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Bedroom tax breaches human rights.

(251 Posts)
Greatnan Wed 11-Sep-13 20:28:09

So says the UN envoy. Good.

whenim64 Wed 11-Sep-13 20:48:02

Well, at least we know Michael Gove will cave in first! grin

Jendurham Wed 11-Sep-13 22:45:49

Brilliant! Nice to know we are as bad as 3rd world countries.
The report itself does not come out until next year, but she is obviously giving them a chance to redeem themselves before it's published.
She's an architect, by the way.
Grant Shapps messed up as usual by saying she had not had any contact with the ministers involved.

Eloethan Thu 12-Sep-13 00:07:44

A cruel and unfair tax that is just an excuse to raise rents.

vampirequeen Thu 12-Sep-13 08:51:12

A way of reducing benefits too. We lost benefit because we have two bedrooms even though our children come to stay every weekend and in the school holidays. The rules say they don't need a bedroom.

sunseeker Thu 12-Sep-13 09:38:41

Should she not put her own house in order before lecturing other countries? She is in charge of housing policy in Brazil which has thousands of people living in shanty towns.

I can see both sides reasoning in respect of the "bedroom tax" Those people who regularly have family to stay need the spare rooms, but there are those living in 3 bedroomed homes using only 1 bedroom when they could move somewhere smaller and free up the house for a family. Where this does fall down is the lack of 1 or 2 bedroomed properties.

j08 Thu 12-Sep-13 09:41:01

Newspapers calling her a Brazil nut.

j08 Thu 12-Sep-13 09:43:24

Three bedroom houses should go to families.

Councils need to provide more, well thought out, down-sizing accommodation for older people.

Greatnan Thu 12-Sep-13 10:05:18

We have covered this subject exhaustively and there are STILL NOT ENOUGH SMALLER PROPERTIES. When taxed on this fact, the minister waffled about how many more houses were being built. In the meantime, people on benefits in social housing cannot downsize because there is no suitable property for them and so they just lose benefits.
Comments about the UN, Brazil, etc. are irrelevant. We are talking about the situation of poor people in Britain being made even poorer.

BAnanas Thu 12-Sep-13 10:17:47

It's a bit rich having a woman from Brazil lecture us about bedroom tax in relation to human rights, this is a country that have numerous favelas, some constructed out of very flimsy materials where a large proportion of the population are expected to live. I'm going to Brazil in December for a big birthday so I'll have a good look around with regard to living standards whilst I'm there. This is a country that at one time cleaned up streets by allowing police to covertly murder street children. A rather more serious breech of human rights than the bedroom tax I would have thought!

Nevertheless, I think the bedroom tax is punitive and mean, especially where there is little scope for people to downsize to smaller properties, although I could never understand why someone such as Brother Bob Crowe needs to live in social housing when he is on a stonking salary of something in the order of £140,000. I think it wouldn't be unreasonable to ask people who have moved on to substantial incomes to vacate social housing to make way for lower income families.

BAnanas Thu 12-Sep-13 10:28:54

ooops just read my post wrong breech, wasn't talking about a baby! Should have typed "breach"

j08 Thu 12-Sep-13 10:32:49

And I thought we were talking about this woman sticking her oar into our affairs Greatnan! Silly me. hmm

Greatnan Thu 12-Sep-13 10:38:44

You can talk about anything you like, jingle. I was celebrating the fact that this iniquitous tax might be abolished. I don't care who brings that about.

Penstemmon Thu 12-Sep-13 10:50:07

She is not sticking her oar in it is a UN report! We are part of UN!

It is time 'we' stopped feeling so bloody superior! We are in danger of becoming the hare in the hare and tortoise story unless we take an honest look at 'ourselves' and the rest of the world.

Dismissing things without proper consideration or trying to undermine the author of the report because she comes from a country in South America will not necessarily change the situation of housing! There are highly educated people form all over the world who have a valid viewpoint!

