Sunday, May 19, 2024

Polly hits back at Tory policy on ‘bedroom Tax”

LABOUR’S parliamentary candidate for Thurrock, Polly Billington has gone on the attack over a senior Conservative councillor’s defence of the Bedroom Tax.

Last week, cllr Rob Gledhill, Thurrock Conservatives housing spokesman, said: “The most anyone in Council housing with one spare room will have to pay is around £70 per month. There will always be residents like Mrs Twinn who may need extra assistance, which is why the government has given Thurrock a grant of £354,000 to help families who have a particular need. The Labour run Council could boost this by a further £855,000 if it wishes to do so.
However, Labour seems to have forgetten to mention this when they are looking to grab the headlines. Conservative Councillors will continue to help Mrs Twinn with an application for discretionary housing assistance”.

Ms Billington has responded by saying:

“I am disappointed but not surprised by Cllr Gledhill’s response on the bedroom tax. £70 may not sound like a lot to him but it is to many of the families who are being affected. Some, because of other changes will have to find more, whilst some of the poorest are facing this – the highest earners are getting a tax cut?

The hardship fund is only for short term relief, and those who can’t move house will be permanently worse off. Despite the best efforts of the council to house everyone who is affected and can downsize, many people simply won’t be able to find a smaller home. If they do it could be in the private sector – which is likely to cost more for them and for the taxpayer.

Cllr Gledhill should accept where the responsibility lies for this: the Tory-led government which he and Jackie Doyle-Price supports. I still think that most people want fairness – and taking money from the poorest and giving it to the richest doesn’t seem fair to anyone – other than Tory MPs!

In this week when Thurrock foodbank is raising awareness of the help they give people struggling to feed their families, his comments show just how out of touch the Tories are.”


  1. Well said, Polly!

    Of course, Tory sympathisers don’t think about the implications of the Bedroom Tax because most, if not all of them, won’t be personally affected by it. As Ms Billington pointed out, some people may be forced into the private sector to find smaller homes and that will cost the taxpayer more in the long run.

    However, let the Tories and their minions have their way and watch welfare spending increase exponentially. IDS has already had to confess that the Government is not cutting the welfare bill, merely controlling it.

  2. The only people to benefit from Bedroom tax is private landlords. There are not enough properties so people can downsize so their going to the private sector, this will cost government in the long run
    e.g. My 100% housing benefit £84 = 3 bed adapted house. LHA £91 = 1 bedroom.
    It doesn’t take a mathematician to work out an added cost of £7 to local authorities benefits section.

  3. The Discretionary Housing Payment fund also has to help those in the private rented sector in severe financial hardship, those impacted by the benefits cap and those impacted by the bedroom tax.

    The DHP fund will only help 5% of those whose rent has been reduced and it is only meant to be a short term solution.

  4. Beth58 – You’re absolutely right there. It’s a pity more people don’t see what’s happening.

    Ed – You’re right there. The discretionary fund is going to ne forced to stretch too thinly and is already reported to be £100m short in the first place.

  5. Total DHP figure is £150m for 2013/14 of which:

    £60m or 40% is for private tenants shortfall in Local Housing Allowance (LHA)
    £65m or 43% is for private and social tenant shortfalls from the overall benefit cap (56% are private tenants and 44% social), leaving
    £25m or 17% for social tenant shortfalls from the bedroom tax.

    £475 million is the savings from the introduction of the Bedroom Tax.

    Politicians when confronted by cases of hardship that their policies have caused, almost parrot like, tell people that there are generous DHP funds available to help such cases and it is the responsibility of the Local Authority to help those impacted.

    Yet the figures above show only £25 million has been allocated to plug a £475 million cut so the DHP is just a tiny sticking plaster. The overwhelming majority of people who apply for DHP will be turned down as it needs to be allocated to the most severe cases.

  6. Dear Ms Billington,

    Please wind your neck in. It is an undisputable fact that the current top rate of income tax (45%) is higher than at any time during Labour’s tenure – save for the last three weeks, when Gordon Brown cynically rasied it to 50% despite knowing that revenues would likely decrease.

