Bedroom Tax” has unfairly impacted on those with disabilities. There are many couples who are unable to sleep in the same room as one of them may need a hospital bed and other equipment. Under the rules, their disability is not taken into account and in many cases they are having to find extra money which they don’t have or face eviction. In these circumstances the “Bedroom Tax” has become a fine for being disabled. There is also currently a lack of smaller accommodation for people to move to.
I personally believe that the “Bedroom Tax” is cruel legislation as it has forced people into debt, where they have been trapped as they are unable to move into a smaller property. This is why if become your MP I will be voting to ensure that the “Bedroom Tax” is repealed.
The Labour Party also has policy to help those who are in rental accommodation which you can read about here: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/84352297129/ed-miliband-launches-election-campaign-with-rents