Steve Webb the junior minister at the DWP, the department responsible for the bedroom tax, is blatantly misleading Parliament by stating over and over again that there are one million spare bedrooms in social housing. That cannot be true by the DWP’s own figures which say 660,000 social housing households are affected… you know, the bedroom tax scroungers!
Of this 660,000 the DWP says 540,000 under-occupy by 1 bedroom – so that’s 540,000 spare bedrooms on those figures.
Yet to be ONE MILLION spare bedrooms in social housing the other 120,000 (660,000 less 540,000) need to under occupy by a total of 460,000 bedrooms.
So for the government claim to be true and not invented the 120,000 social rented households affected by the bedroom tax MUST have 460,000 spare bedrooms – or 3.83 spare bedrooms each on average.
That means – ON AVERAGE – the government believes there are 120,000 single persons living in 5 bed properties!!! That is what the coalition and DWP are saying when they claim there are ONE MILLION spare bedrooms in social housing during the bedroom tax debate.
UNLESS of course this 1 million figure includes pensioners! Yet Steve Webb and the coalition are still overtly and knowingly misleading if they trot out this figure as part of the bedroom tax as pensioners are not affected.
It is a pity no opposition MP has sought to ask for clarity on this 1 million spare social housing bedrooms. If this misleading figure does include the exempted pensioners – which for it to have any validity it must - then it undermines the coalition view that this is about under occupation as why should a single pensioner be allowed to roam about in a 5 bed scarce social housing property that is a privileged national resource? What would that say? That a pensioner is free to take the piss perhaps but woe betide a working-age person doing the same? Yes it would!
Of course NO party is going to say pensioners should be affected by the bedroom tax or any other welfare reform with 40% of the electorate being this ‘grey vote.’ Yet because pensioner stake over half of all welfare benefits it must be a known lie when ANY MP of ANY party says they will reduce the welfare benefit bill if they do exempt pensioners.
Whatever happened to we are all in this together? Oh I see we are all in this together UNLESS you are a pensioner!! Sorry my mistake a ‘poor’ pensioner as they are known…yes so poor that their minimum income (circa £140pw) is double that of a working age person (circa £70pw) who must be a really really poor non-pensioner then!
Yet this government have repeatedly stated they are going to reduce the welfare benefit bill, time and time again they have said this and continue to do so today. Yet they must be knowingly fibbing to you the taxpayer in saying this mustn’t they? Just like Steve Webb and so many coalition MPs who trotted out “there are a million spare bedrooms in social housing” today!
PS – just being bloody obtuse here but if this government refuse to define what is a bedroom then how the hell can they say there are any spare? Is that an obtuse lie? Maybe Steve Webb should ask Clegg if it’s a non-specific lie?
UPDATE 28 FEBRUARY 2013
Dear Reader, I have just cut and pasted the debate from yesterday’s House of Commons session from Hansard (which runs to 107 pages of A4!) and in summarising the debate for the government just before the vote we find government junior minister Esther McVey saying this:
The hon. Member for Dumfries and Galloway (Mr Brown) questioned the number of spare bedrooms. There are 1 million spare bedrooms in properties occupied by working-age people alone,so that does not include pensioners
SO YES THE GOVERNMENT ARE LYING AND HAVE BEEN ALL ALONG ABOUT THE 1M SPARE BEDROOMS IN SOCIAL HOUSING AS CONFIRMED BY ESTHER McVEY FOR THE GOVERNMENT
Column 340 Steve Webb
“We subsidise a million spare bedrooms in the social rented sector through housing benefit”
A KNOWN LIE
Column 340 Steve Webb
When we have a million spare bedrooms, and over a quarter of a million households living in overcrowded accommodation, we must do better
A KNOWN LIE AGAIN
Column 342 Steve Webb (yet again!)
The 1 million spare bedrooms are a precious resource of our communities and of vulnerable people in them
Column 343 Steve Webb
We have 1 million spare bedrooms among people on housing benefit
Column 348 (Guess who – Yes Steve Webb!)
The most valuable way in which we can look at social sector housing benefit costs is to look at the million spare bedrooms that we currently subsidise
Column 362 (Just for variety NOT Steve Webb but Greg Mulholland – Lib Dem)
Mr Russell Brown: Will the hon. Gentleman clarify something for me? There is much talk about 1 million empty bedrooms, but there is some confusion about that. Are we talking about 1 million empty bedrooms in households that exclude pensioners, or would pensioner households create 1 million-plus empty bedrooms? Are we talking solely about households excluding pensioners?
