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'Bedroom tax' sparks call for housing stock re-think

By Carmarthen Journal  |  Posted: March 13, 2013

Comments (6)

A CARMARTHENSHIRE MP is urging the authority and housing associations to look at reclassifying their housing stock.

Jonathan Edwards, MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, is calling on the county council and other housing operators to take legal advice to see what their options are.

He has made the call ahead of Government plans for a bedroom tax, due to be introduced in April 2013.

Mr Edwards led Plaid Cymru's opposition to the bedroom tax in last week's Plaid/SNP/Green opposition debate in Westminster, coming just 40 votes shy of defeating the Government.

During that debate, Mr Edwards criticised Labour for making the issue a political dividing line between it and the UK Government, but failing to bring a vote on the matter to the House of Commons.

In letters to Carmarthenshire Council's executive board member for housing Tegwen Devichand and to the chief executives of five different housing associations, Mr Edwards said: "Public anger towards this toxic Tory policy is growing day by day.

"I've urged the county council and local housing associations to seriously consider, following the necessary legal advice, whether they are able to reclassify their housing stock to smaller properties in order to mitigate the effects of this proposal."

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6 comments

  • missbuffay  |  March 15 2013, 1:57PM

    Bearing in mind this 'tax' only affects people in receipt of Housing Benefit. I work full time & pay a mortgage for my 2 bed house - I'd love to have more room to have my nieces staying over and perhaps a study as I'm working towards a degree but I can't afford a larger property. Should I expect other people to cover the cost of a larger house for me? Those tenants in their 50's whose children have grown up & moved out could have exercised their right to buy years ago but instead decided to stay in a rented property. This may be the one time I don't disagree with the Government. There are thousands of families in overcrowded & unsuitable properties, crying out for suitably sized houses. However, I agree that there should have been alot more planning & perhaps Housing Associations should have been thinking about building more 1 bed properties before this 'tax' was introduced.

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  • siarad2  |  March 14 2013, 7:53PM

    I live in a 3 bedroom house but no-one has called on me for this tax & as a non tax payer don't fill in tax forms, am I breaking the law not owning up.

  • PJL1967  |  March 14 2013, 12:34PM

    I'm sure most logical thinking people would not regard the instances I quoted as under-occupancy, but the fact of the matter is the Tories and their political fig leaf the Lib Dems insist these instances I quoted are under-occupying their homes and are ploughing ahead with the bedroom tax regardless of the massive problems it will cause. I personally do not know of anyone who has ever been given a larger home than they need by the local authority, except in circumstances where - due to the critical lack of housing - there was nowhere smaller to house them. But assuming you are correct and such things do go on would you agree that if all those people who most would agree should be excluded from the bedroom tax were excluded, there would be no point implementing it, as to impose it on the small minority who perhaps are under occupying their homes would neither free up the number of homes needed or make the anywhere near saving used as justification for implementing it in the first place?

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  • shonis  |  March 14 2013, 11:38AM

    PJL1967 I would not regard the instances you quoted as under occupancy.I know of two instances where one person is living in a three bedroom house and even when they moved in they never needed a house that size. In the past there have been instances where the type of council house you got owes more to who you knew than what you needed.There are also instances where individuals would be prepared to move to a smaller property but no suitable property is available.Hence my comment that there should also be more one bedroom properties built.

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  • PJL1967  |  March 14 2013, 10:45AM

    shonis, take the case of a woman in her 50's living in a 3 bedroom property where she has lived paying rent for 30 years bringing up her family. Her children may have grown up and moved out but her grandchildren regularly stay with her when their parents work shifts and therefore needs the so-called spare rooms. Or take the case of the father of a young girl and older boy who is divorced from his ex-wife but has the children stay over 3 nights a week. He too needs the so-called spare rooms. Indeed there are many other examples where a people living in a home which the government have deemed to big for them that actually need the extra rooms because, for example, someone in the house has a disability and can not share with their partner or sibling. The simple fact of the matter is we need more council housing, rather than imposing financial penalties on those currently living in social housing who the government deem as under-occupying their homes, even though the rooms are actually being used.

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  • shonis  |  March 13 2013, 4:13PM

    Council housing was meant to provide affordable housing for ordinary people. At a time when many with young families are looking for suitable housing it seems wrong for some sometimes one person to occupy a three bedroom house.Linked with this should be a plan to provide more single bedroom housing including more sheltered accommodation.

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