Coffee House

IDS accuses Miliband of pathetic scaremongering over ‘bedroom tax’

7 February 2013

6:31 PM

7 February 2013

6:31 PM

The political row over the changes to housing benefit, labelled the ‘bedroom tax’ by opponents, intensified this evening. In an open letter to the Labour leader (reproduced below), Iain Duncan Smith accuses Miliband of ‘a pathetic exercise in political point scoring and scare mongering’.

In the feisty letter, Duncan Smith argues that the taxpayer is currently paying for close to a million spare rooms. He argues that taxpayers ‘should not be paying for what is effectively a benefit subsidy for empty rooms’. He also takes issue with the personal case stories that Labour are using. He alleges that Miliband is seemingly unconcerned about ‘children having to stand to do their homework and others sharing bedrooms with their parents and baby siblings’, arguing that their plight is a consequence of the inefficient use of social housing stock.

This row is only going to intensify as we get nearer to the introduction of these changes in April. Both sides reckon that they have the better case. Labour feel that the personal stories brought out by this policy could move public opinion on the fairness of welfare cuts and that they can persuade voters that the changes will be self-defeating if they result in claimants moving into more expensive accommodation in the private rented sector. While the Tories — who have carried the public with them on welfare reform so far — are confident that this argument is winnable, and that the public don’t believe they should be paying for housing benefit claimants to have more rooms than strictly necessary.

Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP

House of Commons



February 2013

Dear Ed,

We would both agree that social housing is invaluable for the hundreds of thousands people in the United Kingdom who need help and support in getting accommodation.

With 2 million households in England on housing waiting lists and 250,000 families living in over-crowded accommodation, I am sure you would agree the need to tackle the issue is pressing and deserves to be debated in Parliament.

But what we saw from you at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday was not an attempt to engage in a constructive discussion on how to address the problem of helping people find suitable housing, rather it appeared to be a pathetic exercise in political point scoring and scare mongering that does not help one single person, child or parent move any closer to having the home they need.

Your description of this as a ‘bedroom tax’ says more about your lack of understanding of how Housing Benefit works than anything else. This government is restoring fairness to a welfare system that was left in dire straits following thirteen years of Labour Government. One of the many steps we are taking is bringing housing benefit and social housing back into line with the private sector, so you only receive a payment for the number of rooms you need.

The truth is that after years under the last Labour Government, where this problem was allowed to grow out of control, it is the Coalition Government that has decided something must be done. You should know that local authority housing waiting lists rose from 1 million in April 1997 to 1.8million in April 2010. You should also know that by April 2010, house building in this country had fallen to its lowest peacetime levels since the 1920s, with the number of social rented housing stock falling by 421,000 units from 1997 to 2010. These are problems that we are having to deal with in government and try our best to resolve. To do that we have invested £19.5billion in affordable housing and will deliver 170,000 new affordable homes by 2015.

Given the last government, of which you were a member, failed comprehensively to deal with the housing problem, I would have thought you would have been the last to criticise what we are doing to alleviate the crisis you left behind. Nearly one third of working age social housing tenants on Housing Benefits are living in accommodation that is too big for their needs. That equates to nearly a million spare rooms currently being paid for by taxpayer and denying hundreds of thousands of people the chance to adequately house their family.

I am sure you would agree that every family deserves the chance to be housed comfortably. I would hope that you would also agree that the hard working tax payer who has to make tough choices of their own about what sort of property they can afford to live in, should not be paying for what is effectively a benefit subsidy for empty rooms.

At no time in the last 2 years and 9 months have you explained how you would deliver your 2010 manifesto commitment which stated very clearly that Housing Benefit would be “reformed to ensure that we do not subsidise people to live in the private sector on rents that other ordinary working families could not afford.” Your colleague, the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Liam Byrne MP as forced to admit last year that the cost of Housing Benefit – at £20billion a year – was too high and you admitted last year that Labour in Government “didn’t do enough” on housing and that you “don’t have a solution for this”.

However, despite this admission, you sought to play politics with this issue. Yesterday, you referenced two cases of vulnerable people without making any mention of the fact this government has made £155million available to Local Authorities through Discretionary Housing Payments so that those very people you speak about can be helped make any adjustment necessary.

The use of individual case studies may provide political sound bites, but I must tell you that in every local community there are case studies about children having to stand to do their homework and others sharing bedrooms with their parents and baby siblings. You seem to have failed to be concerned about their plight, caused by the last Labour government’s housing failings which we are now trying to rectify.

The changes we are making are ensuring that our social housing stock is used as evenly as it can be so as many people as possible can access this invaluable resource.

I remind you that the Labour government you were part of, left us with a housing benefit bill which almost doubled in 10 years to £20billion and under your own forecasts would have risen to over £25billion by 2014-15, as well as over-crowded housing and an appallingly low level of house building. Not a legacy I would have thought you would have wanted reminding of.



Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • wontgetfooledagain

    IDS the modern day Hitler, no qualifications except for being a total waste of space. Come April 1st and lets see who they blame for the trouble that will arise.When you attack the disabled it makes you the lowest form of life.


    My mother has been conservative through thick and thin and at 70 years old,the bedroom tax is a bridge too far for her,she will never vote for them again.

  • Mike Gideon Hodgson

    pensioners r exempt from the bed room tax and unfortunately they are the ones who are mainly under occupying council houses,i havent got a problem with this but they arent going to solve anything with this pointless tax except to alienate the general public.

  • marian 54

    the government know there are insufficient properties for people to downsize. Therefore they have to stay where they are. Which means they are liable for the tax that the government wants them to have to pay. If sufficient properties were available in the private sector the tax payer would end up paying out considerably more in lousing benefit as the private sector rents are higher than the under- occupied social properties. Those waiting for housing will not get help either. So what’s it all about. Housing or lowering the housing benefit bill. Its solely about lowering the welfare bill.If anyone thinks the government truly give a monkeys about those on waiting lists or living in overcrowded accommodation, they are mistaken. They would have started building before implementing this, so that downsizing was possible. They want us to have to pay.

