I feel I should congratulate the local Tory MP on his ability to trot off the Government line on the bedroom tax in the Northwich Guardian’s recent article ‘New policy may be cause of lack of housing bids’. Unfortunately, his knowledge of social housing and the brutal effects of bedroom tax on his constituents appear to be woefully lacking.
For decades, housing associations and local authorities have been encouraged to build or acquire two and three bedroom homes. That’s why they account for nearly 70 per cent of all social housing stock. There are simply not that many one bedroom flats and houses outside the major urban areas, much less available to move into.
Many of those people hardest hit by this tax are people whom common sense would not consider to have a spare room at all – children who are expected to share a room, children who stay overnight as part of shared parenting arrangements, using a bedroom to store equipment needed to deal with a disability or medical condition, using a bedroom as part of caring arrangements… the list goes on. All of these hardworking families are expected to find the extra money or find somewhere else to live.
The bedroom tax is both callous and illogical. But don’t take my word for it – when the United Nations special investigator visited back in September, she recommended the bedroom tax be abolished immediately, saying: “I was very shocked to hear how people really feel abused in their human rights by this decision and why – being so vulnerable – they should pay for the cost of the economic downturn, which was brought about by the financial crisis. People in testimonies were crying, saying ‘I have nowhere to go’, ‘I will commit suicide’.”
This is the reality of what people are dealing with in this constituency. It appears that the local Tory MP from his perch in Westminster is miles out of touch.
Julia Tickridge Labour Party Parliamentary candidate for Weaver Vale