I have been clearing out my emails from my role as lead councillor for Housing and Neighbourhoods and discovered I haven't received a reply to this letter from either MP in Reading.
Disappointing - but not surprising, when on the important issue of Equal marriage one didn't vote and the other voted both ways...
Dear Mr Sharma
Enclosed for your information is a courtesy copy of the letter the Managing Director of Reading Borough Council has sent to the Secretary of State outlining concerns regarding the impact that the bedroom tax will have on residents in your constituency.
The letter was sent following the last minute amendments that were made to the measure by the government, and it now appears that no more immediate changes are planned.
As you will be aware we are deeply opposed to this short-sighted measure, which will have a major impact on many residents in Reading. However we do hope that you are also becoming aware of just how many problems the bedroom tax will cause for many of your constituents and will lobby your colleagues in government on this. The quote below sums up why:
“The bedroom tax is one of these once in a generation decisions that is wrong in every respect. It’s bad policy, it’s bad economics, it’s bad for hundreds of thousands of ordinary people whose lives will be made difficult for no benefit – and I think it’s about to become profoundly bad politics.”
This is a direct quote from David Orr, the Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation. Further details can be found online at:
As you know many independent experts have pointed out that the Discretionary Housing Payment will not cover those affected and that there is a shortage of smaller housing available for them to downsize into, even were it suitable. Indeed for many who are affected there are medical or other reasons why they need the ‘extra’ space and it appears increasingly unlikely that the policy will deliver the outcomes the government are claiming. Indeed the National Housing Federation in its report; ‘The Bedroom Tax: Some Home Truths’ concludes:
“Based on the Government’s own data, the bedroom tax will not meet these aims (reducing overcrowding, encourage more efficient use of social housing) and could have serious, unintended consequences for those affected. The resulting upheaval could also end up costing the taxpayer more, not less.”
We hope that you will consider the impact of the bedroom tax carefully and, better late than never, join in opposing this measure that will damage so many people’s lives.
Lead Councillor for Neighbourhoods and Housing
Councillor, Whitley Ward
cc: Mr Rob Wilson MP