    • Yoolander

      That is very clearly put – and IMHO, spot on.

  • carl brown

    this is all very well and good but im affraid the bottom line is … these people/animals dont give a toss about others. they look after themselves and there own cocooned worlds with no idea of how normal folk survive day to day, then lecture us. they will just go back to stealing expenses and losing important data and other such stupidity which should tell everyone they dont deserve to have the privalaged position of running this country. Our so called political leader has been round the world sticking his nose in others business yet at home here people cant survive and even pay bills. Civil action is whats required as maggie found out over the poll tax.

  • Claire Newton

    I have to admit that Labour did not do enough to deal with the housing problem when they were in power but he seems to have forgotten that it was the previous Tory government that initiated the housing problem by selling off all the council houses. They decided that housing benefit would be a good way to make up for the lack of affordable homes. The situation snowballed under Labour but it was the Tories that caused it.

  • LeonC

    my oh my some of the comments here are pure baloney, the fact remains the conservatives was never and will never be the party for all the population that is fact and labour yes while they made errors in their last years they did much good and brought many out of poverty that is no bad thing at any cost.

    The recession was not all labours fault much of it was the global banking melt down both at home and abroad and nothing has changed on that front despite the conservatives being in office for over 2 years now they are still throwing good money at bad and made the deficit higher than it ever was under labour.

    We have seen u-turn after u-turn and that shows a party that cannot create growth that this nation is crying out for indeed not a week passes with out another scandal to hit the headlines.

    • IRejectFPTP

      Thank goodness for some balance to the troll faeces that gets smeared all over the walls of these and other comment pages.

      I paid income tax and NI for 27yrs, and I find it GROSSLY offensive to be told I am a scrounger just because I cannot work *now*. I also find it offensive for some to suggest that I should count up, to the penny, how much I paid during my working life and compare it to how much I might claim from the state when I cannot work. How much money has the state made from my contributions over those 27yrs in interest, investments, casino banking plays, etc? More than I ever took home in net pay for sure. I put NO conditions on paying my dues while I was working, and expect none imposed on me when it turns out I need the state to help me in my hour of need. In fact, many pay taxes ALL their lives and never ask for nothing in return. Its swings and roundabouts.

      Its an equitable agreement, you work when you can,and when you cannot the state ensures you dont starve. If you want to move the goalposts on that agreement, become a 51st state, then lets pay zero tax like Starbucks and save up for a rainy day during our working life. At least people will then know where they stand. But DONT ask me to pay tax, NI, VAT, fuel tax, road tax, council tax etc all my life and then call *me* the scrounger when I ask for some payback on that extensive contribution to my country.

  • PoorlyPleb

    More proof that IDS and all the ministers at the DWP are in denial. The bedroom tax will have awful consequences for many sick and disabled people who need the space for overnight carers, specialist equipment etc. Sign this petition which calls for all these changes to be reviewed, and a free vote on repeal of the Welfare Reform Act:

  • Yoolander

    The Generals Handbag Carrier is true to form – Ex Guards Hossifer who flounders around in his own droppings whilst bullying anyone who is prevented ffrom taking him on – he initialy seems to sound effective but that’s only becuase he is a reductionist: he doesn’t “see” or care about the little details that can, and often do, lead to unintended consequences that anyone else would have foreseen.

    He is a bloke who wants to have his own way, who believes he has the moral and intellectual right to impose his will regardless of objective and rational dissent.

    He would have been right at home issuing the confused order that led to the charge of the Light Brigade – and just as comfortable at scapegoating the very troopers he got killed

  • Andrew Miles

    Nothing sums up the toxic mix of brutality and blundering at the DWP
    than the news that homeless families are being housed in hotels at a
    cost of almost £3000 a week.

    BBC London last night reported on the families
    kicked out of their homes due to the Housing Benefit cap who are now
    being put up in hotels at huge cost to the tax payer – an entirely predictable scenario for anyone who has a basic understanding of the housing and benefits system.

    The Housing Benefit cap was introduced after lurid stories appeared
    in the tabloids about families living in £2000 a week Kensington
    mansions. David Cameron himself denounced the housing benefit system
    that led to people claiming £100,000 a year. The truth was not so
    dramatic and it turned out that less than five families were actually receiving that much in benefits
    – which it should be repeatedly pointed out went into to the pockets of
    landlords, not claimants. The average Housing Benefit award was just
    £85 a week.

    This didn’t stop Iain Duncan Smith steaming ahead with the Housing
    Benefit cap which has seen most of London become unaffordable for
    private tenants on a low wage or who are out of work due to sickness,
    disability or sky high unemployment.

    At the time IDS claimed: “‘We
    have got to bring an end to the hysteria and scaremongering around
    housing benefit we have seen this week. Our reforms are not about
    making people homeless.”

    Since he made those remarks every measure of homelessness has risen
    sharply, from the number of people living on the streets to the number
    of children living in B&Bs and hotels.

    London Councils have been overwhelmed with homelessness applications,
    leading to some, like Westminster Council – a flagship Tory borough –
    housing families in hotels at astronomical cost. Less than five
    families who were living in what was very likely temporary housing at a
    cost of £2000 a week have been replaced by possibly scores of homeless
    families living in hotels which cost £3000 a week.

    These are families who have already faced the trauma of eviction due
    to the benefit caps. Whilst the BBC points out that the shortage of
    accommodation is so acute that Westminster are sometimes using 4 star
    hotels, a posh carpet and and a concierge are unlikely to make up for
    large families forced to share a room without cooking facilities or any
    long term security.

    When the overall benefit cap is introduced in Croydon, Haringey and
    Enfield in April, this is a problem that is only going to get far worse
    as even more families will find themselves unable to pay the rent and
    forced from their homes.

    Iain Duncan Smith whinged in the Spectator yesterday
    that criticism of the upcoming bedroom tax is ‘pathetic’ and
    ‘scaremongering’. Which sounds a lot like his tantrum when people
    warned the Housing Benefit cap would lead to a huge rise in homelessness
    in London.

