Should Wales be able to ditch the ‘bedroom tax’?

Extracts from the constitutional convention’s recent online discussion on the ‘bedroom tax’.

As part of the IWA’s Constitutional Convention, we held an online discussion on the ‘spare room subsidy’, and asked whether Wales should have the power to ditch the ‘bedroom tax’.

Below are some extracts from the debate. To read the whole thing click here.

…Wales should be afforded the same powers as Scotland to look at other ways of addressing under occupancy. The current way this is dealt with leaves people poorer, at risk of eviction and often going without food and heat to ensure they have a roof over their head…

There are no good arguments to continue the removal of the spare room subsidy. Its false economy in low value areas where tenants can move to a small property in the private rented sector and the cost to the taxpayer is more.

In Scotland households who lost out on housing benefit through the ‘Bedroom Tax’ to could access compensation through Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP). (See here for more info:
Should Welsh Government have been mitigating the ‘spare room subsidy’ too?

…Wales currently only receives £6.5m DHP so if WG had the funds they could now add an additional £10m and wipe out over 50% of the RSRS.

…Poor expensive housing in Wales is the norm today. If this tax is not abolished then the government need to be looking at increasing it’s social housing stock quick smart…

Housing Associations have signed a pact with WG to deliver 10,000 new homes by April 2016 – they are on track to meet this target, however, there will still be a huge gap between the demand for and the supply of social housing.

We found the original DHP application form from the LA [Pembrokeshire], was totally inadequate for filling in the financial breakdown. Guidance was minimal and it is highly likely that applications that were turned down may have been accepted had the form been more detailed, or better guidance given…

…Bedroom tax has directly caused an increase in the housing benefit bill according to the DWP figures released last week [17 Feb I think], so has failed in all its targets.

…Of course Wales ought to have power to mitigate it…The problem with mitigation is that the money will have to be taken from other areas of expenditure.

The discussion is still ongoing. Please add your thoughts and comments to the discussion here.

5 thoughts on “Should Wales be able to ditch the ‘bedroom tax’?

  1. Y’know reading the lack of sensible comments in these discussions I do start to wonder if I’ve been wrong all this time. I believed the Welsh people had to take some responsibility for their situation and that they could. But if the lack of discussion here and the miserable level of the discussion is any guide I was wrong. It seems there is no Welsh public with an interest in and common sense about public affairs. Perhaps we are after all an incompetent, servile bunch who need to be run by someone else – as a people like Karen, John Walker and Howell evidently believe. What happened to Wales and the Welsh? What happened to our self respect? Is it too late to raise this people from their supine, terminal slumber?

  2. Epitaph for the Welsh. Years ago Tom Earley wrote:

    So now I’ll leave the politics to others
    And not be an outsider any more
    I’ll go back to the valley, to my mother’s
    And never set my foot outside the door.

    Except to go to chapel on Bryn Sion
    And maybe join the Cwmbach male voice choir
    I’ll sit at home and watch the television
    And talk about the rugby by the fire.

  3. I don’t see a problem with Wales being able to do what it wants, whether it be regarding the matter of bedroom tax, education policy or language.

    The important thing is that the other constituent parts of this recently loosened ‘United Kingdom’ also have the right to do what they want. And this includes varying powers on matters such as financial transfers to other regions and ‘countries’.

    Barnett needs radically overhauling. The time for a Barnett ‘floor’ has long since passed.

  4. Karen’s argument seems to be: we will treat you like any other part of the union and see you are funded at a level that enables you to have the same social services just so long as you do exactly as we do and don’t want to run your own affairs. Other states can maintain a level of social solidarity while giving their constituent parts extensive powers within a federation. Why is that too much to ask in the UK? If Wales wants to set its own education policy, why does that mean it deserves worse treatment than Cumbria?
    Barnett does need reform, mainly because it gives Scotland far too much money. All the work done by Holtham and others shows that is not true of Wales.

  5. @ R. Tredwyn. I do not believe in any way that we are an incompetent and servile bunch,and need to be run by someone else!!.The political people who encouraged us to vote for ‘devolution’ somehow persuaded people that transferring powers to Cardiff would a)lead to better public services,i.e getting ‘bigger bang for our buck’,,and following that process the confidence of welsh people would increase and ‘nation building’ would continue at a faster rate. The Nationalists who fully supported ‘devolution’ as the ‘first step’ to separation from UK were never going to be satisfied and constant agitation/propaganda started and encouraged by welsh media.We are where we are and although I would scrap the Assembly tomorrow it aint going to happen as huge vested interests,both a)personal,b)political are involved,however I can see major problems down the line in our relationship with the people who ‘live over the border’,and in particular in relation to the Barnett Formula ,and also future of BBC which is on its last legs. In my voting life time of 52 years I believe the UK population have elected the appropriate form of government needed at that time,and this has produced checks and balances,however our history/geography/linguistic divide will create a virtual one party state and we know where that leads. It is not too late to raise this people from the supine,terminal slumber,however the current structure with ALL powers at the centre and controlled by a nationalist/socialist majority will never make the supply changes necessary for public services,and also make people as individuals responsible,and accountable for their lifestyles etc etc. Giving power to individuals is the best way for them to awaken from slumber and inertia.

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