Letter to my MP, David Burrowes, regarding Bedroom Tax

2nd January 2013

Dear David,

Bedroom Tax

I do hope you and your family are well and had a restful Christmas break.  I would like to thank you personally for all of the work you did to oppose the Pinkham Way waste management site.  What a tremendous victory for the PWA and New Southgate.  I know I speak for many when I express my gratitude to you for all of your endeavours in this issue, too.

The issue that I would like to raise with you today however is the proposed bedroom tax which is due to be implemented in April of this year.  I am not sure of your views on the matter, but I have been following a group on Facebook for quite some time now which has a membership of over 5,000, and I have been very upset by some of the things that I have read there.  Whilst I personally am not going to be affected by the bedroom tax as my home is mortgaged (and we don’t have enough room anyway!), I have become increasingly worried about a lot of the welfare reforms that I have been reading about and this one in particular seems incredibly poorly thought out and deeply unfair.

The main problem as far as I can tell is that a huge number of the people who are going to be affected by this tax are vulnerable and/or unwell, and the amount of stress that this is causing them is unimaginable.  I read of one lady, for example, who has been living in her home for the past 27 years and suffers from Asperger’s and OCD.  Her husband passed away six years ago and her son is grown and has moved away.  This particular lady is usually only able to leave her home when assisted by a neighbour, and of course having lived in her home for nearly three decades she has invested a great deal of time and care into its upkeep.  She is now suffering real worry that she will have to leave the home that she shared with her husband and all of the memories therein, and leave behind the vital support that she has from her friend and neighbour.

I would love to be able to say that this example is an isolated incident, but it seems from all I have read that a huge number of people who will probably have to leave their homes as a result of this tax are in similar positions.  I also spoke with a gentleman who has had it suggested to him that his three teenage daughters ought to share one bedroom.  As a father of six I am sure you will agree that this would be really quite disastrous and is not conducive to either rest, study or harmonious living, particularly during the teenage years.

David, I can fully appreciate that there is a huge shortage of affordable housing in the UK right now, but surely taxing people who are already vulnerable and struggling to make ends meet, even if they do have a “spare” bedroom, is not the right way to solve the problem.  Whilst I realise that the economy is very difficult at the moment and building more social housing perhaps isn’t viable at the present time, I truly feel that this particular tax is desperately unfair and should not be implemented under any circumstances.  I can see the theory behind the idea, but the reality of it is that people are going to be financially unable to stay in their homes, sometimes homes that they have lived in for decades.  There are not enough smaller homes available for people to avoid this tax at any rate, so all it will mean is yet more poverty and homelessness.  This surely isn’t the answer.

I know that you possibly don’t have a lot of “clout” in this issue, but I would implore you to look into it further as I am sure you are unaware of the genuine torment that this is causing to thousands up and down the country.  The forced move of thousands upon thousands of people who either do not wish to move or are not in a position to do so is utterly deplorable.  The individuals and families who are going to be affected by this tax are those who are in no financial position to bear the extra expense, not least of the tax itself but also the cost of moving, setting up home elsewhere and all of the associated expenses involved.  I don’t think I even need to mention the upheaval and stress this will cause to them.

I do believe that offering positive incentives to people who are willing and able to downsize their homes would be a genuinely excellent idea, but this simply isn’t the way that it should be done.

My thanks in advance for your attention to this matter David, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best for 2013.

Best regards,

Katy Anchant

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6 thoughts on “Letter to my MP, David Burrowes, regarding Bedroom Tax

  1. Having been part of a Facebook group where someone affected by the bedroom tax started complaining and asking for help (he’s disabled, has lived there for 30ish years, has invested a lot of his own money in the property etc) I can tell you that I immediately heard a LOT of his friends, people who are desperate for housing and trapped in shelters, hostels, overcrowded homes etc because of this man’s selfishness, give the opposite view. Looking at the facts, he had the option to downsize when his kids moved out and he was still fit and healthy, but he chose to stay in the cheap, comfortable and spacious accommodation that was being subsidised by the taxes of nurses, street cleaners, teachers and others. His current situation is actually one of his own creation, as it is with most of those who are caught by the bedroom tax. Why should we pay more tax again to “incentivise” the people who have been leeching money from the needy for the past 20 or 30 years to give up accommodation which they don’t need? The housing crisis is not new, people have been well aware for many years but have felt “it doesn’t apply to me” and I’m afraid that it does. On balance, the bedroom tax seems like the quickest and fairest way to solve a crisis that has been left woefully under-addressed for many years. Respectfully, Gordon

    • Hi Gordon. I can certainly see it from your point of view, it just seems a little too “blanket” for my liking, as I am sure you will have gleaned from my letter. Thank you, though, as I actually really like to hear other perspectives on these things when they are written so clearly and without anger or derision. With utmost respect, Katy

      • The bedroom tax is only here because the government flooded the country to the point housing stock is low but who suffers for their mistakes…………………….yes you and me

    • The majority of people who are sitting on the larger houses are pensioners and there are no plans to make pensioners move out. This has NOTHING to do with easing the housing lists and everything to do with putting people reliant on benefits in their place. If it were to do with housing there would be a carrot approach and not a stick approach and it would apply to all social housing tenants equally and not only to the ones on benefits.

  2. bedroom tax are u serious it is bloody stupid the council and who ever decided bedroom tax is a biggest joker ever!!! dis repect to them ppl will be complaining I know I would be and if you can mr Cameron please think before you decide or who ever decied bedroom tax is wrong simple

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