    IDS was wrong then, and he’s wrong now. There will be no comfort in
    saying we told you so however when hundreds of thousands of children’s
    lives are shattered by the inevitable poverty and homelessness that is
    to come.

  • Andrew Miles

    So someone forced out of their home is now being housed ina hotel costing over £2,000 a week is a better deal for taxpayers IDS? What planet are you on?

    • IRejectFPTP

      Any excuse to leave no money for Labour to reverse their Dickensian policies

  • Monkey_Bach

    Iain Duncan Smith is a man of poor education and pedestrian intelligence, failing to achieve even a thing as lowly as an undergraduate degree, who lied about his past in order to appear more erudite on an old CV before being exposed by Michael Crick and the BBC. He was the worst leader the Conservative Party ever had although it must be admitted that shallow and superficial David Cameron is catching him up and may actually overtake him in the awfulness stakes before the next general election. Such a person should never have been tasked with reforming the UK’s incredibly complex social security system from top to toe. IDS is patently not up to such a task lacking the necessary intellect, expertise, competence, knowledge, and honesty to cope with such an undertaking, as is becoming obvious to all and sundry as poorly considered and pernicious policies like the “bedroom tax” and “universal credit” begin to tumble out of the sky and to crash and burn.

    The outcome was inevitable from the start: idiots inevitably spawn idiocy whatever they do and in Iain Duncan Smith’s case also misery, poverty, and death.

    IDS would need to climb up a ladder in order to grasp the bottom rung of humanity.

  • anxious

    why do keep deleting my posts surely the spectator even though its a right wing magazine is it only the posh boys that can post on here, i only posted the truth the tory law= the poor law

  • anxious

    the tory law =the poor law

  • Bill Rollinson

    If LOW wage earners were paid a decent wage they wouldn’t need to claim housing benefit! There would then be no need for this ‘tax’! If Maggie hadn’t stopped building social houses when she brought in the right-to-buy, there would be MORE of them now!

    This will push a lot of people into the private sector that is so far un regulated, no regulation as to prices, no regulation as to electrical inspection certificates, no regulation as to repairs, basically a charter to rip off! IDS makes for a good argument but, why did the government pursue this policy when it knew fulwell there was a housing shortage? You say you are trying to rectify Labours failings? At least they brought in a means of building social housing, by making developers build 20% of each build social. Some thing that Cameron and Clegg applied to withdraw as soon as they took Office! When BUILDERS do start building again, later this year, IT WONT BE SOCIAL HOUSING, will it Cameron?

  • IRejectFPTP

    Iain’s idea of “constructive discussion” is to agree with everything he says and does, no matter how many die of starvation and hypothermia. Not going to happen IDS, he is wrong, wrong, wrong on the same colossal scale that the NSDAP was wrong. He should admit it and ‘do a Gove’. If he is capable of constructive contemplation of course, which unfortunately he is not. All the most fanatical politicians only go one way, regardless of the consequences. They are not able to see they are wrong, because they are so burned up with hate for those who are different to them.

  • Mildred Hubble

    Who is IDS to be calling anyone else ‘pathetic’?! LMAO

  • margaret benjamin

    Then mr Ian Duncan Smith the local councils should start building affordable housing for the 250,000 on the waiting list,people who are already over crowded your asking one parent families to downsize and live were?nine times out of ten flats are not for children safety reasons and the fact the lifts ect. for people living in two bedroom/3bed can exchange . but that again does not deal with the majority. the older people one their own with a spare room cannot afford to pay either as this gov has changed the age for state pension so into your sixties no pension and still being told you will have to pay.David Cameron will never get into power again,the conservatives either for the country will not forgive them on a tax that is unfair, you can dress it up in whatever way you want its unfair and aimed at the poorer class.

  • brossen99

    It may be the case that the health-fascists are the driving force behind the Bedoom Tax, it would appear that the DWP’s entire defence of its policy is based on the theoretical need to reduce overcrowding.

    • IRejectFPTP

      Its based on the need to pack every ‘unproductive’ person in like sardines in a tin, so they can continue Maggie’s policy of selling off all the social housing stock. Where are all these one bedroom properties? Where I live, there are none. Just tiny little flats and two+ bedroom houses. Its another Poll Tax in any sense of the term, ppl paying more than they can afford to the tax man and not having any feasible way to avoid it. Govt saying get a smaller house, the ppl saying there are none and what ARE available are more expensive than their current property. Some even saying “Spare bedroom? What spare bedroom?”

  • Darren

    The Tax doesn’t affect people over 60, so how is that saving the Tax Payer?

    • Anita Bellows

      Yes it does from October 2013. To be exempt from the bedroom tax, in a couple, both would have to be over retirement age. If you marry somebody 10 years younger than you, you would have to wait 10 years to be exempt. Nice, is not it?

  • Jim Moore

    both parties politicians have scapegoat the very poor while ignoring the really big issues in society

  • John McBride

    A hospital blunder left our child like Cameron’s son was. Now we are full time carers/nursers, our lives, careers and income have been destroyed. Now we are told that we have to move into a house that is not big enough for his equipment and that our 9 year daughter would have to share a room with him. No room to turn a wheelchair, equipment, feeding, bathing and living. Added to that that a 2 bedroomed house is not big enough to be correctly adapted for a profoundly disabled child, if there were any to find, as everyone is going to want one now. But that is ok, MP’s can claim for 2nd homes of any size, before you even mention their other perks.
    What would happen if we stopped being free nurses/carers having decided that poverty is not a price worth paying. We could go back to earning decent salaries, building our pensions up for retirement and not needing benefits. However, the cost to the state of looking after a profoundly disabled person would be in excess of £250,000 pa. After all the disability was caused by hospital staff. In reality we are being punished more than once for being unpaid carers. This saving will be the straw that broke the camels back.

    • Yoolander

      You have my sincerest best wishes and empathy…they don’t care about the little people, only the big picture…you, and everyone who is badly affected by any of their policies are simply ” a price worth paying” in the quest for electoral victory and more Power.