    I think history will judge the Tories to be on the right side of the welfare debate. Of course you’ll always find seom people disproportionately affected by one welfare change or another, but very very few people are disabled to the extent that they aren’t capable of working, or making a contribution to society in one form or another.

    Good luck with the canvassing. I’m sure your script will play well with a significant minority of Thurrock society, but for the majority of grafters……..

  7. Ed – Thanks for the statistics. Very illuminating.

    The Contrarian – Why don’t you just e-mail Ms Billington with your views? I’m sure she could do with a laugh.

    And wasn’t the top rate cut to 40% a couple of weeks ago? Strangely, exactly as the Tories set it back in 1988. Further proof that the Tories are taking us back in time AND that the current lot have absolutely no original ideas of their own on the economy. Perhaps it’s time for Osborne to admit he’s a fraud and get someone in who can do the job.

  8. VMC,

    Why bother when I can expose her ridiculousness on an open forum? I find it curious that the only statistics you praise are the ones that suit your agenda.

    Just for the record (and you’d do well to conduct some research) the top rate of tax was – in the last three weeks of the labour government, increased from 40% to 50%. This was done for political reasons and didn’t rasie an extra penny. The Tory’s (having walked into a fairly obvious trap) have reduced the top rate by 5p to 45%, which is still 5% higher than it was in all but the last three weeks of the labour governemnt. Now do you understand? Given that you’ve probably never had to pay tax at such a punitive rate, you probably don’t much care about the different bands. That’s why a flat tax (with a presonal allowance of course) would be the most equitable way of doing things.

    The notion that the current lot don’t have any original ideas is laughable. The “bedroom tax”, universal credit, university funding changes………

    What you mean is that they don’t have any original ideas which you agree with! I’ve posted on a number of these forums and I always suggest how things should be done differently. You simply wish to maintain the status-quo; nevermind that someone else is paying the bill. Your views are shaped by naked self-interest. Shame on you.

  9. The Tories are terrible at PR. New Labour were brilliant at it. Labour have managed to convince some of the public that millionaires are getting a tax cut. They make out that British millionaires are in such large numbers that it is totally unfair.

    The first difference is that millionaires work for their fortune. It is not claimed from the taxpayer. Many millionaires in the UK create jobs as they start businesses etc. Labour know this which is why they were quick to whine and dine the city during the Blair years. If you tax millionaires a sky high rate they will simply move their companies abroad and there goes British jobs. Again Labour know this fact. Labour also know that their 50p tax rate netted this country nothing. It was done to allow them to spout the line ‘a tax cut for millionaires’ at the Tories as they knew they would lose the 2010 General Election.

    While working in the public sector is admirable, especially as doctors, teachers, care workers etc we need private enterprise and the best way to get that is to have a competitive tax system which doesn’t rest too heavily on the wealthy. The more money they have in their pockets, the more potential jobs they will create which will benefit society (as well as the economy) a great deal more than those who, by choice, have consigned themselves (as well as their family in some cases) to a life of state dependancy.

    I have to say I’m not a fan of a flat tax though as I think it will still sting the low earners more.

  10. The Contrarian – The statistics I look up are the Government’s own statistics. You’re making yourself look a fool.

    You also accuse me of picking statistics that back up my view. Well, what do you think the Government does? In fact, Iain Duncan Smith has actually made up statistics to back up his assault on the people who rely on benefits so don’t try to hold the Tories up as having the high ground I’m that respect. Of course, you’re a gullible fool who takes Tory propaganda at face value.

    As for them having no original ideas, they haven’t. The bedroom tax is a revised and targeted version of the poll tax, the 40p tax rate was brought in by Thatcher’s administration in 1988 (that’s 25 years ago in case you’re as ridiculously stupid at maths as you are at constructing an argument), the cuts being made across the board in the public sector are the same as those made by Thatcher’s administration in 1988, universal credit is a badly packaged lumping together of poorly thought-out brainstormed ideas THAT CHANGES DAILY BECAUSE THEY CAN’T MAKE IT WORK.