Greg Mulholland: As the hon. Gentleman has clearly heard, it is the former. I hope that is clear.
Column 386 (Jacob Rees-Mogg) Tory
There are those who have large families, live in small accommodation, or are living in the private rented sector, and cannot get into social housing or council housing because of the problem of under-occupancy, which, we have discovered from the Government, amounts to 1 million bedrooms
Is repeating the lie just sheer incompetence in not having checked it reader? Or is it something more sinister as this appears loud and clear as an agreed coalition strategy ahead of the debate doesn’t it?
And that brings me back to Column 423 and Esther McVey’s whopper which takes away any ambiguity:
There are 1 million spare bedrooms in properties occupied by working-age people alone, so that does not include pensioners.
Very good of the The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Esther McVey) to kindly confirm in unambiguous terms the lies that her coalition colleagues have been inflcting on Parliament and the general public.
NEWSFLASH: Simon and Garfunkel comment:
All lies and jest, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest….LIE LiE LIE (altogether now) LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE, LIE LIE LIE, LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE
FURTHER UPDATE – Thursday 28 February 2013
I have been made aware of a House of Commons Library Paper referenced SN06272 published on Tuesday this week which is worth reading in full and you can access here.
This paper is a Standard Note (SN) which is as near as you are ever going to get to an objective opinion on the bedroom tax. SN’s are published so as to be read by all MPs and therefore have to be scrupulously objective.
Dear reader, in light of what I have said above about the coalition ministers overtly and knowingly misleading the house (or in simple terms their lies) can I direct you to page 4 of this objective Standard Note on the bedroom tax. There it says:
“Lord Freud justified the measure during the passage of the Welfare Reform Act through Parliament…
I remind noble Lords of the core argumentation. We do not think that taxpayers should be expected to meet the cost of somewhere approaching 1 million spare bedrooms, a cost of around £0.5 billion every year.
This reveals Lord Freud stated the lie first (is it a noble lie if spoken to the Lords? Dulce et Decorum est dear reader!) in a House of Lords debate on 14 February 2012. Yes this particularly easy to disprove lie has been around for over a year!
The SN paper goes on directly below to say: -
“It is clear from the February 2012 Impact Assessment that the desired savings in Housing Benefit expenditure will only be realised in full if social tenants do not seek to move from the homes they are under-occupying.
Estimates of Housing Benefit savings are based upon the current profile of tenants in the social rented sector, with little tenant mobility assumed. If a significant number of tenants wished to move, this would reduce direct savings and place extra demands on social landlords.
So Reader here we have
(a) The HoC Library stating unambiguously that the desired (£480m) savings will ONLY be realised IF tenants do not move
(b) Lord Freud admitting the exact same
(c) Lord Freud saying any tenant movement would reduce this maximum £480m saving which was contained in the impact assessment done by the DWP
Yet, yesterday in Parliament Steve Webb, the DWP Minister (!!!) said this was NOT the case at all and the £480m saving would be achieved whether tenants moved or not!! He also said the impact assessment was a robust estimate yet he thoroughly contradicts that in lying to the House by saying as I quoted here:
Ms Karen Buck (Westminster North) (Lab): Will the Minister take this opportunity to confirm his own impact statement, which makes it clear that if this policy works and encourages people to downsize to smaller accommodation, there will be no savings? Will he explain to the House which of the two objectives he supports: saving money or encouraging downsizing?
Steve Webb: No, I am afraid that the hon. Lady is not correct in saying that. There will be a range of responses to this change, which I will run through later in my remarks. Some people will stay where they are and will pay the shortfall; some people will use a spare room for a lodger or for sub-letting; some people will work or work more hours; and some people will move. Our impact assessment has a range of modelling on how people will respond, but it clearly includes people staying where they are and paying the shortfall—that is where the saving comes from.
The above can be read in Hansard column 335 and in response to a question from Karen Buck which simply read back the DWP’s own impact assessment findings and confirmed above by Lord Freud and by the HoC paper that savings of £480m can ONLY be achieved by every tenant staying Steve Webb says “No, I am afraid that the hon. Lady is not correct in saying that!!!!!!”
Oh dear oh dear oh dear – I wonder how many examples Steve Webb needs from as many objective sources such as the HoC paper and Hansard that proves he lies and does so knowingly.
Now if only a MP would ask a parliamentary question of the DWP Minister asking for the DWP’s breakdown of the numbers of spare bedrooms and how they arrive at this figure and get a written answer!
Courtesy of Joe Halewood at SPeye