      Labour should Manup and admit THEIR policy of replacing Housing Benefit with The Local Housing Allowance – and the spare bedroom rule – were wrong for being unfair and regressive…. until they do, IDS and Cameron will hammer them over the hypocrisy of objecting to all tenants having the same rules.

      If Milliband has the guts to do that, he will show he is master of the high moral ground and be able to start pushing IDS back into his box…and lay the groundwork for neutering IDS’s cruelty.

      Big piles of DoDah all round if not.

  • Deputy Dawg

    If we remove a large proportion of recent immigrants, those below a certain income threshold, or not working at all, then there would not be a housing crisis. There is only a shortage of housing, and only a housing bubble, because unlimited immigration continues to put unsustainable pressure on the more than adequate levels of housing which would exist for our own British people if 10 million immigrants had not arrived over the last 15 years.

    • Yoolander

      You mean round them up at midnight and shove them in Cattle Cars for “re-settlement”…?

  • Labour hypocrites

    How about posh boy Miliband gives up one of his bedrooms in leafy Primrose Hill to some deserving deserving family that are currently living in overcrowded accomodation because as IDS says there is an inefficient use of housing stock. More ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ stuff from the Labour party. Their opportunism and hypocrisy is the reason I fell out with them big time.

    • Yoolander

      Why ignore Baron Fraud ( 12 bedrooms in total), Boy George, CanCam and the rest of the Millionaires in the Cabinet ….Ed’s house went up in value, he didn’t pay the current market price for it and his family didn’t get rich through helping people avoid paying UK taxes…in fact his isn’t a “posh” family at all – being PolishJews, they do know a lot about being persecuted and targeted by ignorant, racist thugs.

  • El8za

    in case you didn’t know education isn’t synonymous with intelligence, therefore a grammatical error doesn’t signify lack of it! There’s one test to see if a government’s housing and poverty measures are working look around you~ are there people living on the streets begging in order to survive because if there are it simply isn’t working!

  • Chris Hurworth

    As someone who finds himself in this position, downsize or find 14% of the rent out of my benefits or get out of my home, I’d like to point out some realities to those who post quite often abusive comments on the internet etc.. You are of course entitled to your opinions, but try working out what is FACT and what is just more mind numbingly Tory led coma inducing bull..Re Tax and taxpayers, emotive subjects aren’t they?? well the FACTS are we are ALL taxpayers..1)Our benefit is classed as taxable income..2)Despite the garbage that gets printed in the daily rags we are NOT all LTB’s or Scroungers/Shirkers..More of us than not have worked long and hard and paid income tax and national insurance until we couldn’t work any longer..3)What we spend our benefit on is virtually all taxable..So when IDS prattles on about taxpayers is he talking about me too? No he’s not because he’s trying, as they all in the Conservative Party are, to cause conflict between us and those in full/part time poorly paid and highly taxed work with the use of smear tactics..Sad thing is it’s slowly working because some of you are all too eager to find someone to blame, and it’s easy to blame us because the Tories and the press are telling you to..Re Housing Inequality..I myself, and lots of people I know in Council HA properties think it’s out of order that those in the private rented sector housing market are and have been getting royally screwed for years, but that’s the Governments fault and the greedy landlords fault, not ours..And as for finding homes to move/downsize into, I don’t know how many times it has to be said, there aren’t anywhere near enough/any to meet demand, regardless of who you may hold politically responsible Cons/Lab..So please wake up and start pointing that blame back where it belongs before more people end up on the streets..

    • fantasy_island

      Why exactly do you think you should receive other peoples money to live in a property larger than you require?

      What’s the problem with a house share? why not allow other people similar to yourself to use the empty rooms?

      • Chris Hurworth

        Oh dear..Other peoples money eh?? I can only assume you mean taxpayers?? Yawn!!!..Well F_I you must have missed the ‘we are all taxpayers’ bit or the ‘I/we have worked in the past and paid our share of taxes and NI’ etc so I politely suggest a trip to Specsavers..A property larger than I require? Is that the same one that was deemed suitable for my needs when I moved in by the both the Government and my Housing Association?? The same one the Government has had, up until now, no problem paying Housing Benefit and Council Tax for because I/we had paid our Taxes and NI and therefore ”the law requires it”?? I have one, get that ‘1’ bedroom and ‘1’ smaller box room so explain to me if u can how its ”larger than I require”..And finally, why the F should I/we have to ‘share’ our homes with complete strangers who could be dangerous? Would you suggest the same to your Mother/Aunt/Sister if they were in the same position? I doubt it..Why don’t you ask a more relevant Question? and ask the right people?..Why haven’t the various Governments built more houses to replace the ones they allowed to be ‘sold off’ after Maggie decided it would be a good idea for S/Housing tenants to buy their homes??.

        • fantasy_island

          How much did you pay in Chris and how much do you get out?

          I see from your reply that you have two bedrooms but require only one, by the way my daughter lives in a house share quite safely so I genuinely don’t see a problem for you here.

          Your abode is not your home, it is a dwelling that the state allows you to live in at other peoples cost and should be only a short term measure, think any other public dwelling like a cell or a ward. You have no right whatsoever to live as well as a person who funds their own lifestyle.

          About the tax, everything you receive in benefits and subsidies comes from the tax imposed on the wealth creating sector, the fact that you pay tax on the goods that you purchase in no way makes you a contributor to the treasury but only a drain.

          • Chris Hurworth

            I have no idea how much I paid in/get out seeing as I’m not an accountant but the point is I worked and I paid my dues so now the government have a duty, yes a duty to look after me albeit in as basic a way as they can get away with.That’s what u pay NI for u mug..
            I said, and again u need to check your vision, I have one bedroom and one box room, not 2 bedrooms..The main one is big enough to get what I need in, the box room is barely big enough to swing a cat..Maybe your daughters house is big enough to share with x number of people, mine, a small mid terraced property, is just big enough for me..What you say about homes only being for short term is bollox..otherwise why did councils ha’s give people lifetime tenancies?

            Re read what I said about tax and try to understand it..Workers pay more, sure, that’s life Jim, but I have and I continue to pay what I can so bite me you sheep

            • fantasy_island

              Welfare provision is mainly a short term solution, a safety net that provides basic levels of protection to the recipient until they are able to improve their circumstances. Quite simply it should not become a lifestyle choice for those that lack motivation.