    And, you arrogant fool, I’ll repeat this one last time: I’M NOT AFFECTED BY THE BEDROOM TAX SO THERE’S NO NAKED SELF-INTEREST IN IT FOR ME! I hold my view of the bedroom tax because I have a social conscience – not because it affects me and certainly not because I hold to left-wing views.

    Finally, have the common decency to refer to me by my full screen name as I do for you or don’t engage with me at all.

  11. Bernard87 – The tax rate dropping will, in fact, mean that the millionaires in the UK will be paying less tax – effectively a tax cut. Yes, there may not be as many millionaires in the UK as people think; however, the revenue that can be raised by even that small amount of people would be considerable. I would say though that I believe you underestimate the number of high earners in the UK.

    Thank you for your final sentence though.

  12. The tax system is so complex that it always ends up penalising one group or another. I do not like the logic that some people have where they think just because someone is wealthy they should be taxed an inordinate amount of money. I just think doing that is counterproductive as the more money the rich have in their pockets the more likely they are to pump it back into the economy. This could be by buying property, investing in companies or simply spending it in shops. I’m also dubious about what governments (of any colour) would then do with any extra revenue (if there is any that is).

    “however, the revenue that can be raised by even that small amount of people would be considerable”

    The problem was having a high tax rate for the rich is that it wasn’t generating anything as those who were supposed to pay it were simply avoiding it. That is exactly what happened in the 70s which led to Britain going cup in hand to the IMF.

    I suppose it’s a bit of a balancing act. At least this government have raised the personal tax allowance which will help the vast majority of people. I’d like to see it raised further to 12k so someone who earns 1k a month can take all that money home rather than being taxed on it.

    Going back to the bedroom tax, I do think that we need local authorities and private landlords to have more agreements together. You see so many private properties up for rent and many sit empty for ages. More landlords should be incentivised to rent their property to the council, at a much lower rate, but they have the security that the property will always be let and any repairs could be done in partnership with the council. I know this is already in place in many parts of the UK but it would be good to see it massively expanded. It’s not that Britain has a shortage of properties, it’s that properties in private hands are too expensive.

  13. Getting back to Polly’s comments-
    “I am disappointed but not surprised by Cllr Gledhill’s response on the bedroom tax. £70 may not sound like a lot to him but it is to many of the families who are being affected”.

    It obviously doesnt sound like a lot to her either, otherwise she wouldn’t have needed to exagerate it to £150.00 per month?

  14. Valen (Myles) Cook,

    “The bedroom tax is a revised and targeted version of the poll tax” Have you seriously lost the plot? I cannot even begin to bother do reply to that. What utter tosh!

    I’m also not sure what point your making regarding the introduction of the 40p rate. I was pointing out that the rate was increased during the final three weeks of the last labour government and that the rate we have now (including this “tax cut for millionaires”) is higher than at any point – save for those last three weeks of the labour administration. now do you understand, or do I have to boil it down further?

    I’d have had more respect for labour if they had (upon coming to power) increased the higher rate straight away.

    My comment about your naked self interest stems from an assumption I made (perhaps wrongly, but let’s see) that you are a net recipient of benefits and that you’re happy to rumble on as long as someone else is paying the bill. It wasn’t specifically related to this so-called bedroom tax.

    With regards to the flat tax, my suggestion that we maintain personal allowances (and in doing so retain a degree of progressivness) sort of renders any charge that it would affect the poor disproportinately pointless.

    I loved your penultimate sentence in your reply to Bernard87: “….you underestimate the number of high earners in the UK.”

    The key word there old chap is EARNERS. A concept you’re probably not too familiar with. You seem to think that the word reads “DONORS”

    Now, go away and study the Laffer Curve and come back when you’re ready to have a proper and informed discussion. You mug.

    That last bit was in retaliation for you calling me a fool. Purile I know, but it felt good. You mug.

  15. The Contrarian – Well, if you don’t understand then you should look at the bedroom tax legislation together with the other changes regarding housing and localisation and you’ll see what I’m referring to. I’m not going to spell it out for you because I’ve wasted enough energy on you already.

