Before you think of me as some sort of Hitler, let me explain the main concept behind this taxing system. So called 'bedroom tax' was introduced so that families deemed to have too much living space by their local authorities receive a reduced payment. In an attempt to save the tax payer £505 million in 2013-2014, part of bedroom tax is 'size criteria,' whereby families are assessed for the number of bedrooms that they actually need. The policy means that if tennants have a spare bedroom, their housing benefit is reduced by 14% and 25% if they have two or more spare rooms.
Personally, I look at bedroom tax and think that in actual fact, it makes perfect sense. If we look at it from the perspective of the tax payer, why should a tax payer have to fund housing benefit when people do not actually need some of the rooms in their house? In my mind, I don't agree with the fact that in previous years, tax payers were using their hard earned money to pay for council houses that were hardly even being used. Since 2009, Britain has felt the bite of the recession and with the introduction of bedroom tax, the long term savings over the coming years will have a significant impact in the country's economic position.
However, bedroom tax does not come at a low price for families in terms of the demands placed upon them. Imagine being approached by your local authority that have housed you for many years, to be told that you have to leave your house because you are not entitled to the space you have been given. You would then either have to face paying higher costs for rooms that aren't even being used, or ultimately, move into a smaller property.
As we are all aware, the recession has meant in the country, there has been a malaise in house prices (except in London, where house prices have increased by 60% since 2009) and the statistics show that the bedroom tax has trapped 19/20 families in large homes. Moreover, 96% of benefit claimants who will be penalised cannot be rehoused. I find it astounding to think that people are being punished for something that is beyond their physical control. If people haven't got anywhere smaller available to them to move into, society cannot blame them and further isolate them any more than they already have done by saying 'You have to move out of your house.'
The difficulty is made all the more real by Birmingham statistics, which state that of the 13,557 households that are affected by the imposed bedroom tax, just 368 one and two bedroom properties are currently unoccupied, less than 3% of the houses needed for those affected by the recent tax system.
The easiest thing to be said about bedroom tax is that it poses a very mixed argument, with advantages and disadvantages that equally counteract one another. This will sound ridiculously obvious- but a house is not just a structure which we live in for shelter, warmth and survival. A house is a home. With every house comes sentimental value that only the homeowners and their family will have a true insight into. Houses that may have been lived in by generation by generation could now be given to someone else, purely on the basis that the family doesn't deserve to live there with the amount of space that they have. Combining this with the shocking statistics and the brutality of someone being told to leave their home is enough to make us question the government's thinking for this scheme. But of course, the bedroom tax is designed to save the country money through a practical and reasonable scheme and if a family who are told to move out of their 4-bedroom home are told that another family needs every single room, it would make more sense to comply to this order.
For once, I cannot come to a reasonable conclusion. As opinionated and as cynical as I can be, I understand both sides of why families should and shouldn't have to move out of a home with bedrooms that they don't use. Bedroom tax undoubtedly leaves the country with its ups and downs, not forgetting as well.... endless realms of waiting lists of families that need to be rehoused in order to comply with the governments needs.