              Of course people with profound and debilitating handicap should receive a very high level of support, along with their family member carers. This for me is where a distinction has to be made Chris.

              You allude to your own disability and say you worked in the past, are you unable to work now, part time even, maybe from home. Are you 100% certain that you cannot make a continued contribution to your own upkeep?

              Perhaps this type of proactive approach would reduce the anxiety that you feel, to think Ok I will earn the 14% shortfall required for my rent rather than complain about your benefits would allow you a greater feeling of self worth, provide you with a little more control over the direction of your life.

              This whiny victim rant does you no favours, flash mob posting whenever disability / housing benefit issue are raised in the media is counterproductive.

              Why don’t you put your experience to good use and detail clear, achievable ideas that would assist people in a similar situation to yourself, framed within the financial restraints that the entire nation currently face. It would help also if you were to state where the cut off should be with welfare provision, how big the house, how much the payment, how long before your disability be reassessed etc.

              You have a lot of time at your disposal, do us all a favour and put it to good use.

          • Andrew Miles

            You do know the owners of The Spectator pay NO Corporation tax?

            • fantasy_island

              And care less, the country already squanders too much of other peoples money.

          • Michael Dale

            I would like to point out here that in a ten year period I paid in NI contributions and taxes nearly a million pounds, yet now I am disabled I being called a shirker and skiver and that I am not entitled to anything? Taxes are paid by the wealth creating sector? Open your eyes and look at how much is NOT being contributed by the wealth producing sector, £3 BILLION profit and not one penny in tax by a certain coffee company, the rich employ accountants to prevent paying tax. To quote… “To those that have shall be given. From those that have not, that little which they do have shall be taken.”

            • Chris Hurworth

              Nicely said Michael..but the sheep still won’t ”get it”..

              • fantasy_island

                See the gangs arrived to provide you with an intellectual boost.

            • Yoolander

              Don’t bite, my friend…the concept of Moral and social fairness and Justice are Poison to those of the Work House Brigade….until they come a cropper…then they go out and swindle little old Ladies.

            • fantasy_island

              Michael are you in paid employment?

              I do not know your disability but it may be possible that you can create a more pleasant life with a little application. It seems to me that you would have to be very seriously disabled indeed to make no contribution at all.

          • Yoolander

            There are a number of objections to your strictly Utilitarian reasoning:

            1,You deny essential aspects of humanity and human needs by using reductionist terminology and a Utilitarian perspective.

            2.You use selective abstraction in that you ignore the central point that was made regarding entitlement by virtue of prior contributions – by doing so, you assert that no one has any “right” to any benefit regardless of prior contribution. By using pejorative terms such as “drain”, you reveal a fixed and narrow perspective that is similar to Oswald Moseley and his “useless eaters” rhetoric beloved of the British Union of Fascists….was that your intention?

            3.You assert that only an abode that is owned outright or paid for using non-state funds – can be a “home” – even if those funds are obtained illegally make an artificial distinction between an individual who has consistently contributed to a fund specifically set up to provide assistance in time of need and those who have not yet needed to use that fund….would you accept that the home you paid for when you were working, ceases to be your home if the source of funding changed to one you had contributed to for that very purpose….is it right that a corrupt Politician should have a “Home” but an honest citizen be denied that right..?

            • fantasy_island

              Is your use of utilitarian an attempt at sarcasm or a genuine misunderstanding of the theory.

              Please clarify and I will respond further.

          • Jim Moore

            Why make up figures to back up your erroneous statements. Get this fact right ! Income tax collected is 155 bn and NI contributions ( oh yes the infamous INSURANCE which is 12% of income ) is conveniently forgotten. Given social services cost 201bn where is the 55 bn surplus then ? I think people ought to demand to find out why the NATIONAL INSURANCE scheme which is very dear for many including me (7.500 per year on a 50K salary) does not count ? It is not only a breech of contract but is the biggest con going

            • fantasy_island

              Have you replied to the right person Jim?

              I have no idea what you are talking about, did not make up any figures nor provide erroneous statements.

    • fantasy_island

      Hey Chris

      Did you find a smaller pad?

  • John Burst

    so who to vote in at the next general election? It wont be Conservative thats certain but Labour are just too weak. Forget the Liberals as they blew it big time, God help us it may just be ukip or bnp, but at least they would take care of the vulnerable in our society

  • Jimmy Sands

    To sum up IDS’s letter:

    1. I want a constructive discussion.
    2. You only want political pointscoring.
    3. Everything is Labour’s fault.
    4. I’m copying this to the press.

    Is that the gist?

    • Yoolander

      Really good precis

  • angel

    Why for heavens sake did the con dems not consider building more houses before trying to move people into non existent smaller homes. That would at least boost the econemy as well as saving money in the long run.

    • jack mustard

      Or indeed, why did IDS not admit that previous Tory governments are largely responsible for the lack of social housing? It was their policies that resulted in tens of thousands of council houses being sold at heavily discounted prices, and prevented councils from spending the proceeds on new housing.

      • Harold Angryperson

        That’s right, a decade and a half of Labour and it’s all the fault of previous Tory governments.

        • jack mustard

          There were 13 years of Labour following 19 years of Tory neglect of our national infrastructure (and of those 13 years, spending in the first 4 was restricted because of the last Tory
          recession, and the last 2 years were hobbled by the world banking crisis). I do not disagree that we need more social housing, and I wish Labour had done more in this respect – but if you are arguing Labour should have spent its time in office building more council houses, as well as refurbishing the near derelict housing stock it inherited and building hundreds of new schools and hospitals – then please say so. But since you and the other angypersons who regularly comment here resent every penny spent by the last government I suspect that is not the case.

        • Michael Dale

          well it WAS the Tories that sold off all the council housing and it WAS the councils that dd NOT replace them with the money they got from the sales, so let us blame a political party that came in long after it all happened, real smart

          • 2trueblue

            13yrs of potential opportunities for Liebore to build and create a better society and all wasted.