    I was using the 40p tax rate as an example of the current Government not having any original ideas of their own as it is exactly what the Thatcher Government did in 1988, proof, if any were needed, that you lack the comprehension to follow an argument. That being the case, the rest of your comment on that is irrelevant although I agree that Labour were making a pathetic attempt to gain favour with a disenchanted electorate.

    How dare you make such an assumption that I’m happy to live on benefits, you pompous oaf. Or that I’m “happy torumble on as long as someone else is paying the bill”. I may be on a benefit but I get very little help from the State despite being eligible for more help than I have ever received. All of that is basically irrelevant though as I was discussing the bedroom tax and only the bedroom tax – yet another comprehension mistake on your part.

    As I didn’t discuss the flat rate issue you cover in that paragraph, I’ll decline to respond to that part. Thanks, I’m glad you like part of my comments. “The key word there old chap is EARNERS. A concept you’re probably not too familiar with.” What an ignorant insulting piece of garbage you are! Until I became ill, I worked all the hours I possibly could to provide for my family and have tried everything I possibly can to make myself employable but, when you have been out of work with a mental health problem for a significant amount of time, it is nigh on impossible to convince a prospective employer that you won’t be off sick all the time. “You seem to think that the word reads “DONORS””. Again, another ignorant puerile comment that just shows what a small-minded prig you truly are.

    OK, let’s discuss the Laffer Curve – as I haven’t had much chance to look at a diagram for a while, I looked up a copy on the web, none of which had numerical notations; however, from what I could tell from the tiny graphics on the small screen of my mobile ‘phone, the highest revenue yield comes from about the 50% rate. This could be a mistake on my part but, as I only have small graphs to look at, I have to go with what I can glean from the available material. That said, however, the Laffer Curve comes in many variants, one of which indicates that the highest revenue yield comes from a 70% top rate so if you insist on using the Laffer Curve, let’s use that version. I’m sure your Tory masters would thank you for that!

    Yes, it was puerile but then that’s what I expect from you anyway.

  16. The following quote is from a Facebook group (I have no idea whether it holds any water but it is something to think about):

    “I don’t know how much this is true about the
    Councils but:

    “It would seem that councils are in a state of
    panic over their application of the BT being in
    breach of article 8 of the ECHR…everyone must
    keep on at them about this and keep appealing
    on the basis of this!”

    ECHR Article 8 is:

    Article 8 – Right to respect for private and
    family life

    1. Everyone has the right to respect for his
    private and family life, his home and his

    2. There shall be no interference by a public
    authority with the exercise of this right except
    such as is in accordance with the law and is
    necessary in a democratic society in the
    interests of national security, public safety or
    the economic well-being of the country, for the
    prevention of disorder or crime, for the
    protection of health or morals, or for the
    protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

  17. No council is in a panic over challeges under the ECHR.

    If someone appeals using ECHR then this will just be passed to a first tier tribunal for a decision. There is plenty of case law and guidance from similar appeal when the previous Labour Government introduced LHA for private tenants.

    Councils just implement the legislation handed down from the Government.

    If the legislation changes due to a succesful appeal then the new legislation will apply.

  18. I can’t remember if i’ve asked you this before Myles…

    What would be your ideas to reduce the welfare bill, including housing benefit?

    You have put a consistantly clear argument across for why you do not like the BT but I’ve heard nothing about reducing the ridiculous amounts we spend on welfare.

    It has to be cut somehow. Whoever is in government after 2015 will have to continue to cut it although they may dress this up for the electorate.

    My view is simple. This country will go nowhere if a large proportion of its (able bodied, work age) population are relying on the State to live.

  19. Does Sister Polly ever expect anyone on benefits to get a job or is it going to be the usual Labour policy of a benefits free for all for anyone that cares to take that lifestyle choice if the Labour party win the next general election. We already know they intend to spend the country into bankruptcy again. So if they win the next election just pick up where we left off in 2010. Great can’t wait.

  20. NoVoice – Living on benefits is only a ‘lifestyle choice’ for a very small minority of claimants; the rest of us need them to survive whilst we are genuinely needy.

