In a breathtakingly dishonest press release, McVey claimed that the public support the Bedroom Tax based on the findings of a recent poll carried out by the DWP. Yet this poll found that only 30% of people support the Bedroom Tax if it means someone might have to move to a different area – the inevitable consequence for many hit by the tax. 40% of people do not support the policy if this is the case. The survey also found that only 31% agree with the Bedroom Tax if it means people have less money to spend on bills or living expenses compared to 35% who oppose the measure in these circumstances.
These are not the only findings which reveal the public distaste for this policy in practice. 54% of people think the Bedroom Tax is unfair if there are not enough smaller properties to rehouse people locally, compared to just 17% in support, whilst only 33% of respondents thought it right that someone hit by the tax should be forced to move into the private rented sector compared to 35% who disagreed.
None of these results were mentioned in McVey’s press release. Yet the survey clearly shows that the public are strongly opposed to the Bedroom Tax if it means people being forced to move or facing increased poverty. And that’s exactly what the policy will mean to almost all those affected. McVey chose to ignore this completely and instead gushed that 78% people believe it is important to tackle over-crowding and under-occupancy in social housing, which is hardly a surprising result. Survey respondents were not asked if this should be tackled by building much more social housing, the only thing guaranteed to help solve the problem.
What the survey reveals is that people have a far more nuanced approach to the problem than DWP Ministers currently seem capable of. So whilst 54% of the public do not think it is very ‘fair’ that some people have more bedrooms than they need – the other statistic the DWP trilled last week – a far larger majority of people believe the measures being taken to address this are unfair.
Few people would argue that society is currently very fair. It is unfair that a fucking idiot like George Osborne inherited a multi-million pound fortune and slimed his way through a hugely expensive education to grasp control of the nation’s finances. As the daughter of a highly successful businessman Esther McVey’s only real experience of life has been a non-job in her parent’s company followed by a few appearances on the telly. It is unfair that a pompous and out of touch fool like her should have been given the power to destroy the lives of thousands of severely disabled people by attempting to close the Independent Living Fund. Life is not fair, as the public know only too well.
It is quite possible to think that some people having bedrooms they don’t need is probably a bit unfair and yet still be strongly opposed to crude measures like the Bedroom Tax to address this disparity. And that is what the results of this survey seem to suggest. That only 49% of people surveyed agreed with the Bedroom Tax ‘in principle’ – if not in practice – shows that in fact many people accept someone might need an extra room due to disability, having children come to stay or a wide range of other factors that reflect the diversity of human needs.
A recent study on the Benefit Cap revealed that support for this policy began to disintegrate when people were made aware of the possible consequences – such as families being socially cleansed to different cities. This week’s survey shows that people have a similar, and stronger, opposition to the consequences of the Bedroom Tax. People want benefit cuts without anyone getting hurt. And they have been deceived that this can take place by a ten year campaign by politicians of all parties to portray life on benefits as easy.
The reality is that people dependent on social security were desperately poor before welfare reform began. The only people getting rich out of the welfare state were landlords. With hundreds of thousands of people set to be forced out of social housing into the private sector due to the Bedroom Tax, the landlords will keep getting rich. But as homelessness continues to rise, the use of foodbanks soars and with a two year wave of evictions just around the corner, the public is about to discover the truth about the UK’s scant safety net. They will not forgive this Government easily when they see what has been done and the lies that were told to justify this savagery begin to unravel.
The survey results can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/255654/public-perceptions-of-rsrs.pdf
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