            In 13yrs. child poverty grew, youth unemployment grew, and the gap between rich and poor was also under Liebore. That is their legacy.

            • Yoolander

              You KNOW you are wrong about child poverty – are you hoping no one on here knows any facts..?

              • 2trueblue

                No, over their 13yrs child poverty did grow.

          • ChrissieSilverSurfer

            If you check the actual FACTS you will find Tory policies STOPPED councils using the money from council house sales. Do your research it may stop you making false allegations.

      • doggywoggy

        Why did the socially caring labour party not end the practice of selling council housing then, and why did the socially caring labour party not spend any of the massive increases in tax or council tax on building more social housing. Instead during the catastrophic 13 years of labour misrule, they kept selling the houses and STOPPED building social housing altogether and encouraged profligate private landlords to rip off the poor and needy.

        Yes the tories are stuck in a very difficult and cruel policy now, but as a direct result of labour’s cruel and greedy housing policy which served themselves and ripoff private landlords

        • dalai guevara

          Let me explain:

          – in times of economic growth, the housing stock can be left to the market, as private purchases of social housing stock can be afforded, and the upgrade of dismal existing housing stock and the construction of new-builds is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

          – in times of economic decline (we have seen 5 years of that now), the weakest part of the market requires support.That includes in particular the provision of an adequate number of social housing units. The alternative (what we are diong today) is to sit back and just pay private landlords the sums they demand – which does nothing to combat local shortages.

          • Chris Hurworth

            And that only makes those landlords richer, they push the prices up for their rents to make even more money and the vicious cycle starts..

            • fantasy_island

              So now you attack the people who provide you with a place to live.

              You really are a nasty bigot, I’m pleased that you are not a tenant in one of my properties.

        • Yoolander

          Because NewLabour was Red, I mean Pinkish Tory.

        • ChrissieSilverSurfer

          Actually, under Labour, Council house sales dropped due to them bringing in policy to MASSIVELY REDUCE THE HIGH DISCOUNTS THE TORIES GAVE PEOPLE. Suggest you check Hansard on Parliament website before you make false allegations.

  • HooksLaw

    IDS is too polite too nice to be successful at politics.
    He addressed Miliband as ‘Dear Ed’

    However IDS has hit the nail on the head over everything to do with labour (but do not expect say the BBC to emphasise it) – he says, ‘The truth is that after years under the last Labour Government, where this problem was allowed to grow out of control’

    For ‘this problem’ you can insert every department of government.

    • mary jackson

      IDS, and nice & polite are words that do not go together,

  • Dave Wyness

    i live in a 3 bed house with two kids,1 with physical disabilities the other is autisic,we have been told that the boys can share a room,yet its on record that due to my sons violent outbursts he attacks his brother,but none of this is taken into account.
    we have been told that due to our boys disabilities we could be exempt from the bedroom tax if we moved into a bungalow which is specially adapted IF THERE WAS ANY AVAILABLE,but theres not,so tough pay up. sorry but wankers the lot of them

    • fantasy_island

      Let your wife share with one of the boys and you bunk up with the violent one.

      See, problem solved in the short term until your situation improves.

      • Michael Dale

        Fantasy_Island you are a sick S.O.B

        • fantasy_island

          How so?

          I assure you I don’t lack compassion, it is clear that the situation faced by Mr Wyness is difficult and distressing, however it is my opinion that the state do not eliminate the motivation of individuals by providing everything on a plate. With hard work and a little good fortune the gentleman may create a more pleasant life for his family.

          • Chris Hurworth

            Hard work and good fortune? forgot to add it makes it so much easier if daddy has lots of money he stole from his tenants

      • Yoolander

        You remind me of those who Troll on Facebook RIP sites…same lack of empathy…been on any lately?

      • Chris Hurworth

        better still F I why not take your thinking one step further and just take the problem child and/or disabled child outside and put them up against a wall like Adolf would have done..I’m sure a sick c*** like you would agree that would solve the problem too

  • mike

    How can anyone stick up this sick government beats me. David cameron must have loved his son was disabled because he’s waged all out war on disabled people the sick s.o.b

  • therealguyfaux

    Somebody answer me this really dopey question: why can those charged with administering housing benefits not insist on discovering who really are “overhoused” and who are “underhoused,” and arrange one-for-one swaps to the extent presently possible? Why would this not be feasible, does anyone know? Heaven knows, the State is intrusive enough in many other aspects of life as to demand certain compliances with certain rules. If the Left really were concerned to practice what they preach as far as “To-each-by-need-from-each-by-ability” goes, they’d be a damned sight more serious about implementing it, would you not think so? Or is this some ruse to get more people hired to administer such programmes? (Perish the thought this may simply be a full-employment wheeze!)

    • Simon

      Answer me this….why the fcuk does the state have to pay for housing? I earn a bit more than £13,000 a year and nobody pays anything to help me. I get hammered in tax at every turn I make.

      • MrVeryAngry

        Housing benefit is a subsidy to landlords. End of. Bring in a ‘universal benefit’ to replace it and all other benefits. And if you really want to ‘fair-up’ housing costs introduce LVT with ciitzens dividend.

      • zarathustra2k1

        Pro-Tip: the state will also help you when your employer decides to outsource your job overseas & lays you off; or will you take a stand & _not_ claim the benefits you’re entitled to as a British citizen, & that you’ve paid into your whole working life, & decide to live on the streets without any form of govt. assistance?

        “A society is judged by how it treats it’s weakest members”

      • Sam Dunbar

        ohh dear arnt you the lucky one i really get fed up with im all right jacks like you im sure you or one of your family have had benefits at one time and dont blame the poor for you getting hammered with tax they didnt make the rules

      • Chris Hurworth

        Believe me Simon none of us getting H/benefit and /or other benefits etc think hard working people like u should be screwed, but direct your anger in the right direction..The Government/s..Don’t aim your rage on those lower down the food chain than you..That’s unfair mate

  • jay

    before all you moan about tax an tories are right and wrong why don’t you ask them how is the rescission affecting them ? ducan can yell all he wants yes he is punishing those who take the mick but his so called cleaver schemes is also affecting hard working families he can stand there and talk the talk no worries for him he sleeps well ! there all about cuts this and cut that they are making people poorer quicker than labour did so get your facts right yes tony and brown may have not regulated the banks properly but what the tories are doing making sure if your not in the millionaire’s club you remain at the bottom of the chain so if you cant afford a pasty blame the eaton boys they dont like working people or poor people !