    It may interest you to know the following: when Labour took power in the late 90s, the Tories had left them with a deficit in the region of 40-50%; Labour left a deficit in 2010 of between 30-40%. I wonder why the Tories aren’t advertising that fact? Or that the deficit has increased since they took power in 2010? Could it possibly be because they don’t want people to know that they’re economically incompetent?

    I don’t suppose you’ll believe the above fact but I have to point out these errors when I see them – for the sake of political balance and the truth.

  21. VMC public debt in 2010 was £760 billion and GDP was about 1.5 Trillion so I make that a ratio of debt to GDP of just over 50%. When Labour came to power it was 40% as you say. The borrowing requirement in 1998 was £22 billion and in Labour’s first 4 years when Blair famously said he was going to continue Tory spending policies they were actually running surpluses by 1999. Every year after the 2001 election the borrowing requiremt was never less than 30 billion a year. In 2008 the difference between income and spending was £150 billion a year and rising every year.

    Labour employed their usual policy of spending and taxing in the assumption that GDP would increase every year to cover it. Public sector spending is not a wealth creator although it can create jobs just so long as the money keeps rolling in to pay for it. As we all know it didn’t which is why they left us with a structural debt of £150 billion a year. That has to be cut or we need growth of 10% a year for several years to get it under control. Even Labour couldn’t spend that much to create that type of growth.

    The fact is there are hundreds of thousands of people out there that chosse benefits over work becasue benefits provide a standard of living they can’t achieve by working. That is a failure of all the main parties but particularly Labour because they flooded the country with low skilled Labour which dragged down wages of millions of people to the minimum wage level which has now been accepted as the norm becasue employers have millions of people to choose from. So Labour rewarded the fat cats at the expense of the lowest paid in society. They were a failure to the very people they purport to represent the most. That is called the benefits trap and Labour are fond of it because it keeps the poorest in society voting for them while Labour blame the bosses, banks and the evil Tories for their failures.

    I’ll always support and would even support higher benefits for those that truly were in need. I personally think that unemployment benefit should be at least 80% of a persons last wage for at least a year until that person can find another job. Unfortunately that scheme is now failing in Scandanavia where it is widely used becasue people are abusing it. The bedroom tax is a ridiculous idea but it is only an extension of a policy Labour introduced in the private rented sector so again who’s the real culprit here. How much social housing did Labour build in it’s thirteen years in power.

    There were far too many Labour failures for them to claim their time in office was a success. As usual the Tories will get the blame becasue they’ve got to pick up the pieces. History does repeat itself. Now they are saying they are going to do the same again. One of the reasons I am going to buy a property abroad because they will truly sink this country if they repeat their last 9 years in office.

  22. Dear No Voice.

    A couple of things!

    1) Never EVER refer to your correspondent as “VMC” He doesn’t like it.
    2) Never EVER EVER use facts and figures to support your argument.

    I find little to disagree with in your arguments. The influx of cheap migrant labour had the added benefit of keeping wage inflation (in everyhere but the state sector) under control.

  23. A fantastic post by NoVoice. I have often thought if people did not abuse the system so much, or be allowed to live off the State for ever more than there would be more money for pensioners, people who have been made redundant who have worked for years, child benefit for the first couple children for everyone etc.

    Subsidising everything is a paramount socialist ideal as it keeps people in their place, which is the main aim of socialism.

  24. NoVoice – I do not read comments that do not use my full screen name or Valen or Myles as a matter of principle. I use people’s full screen name when I reply so I expect people to have the common decency to do the same. You may have made some valid points in your comment but I will not get the chance to reflect on, accept or refute those points because I only read comments addressed to myself. Thank you for playing.

  25. The Contrarian – At least with point 1 you show you are capable of learning. With point 2, there’s nothing wrong with using facts and figures to back up an argument so long as you remember that the statistics you pick are as biased in your favour as the ones I picked to illustrate my point – a point you accused me of.

  26. Bernard87 – I can guarantee you won’t like or want to believe the truth about benefits when I make that part of the blog I’m working on to follow up my piece on Clinical Commissioning Groups and the NHS reforms but you’re welcome to read the truth when it’s posted. The working title is “Are you angry yet?” although I was considering “Tories – Party of Thugs, Sociopaths, Half-truths and Outright Fabrications” but I didn’t want to give people a spoiler as to the content.