I have not read the report but I object to people dismissing it on the grounds of 'it's from a woman in Brazil!'

sunseeker Thu 12-Sep-13 10:55:37

As I have said there are cases where people need their additional bedrooms but there are also those who don't. I know of 3 cases where single men are living in 3 or 4 bedroomed properties, all refusing to consider moving. 2 are unmarried and have no children or close relatives (except each other - they are brothers!) and 1 who is divorced. When I asked the brothers why they didn't move in together, they said they would end up arguing so need their own houses. The third man, when asked why he won't consider moving he said he needed the rooms in case any of his children decide to move back home. He has 3 children, all married and all living within walking distance of him.

The ideal would be for each case to be considered separately, in the three cases above I think they should lose benefits.

If someone lives in a house with more bedrooms than they use day to day but who regularly have family to stay, then that case should be treated differently.

whenim64 Thu 12-Sep-13 10:56:20

Well said, Penstemmon. If anything, she is likely to have an informed view about the impact of housing and welfare polices on people who are already struggling to cope, coming from that background.

Riverwalk Thu 12-Sep-13 10:59:52

The report won't be published until next Spring which seems odd.

We do seem to be very sensitive to criticism from outside and just because she comes from Brazil where millions live in sub-standard conditions doesn't mean that her comments are invalid.

The UK supplies election monitors in emerging democracies - I wonder how they explain our un-elected House of Lords hmm

Greatnan Thu 12-Sep-13 11:01:08

Sunseeker - I think you may have missed the point. Nobody is saying people should stay in houses which are bigger than their needs, however their needs are defined, but simply that for most people there is no alternative housing available.
This is not about whether council rents should be means tested which is a totally separate matter.

sunseeker Thu 12-Sep-13 11:08:49

Greatnan - I do get the point, if you see my first post I do say that the policy falls down because there is a lack of 1 or 2 bedroom properties.

Jendurham Thu 12-Sep-13 11:39:38

I think it's good that the comment was reported before the actual report is published. It gives the government the chance to change their scheme which begins next January, to give people a loan to help them get on the housing ladder.
I have read the article in the Guardian. What she says is that "You were much more likely to be able to access social housing in the 1970s than today, when it is very difficult, almost a lottery; today in England you have 17% in social housing."
It is actually only this 17% that are affected, and only a small proportion of them, but it must make a massive difference to them.
I think councils should be made to build 2 bedroom houses. I do not think anyone should be forced to live in a 1 bedroom flat.
You need to read the article. It quotes people who are forced to choose between rent and food, or rent and electricity. She interviewed people who only had £4 per week disposable income after having to pay an extra £13 per week rent. It's unimaginable, and makes me so angry.
Rolnik is an urban planner and architect. She is not getting paid for this work and is studying how the global financial crisis has affected housing. She has criticised the US as well.
I agree with her, it is a matter of human rights. It's like the gerrymandering that Dame Shirley Porter did, getting rid of people from rich areas and making them move away from their families to smaller properties. This government wants to get rid of the European convention on human rights. They probably want to leave the UN now.

Jendurham Thu 12-Sep-13 13:25:39

Leeds group Hands off our Homes is meeting the council today as the council is deciding whether to evict people who cannot pay and are in arrears.
To read what they think about Rolnik's report look at the False Economy website.

Greatnan Thu 12-Sep-13 13:46:54

Thanks for that informative post, Jendurham. What will they do with the people they evict, I wonder? It makes no sense, does it?

j08 Thu 12-Sep-13 13:56:56

Quote Grant Shapps: "It is completely wrong and an abuse of the process for somebody to come over, to fail to meet with government ministers, to fail to meet with the department responsible, to produce a press release two weeks after coming, even though the report is not due out until next spring, and even to fail to refer to the policy properly throughout the report.

Conservative chairman Grant Shapps: Report is "biased and one sided"

"That is why I am writing to the secretary general today to ask for an apology and an investigation as to how this came about."

Does seem odd that she came here and didn't meet with any government ministers. And then released a press report way before the report itself is due to be published.

Movedalot Thu 12-Sep-13 14:02:03

Seems a shame we don't have much sympathy for those living in overcrowded B & B accommodation when this subject comes up each time. I am glad I don't have to make the decisions but if I did I would prioritise overcrowded families above those who want a spare room for when people come to visit, even if it is every weekend. There is no solution which will keep everyone happy.

j08 Thu 12-Sep-13 14:07:43

Well, they've found a very strange solution in Yorkshire! convert the rooms