    • Fergus Pickering

      Jay, this is illiterate and incoherent. It might help if you wrote down whatyou wanted to say first and then punctuated it, or got somebody else to do it for you. Then you would stop looking like a fool which you may well not be..

      • Chris Hurworth

        It must be wonderful to be perfect Fergus

        • fantasy_island

          I can’t speak for Fergus but I find it is.

          • Chris Hurworth

            yawns @ the mong

            • fantasy_island

              I suppose you are entitled to use the term “mong”, still surprised that you did though.

              • fantasy_island

                Hey Chris

                Did you find a smaller pad?

  • Alexander Taylor

    While I understand the thinking of this attempt to use the social housing more efficiently, there are some blaring problems that have not been even thought of never mind addressed. At 61 l have no problem when my 18 yr olds son moves out to move to a single bedroom cottage/ ground floor flat but here is just one problem there are non available, that’s one problem, and if there was, who would pay for the move?, would the rent be 14 gbp cheaper. I did not go to Eaton or Oxford and l thought of those two problems all by myself. Cameron/Osborne/IDS for f**ksake get a grip

    • Sesachili Hopkins

      If you had gone to Eton, you might have been able to spell it correctly!

    • Michael Dale

      Seems those of us that did NOT go to a fancy extremely expensive school and joined an exclusive criminal club, can see if there are no single bedroom houses available that moving people out of 2 bedroom properties may be a tad difficult, Goes to show that getting a lesser education is better than learning how to destroy other peoples business’s and cause criminal damage.

  • Anita Bellows

    Because of benefit cuts, people who became homeless are being rehoused in Westminster at £700 the night. Because of the bedroom tax, pensioners face a £75m bill, two thirds of households affected have a person disabled, foster parents will have to pay. And it is the beginning. There are not enough houses for downsizing, people do not have the money to pay. And it has been discovered that the administration of this bedroom tax is so expensive that there will be no savings. But that is ok. At least people on benefits will have had a good kicking.

    • Harold Angryperson

      But, as has already been explained numerous times – PENSIONERS WILL NOT BE AFFECTED. Your other figures are complete rubbish too – sources please?

      • Anita Bellows

        The DWP “Make it fit” document:

        Extract :People who have already reached state pension age by April 2012 ill not be subject to the size criteria. A couple are not subject to the size criteria where the eldest member has attained state pension credit age, even if the younger member is still of working age. However when Universal Credit is introduced in October 2013, it is likely that, for new claimants, both will be treated as working age and subject to the size criteria until they have both reached the qualifying age for state pension credit.”

        The document is here :

        Any more questions?

  • old_labour

    Thanks to the government we have whole families sharing one room in bed and breakfast.

    • Terence Hill


      • jack mustard

        But IDS seems to admit as much in his letter…

    • Andrew Miles

      It reminds me of the old Alexei sayle gag about there being a massive 60s revival. ‘There’s whole families trying to live on 6 quid a week’

  • 2trueblue

    Not alone did Liebore not provide for the population that we had, and the growth of same, but felt it unnecessary to think what they were doing by opening our doors to unprecedented numbers of immigrants. Liebore behaved in a callow, careless, and totally irresponsible fashion.

    Their whole time in power was built on vacuous soundbites. The only housing problems they seemed to have engaged in solving was seeing if they could make a buck by flipping the properties they were buying on the electorate.

    • telemachus

      We must look to the future
      The last few years of Gordon’s Government had constraints imposed by the US triggered recession.
      Now we see a dynamic plan to build for growth
      Why does Osborne not match that?

      • David B

        I see you are back to rewriting history. Gordon triggered the UK rescission by over borrowing and throwing mobile phones at anyone who did not tell him what he wanted to hear.

        As for dynamic growth agenda you mean borrow even more to expand the public sector, squezing bank borrowing for the SME sector even more and tax the productive private sector even more until they close putting people out of work and leaving even more debt for our children to pay

        • Paul J

          Wow. Gordon created a global bust. What a guy.
          Your second paragraph seems to imply that higher government spending would leave less for banks to loan to SMEs. Classic economic fail there.

          • David B

            Gordon created the UK bust! The Americans created their bust the Canadians, Austrailians, South America, Aisa, etc did not have a bust!

            Your second paragraph implies you do not understand the banking system and what the credit crunch actually is. In a nut shell a bank is limited in what it lends to a multiple of its balance sheet capital reserves. These are reported to the BOE weekly and monthly. Simply put the credit church happened when a porportion of the banks loans went bad, reducing the banks capital position to a point where the total amount the banks had lent was more than the banks were legally able to lend so the banks were forced to reduce lending rather than providing new loans.

            The same ratio still applies and any lending to the government reduces the pool of new loans to the private sector. As lending to SME’s is the most difficult market they only get what’s left after government takes what it needs first and the PLC get what they need. Therefore more government lending reduces lending to SME’s

        • Michael Dale

          Apart from the fact that it was the American banking screw up that led to the recession, said banks being bailed out partly with ENGLISH funds, same as our banks were bailed out solely with English funds, the vast amount of which went on bonuses and salary increases for the wazzocks that screwed up in the first place

          • 2trueblue

            You can not put this all on the Americans, but Gordon thought it was a good line. The UK indulged in a housing boom, a borrowing frenzy, both to sustain the housing boom and remortgaging. The government at the time encouraged it and we had MPs doing ‘Buy to Let’ on the tax payer, money was cheap, people over borrowed. A home became an investment.
            Governments were borrowing because they could and that facilitated their ability to grow. That is where the money went.