  27. Valen (Myles) Cook the figures I quoted are not made up. They are the treasury outturn figures freely avalaible on the treasury website. Yes there are a number of formats for the figures on the site which can be confusing but I have taken the figures from the most basic summary which anyone should be able to understand. If you’re going to quote figures on benefits, please don’t quote figures from bodies that have a political bias like the TUC as they really are contrived to show the worst possible picture they can. So let us know your sources when you quoted figures.

    Contrarian, I hope that’s your full title, we’re all paying the price of Labour wage control policy. I remember bricklayers earning £200 a day before Labour flooded the country with cheap Labour. I have friends in the building industry who wil tell you that their earnings were halved after Labours mass immigration policy. That’s not a good thing for anyone. The point of government is to improve people’s living standards and overall quality of life. Similarly shops had had to start paying higher wages to employ people because there was a successful economy in plavce that was benefitting people in this country. I can see an argument for some immigration but not on the scale the Labour party introduced.

    That was the biggest betrayal they ever carried out on their supporters and it was fully backed by the unions. The will never answer the question why they did it because they are like first year university students convinced they got it all right and that everyone else was wrong. They never answer to their failures.

    Valen (Myles) Cook I would love the government to be totally transparent about the benefits system. The last time IDS, I’m sure he won’t mind, tried to be transparent about it, there was a collective explosion of heads in the left wing media. The BBC news spent an entire day calling him a racist as did the guardian, the independent and the usual others. Thus we will never know the true figures because the left don’t want us to know.

  28. No Voice, my tongue was firmly in my cheek when I referred to the reduction in wage inflation being a positive thing. Controlled migration can stop rampant inflation, but of course that’s not what happened.

    I don’t think you’re going to have much luck with Valen (Myles) Cook, though please do continue to try. After all “joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”

    The problem Valen (Myles) Cook is that in order to maintain the status quo (and I’ve been through this before) we’re having to borrow money. Money that me (and my children, and possibly their children) will have to pay back (with interest!!)

    How on God’s green earth do you suppose that such an arrangment be sustainable. Who’s to pay in order to keep this canker-blighted misguided show on the road? I’m assuming of course that you recognise that it’s fundamentally immoral to load the bill onto the younger generation.

  29. I thought it was a bit strong Contrarian. They used to just put up interest rates to cool things down a bit. I do find it ammusing when you see the wonderfully intelligent left wing students cheering on more spending for benefits and state employee’s. I’m assuming that they either have no intention of working in the future, which means they’re probably going to become left wing union activists in a school somewhere. Why bother going to university otherwise. That or they don’t realise it’s their wages, pensions and assets that are going to be taxed to death to pay for their socialist dream. I’m betting on the latter and when it dawns on them they’ll suddenly become a bit less idealistic.

  30. “How on God’s green earth do you suppose that such an arrangment be sustainable. Who’s to pay in order to keep this canker-blighted misguided show on the road?”

    The ‘bankers’ will pay for it all. We will tax their bonuses 100% (the left seem to forget that bonuses are already taxed) and all our monetary problems will vanish. A mansion tax would pay for all the housing benefit we pay out as well.

  31. Bernard87 – if the bankers don’t get a bonus or the bonuses are reduced or if the bankers get a pay rise instead of a bonus then the whole plan falls apart.

  32. Has Polly thought of the legalities surrounding what she is proposing on taxing individuals earnings. Are the Labour party simply going to introduce a new income tax solely for bankers. She needs to remember these are individuals and not a collective industry which they can target with a windfall tax. This probably relates more to her flagship old Labour policy of giving people false hope of a job.

  33. As usual, the ideas (typically on the left) don’t stand up to scrutiny.

    One thing I’d ask Valen (Myles) Cook or Polly BIllington is:

    The 50% rate is thought to have added about £1bn – which, even if it was sustained, would have been insufficient to maintain the even the status quo – let alone fund all the additional borrowing Labour want to understake in order to kickstart the economy. Would you have increased taxes further, or cut spending? I’m still not clear.


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