Bedroom tax protest

This week the ever-brilliant Lady Hale delivered the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision against the UK Government and their application of the bedroom tax to at least 155 partners of disabled people. While this is reason to rejoice, what this really highlights is the fundamental flaws with the Bedroom Tax and why it needs to be scrapped entirely.

Introduced by infamous Coalition Government as part of their program to reform welfare which included the shambles which is now Universal Credit and the gift of years of austerity, the Bedroom Tax is still affecting hundreds of thousands of households across the UK who are being penalised through no fault of their own.

We are in the midst of a Housing Emergency, with an acute lack of Social Housing and over a million people on the housing waiting list. Across the whole of the UK, only 6000 social homes were built in 2018 which just shows how little option people have to downsize and move out of their property.

Therefore, it is unfair, unjust and simply unacceptable that the UK Government continues to penalise social housing tenants for having what they deem as an additional bedroom, when there is no alternative accommodation for them to move in to. All this does is force more households into poverty as they have no option to move which has been shown as more than 57,000 people fell behind on their rent just a year after the Bedroom Tax was implemented.

Whilst the UK government has been forced to make a U-Turn and now pay at least 155 households their Housing Benefit entitlement, this should only be the beginning. The government says that there are exemptions to protect the most vulnerable members of society, but even after this week’s ruling, this is sadly not the reality.

The awful and demeaning DWP fit-for-work tests, which robbed over 500,000 disabled people of their disability benefits between 2013 and 2018, already shows how the Government cannot be trusted to deem vulnerability. If they can take away the benefits of those most vulnerable, it is clear to me that there are still many vulnerable people being affected by the Bedroom Tax and this is evidenced by new stories which are heard every day.

The new government needs to scrap the Bedroom Tax immediately and stop punishing the public for this national housing emergency which has been caused by years of government incompetence, ignorance and neglect.

Image credit: Stuart Crawford – Creative Commons