          • David B

            What part of Northern Rock was exposed to the US market. What part of Ulster Bank was exposed to the US marker. The truth is a buble was blown in the UK property market by UK government policy and that lead to the UK bank bail our and recession. Other countries avoided the fait of the UK the question of why should be asked before passing the buck otherwise we will make the same mistakes again.

            As for UK bailing out banks outside the UK – John Redwood has covered this it happened because of the bail out model chosen by the Brown Government. There were cheaper more effective ways to sort the banks

      • David B

        And the formal liquidation of the IBRC in Ireland is the final nail in the “saving the world” farce. This whole structure was Gordon’s great plan and its liquidation is the proof that the cost of the bailout plan far exceed its benefit.

        • telemachus

          History shows the world financial system unsure of how to retrieve stability following Lehman et seq
          The US was floundering
          Gordon single handedly showed the way forward and saved us all from the bread line
          He then engineered the re-emergence of growth
          History will judge favourably

          • David B

            Gordon bullied Iceland because they showed everyone how it should have been done.

            Cheek out the debate in the Irish parliament it is on line. The savings to the Irish taxpayer from dumping Gordon’s model are hudge and will great the “dynamic” growth you so crave by enabling tax cuts!

            Gordon will be remembered as the boom and bust chancellor. Blowing a buble in the economy just like Barber with the same banking crises tacked on. Then there is the destruction of pensions and don’t forget it was Labour that was in charge of the NHS when south staff. happened

      • 2trueblue

        Time for you to take a holiday and get your head fixed.

    • Michael Dale

      And what may I ask is SCameron and co doing about the millions of Lithuanians and the other Eastern Bloc country that are about to invade?

      • Jimmy Sands

        Stop talking baltics.

      • 2trueblue

        You know I have yet to set up my direct line to Cameron on this matter. But if you ask Bliar I think he and Liebore had a really good system of predicting figures in all areas. Try them.

        By the way the Lithuanianns have had the right to come here for some years now.

        • LeonC

          haha haha blimey the pot calling the kettle black no change the statistics are still screwed

          • 2trueblue

            I think you mean skewed.

  • MajorKingKONg

    children having to stand to do homework? what happened to Floors or beds to sit on ..seriously ..OTT

  • Michael Caine

    Yes,in private rents you only receive a LHA for the number of rooms you need…BUT you can also have a TWO or THREE bed if you find one for the same allowance as a one…therefore SPARE rooms paid for (if you are on HB)…So why not do a LHA for social houses, if they want equality, then all tenants can have spare bedrooms using the method said above…In my town we now have many empty two beds because no one wants to pay bedroom tax, so wheres the hundreds of people desperate for social housing?..

    • telemachus

      Where are they?
      They are homeless since they cannot afford the 2 beds

    • Tony Quintus

      Total nonsense, not to mention total failure of economic intelligence. THEIR IS NO BEDROOM TAX! it isn’t a tax, and I’m pretty sure people haven’t fled their 2 bedroom homes in fear of a slightly reduced subsidy.

      • patricia marsh

        thats because there is nowhere to go so we stay as we cant afford tents

      • Anita Bellows

        ‘I am pretty sure’ is not good enough, is it? Any data to back this up?

      • angel

        when you are on benefits and barely managing then a small amount of money is the difference between having a roof above your head or not.But also it’s not just the bedroom tax.The %1 rise in benefits being really a cut.There is the WCA that says you are fit for work whether you are or not.while you appeal you lose £30 a week out of your benefit(this is for a family on esa).then local housing allowance rates have changed with a cap on housing benefit so low that you are unable to find a privately rented property without moving completely out of the area where you live and have always lived and have children in school,friends,family.With two thirds of people affected by the bedroom tax being disabled it is not just people who have a spare room that is not being used being targeted,it is disabled people who are using those rooms,for carers or disabled children or when one or both parents or adults have disabilities and have to sleep in seperate rooms.This is simply social cleansing. Most sick or disabled people will have paid into the system for many years by the way.23 years in my case only to be de-humanised when you find yourself needing state support.You may think you will never need state support,but nobody knows if they will become sick or disabled in the future.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Two thirds of the people affected are disabled. Do you know this? How do you know? If that is so then it is indeed unjust. But is it? Yu need to tell us how you know.

          • Anita Bellows

            DWP Impact assessment. In fact it is : in 2/3 of affected households there is a disabled person.


          • Michael Dale

            Governments OWN figures as told to the newspapers by SCAMeron, of course you can never believe everything you read in the papers and NEVER believe a thing a politician tells you, like benefit frauds runs at 5-8% TRUE figures 0.7%, not even one percent, but hey doesn’t have a good sound bite does it? Less than one percent? How about 65% of Social Security is old age pensions? Actual figures from the treasury, but again not a good sound bite when talking about reducing “Benefits” is it. I suggest you do some serious research instead of listening to the lies told by politicians and papers owned by friends of politicians. Oh you has an O after the U whilst we are on the subject of spelling.

      • zarathustra2k1

        You oughtn’t talk about failure of intelligence when you don’t know the difference between “there'” & “their”.

      • Michael Dale

        Human Rights act states the MINIMUM someone has to have to live on, reducing this amount by whatever means, call it tax, call it a reduction in benefits if that suits you, same thing, living BELOW the breadline already and then further monies get taken away, I suppose you actually support this demonization of the poor, the sick and the disabled? Oh by the way it is NOT just the sick, disabled and unemployed this hits, but the poor sods that are working minimum wage jobs and getting housing benefits because the rich do not wish to pay a living wage, THEY are ALSO having to pay this tax, reduction in benefits whatever you wish to call it, I do hope and pray that you never end up without a job, having to live on what YOU have paid for, namely SOCIAL SECURITY, paid for out of YOUR TAXES and NATIONAL INSURANCE

  • telemachus

    This is magic
    The more they protest the more they emphasise the injustice

    • Stu

      Don’t be stupid

      • telemachus

        The mud has stuck already
        Mr average mirror/sun reader will not read or even hear of any IDS argument

        • mike

          We will here the ids argument but we no its bullshit from a rich man

          • mike