Lord Freud lives in eight-bedroom country mansion!

http://no2bedroomtax.co.uk/2013/05/more-torylies-bedroom-tax-was-designed-to-save-money/

More #Tory Lies: Bedroom Tax was designed to ‘save money’

untitledbkk

“My Lords, the policy as it stands is designed, first, to save money. We are looking to save £500 million a year here, which is within the context of the overall saving of £2 billion that we are trying to make over two years.”

Lord Freud let the cat out of the bag and admitted that the bedroom tax is not here to improve our housing system, nor is it about ‘fairness as the PM claims’.  It is implemented to ‘save money’ this is a lie. The Government’s own impact statement states clearly that the bedroom tax is COST NEUTRAL to central Government.

The real cost of the bedroom tax will be bared by people on the lowest incomes who can’t pay the bedroom tax but also can’t move due to the lack of suitable social housing… but we already knew that..

 

http://www.24dash.com/news/housing/2013-05-17-Bedroom-tax-victims-send-Lord-Freud-stormy-weather-postcard

 

Bedroom tax victims send Lord Freud ‘stormy weather’ postcard

 

Lord Freud has been presented with a postcard from social housing tenants affected by the government’s benefit changes – preddavid-freudicting stormy clouds.

The welfare reform minister was given the card during a meeting with Wakefield and District Housing’s (WDH) chief executive, Kevin Dodd, at the social landlord’s head office. Freud met with the CEO to discuss the impact of the Direct Payments Demonstration Project, Universal Credit and the bedroom tax.

The bedroom tax has seen around 5,300 WDH tenants have £14 a week slashed from their housing benefit. The tenants’ postcard message read:

“Dear Lord Freud, weather here up north been inclement with stormy clouds on the horizon. “Building on sand looks shaky with the onset of high tide threatening to wash away the foundation.

“Lots of confused people, especially vulnerable, wandering around; not sure what choices to make, rock or hard place. “Outlook could be brighter, this depends on future weather forecaster!”

Following the meeting, Mr Dodd (pictured, with Freud) said: “The government’s welfare reforms are having a major impact on the lives of our tenants. This meeting was an important opportunity for us to provide the government with a better understanding of what these changes mean for local people.

“I hope our discussions with Lord Freud will help to shape and influence the government’s final welfare reform policies for the better of people living across the district.” 

Lord Freud said: “Universal Credit will ensure that work pays and direct rent payments will help people move more smoothly into employment, but we are making sure claimants have the right help to make the change. “The work here at Wakefield and across all six demonstration projects is vital in helping us to set the right levels of support for social tenants as they move onto Universal Credit.”

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK8hRqfIwWA&feature=youtu.be

Government urged to abandon ‘bedroom tax’

This is the latest You Tube on Lord Freud talking and answering questions about the ‘Bedroom Tax’ see for yourself the emotionless response from a man whose heart holds no compassion, no fear of cut sharp politics.

Debbie Simmons, Council Tenant, CITA.

 

http://www.24dash.com/news/central_government/2013-05-15-Lord-Freud-Bedroom-tax-suicide-desperately-sad

Lord Freud: Bedroom tax suicide ‘desperately sad’

Welfare reform minister Lord Freud has described a suicide linked to his controversial bedroom tax policy as a “desperately sad event”. Giving evidence to the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Committee, which is investigating the impact of housing benefit reforms in Wales, Lord Freud extended his condolences to the family of Stephanie Bottrill, who left a note in which she blamed the government for her death.

Ms Bottrill, from Solihull in the West Midlands, died in the early hours of 4 May after she was struck by a lorry on the M6 motorway. In a letter to her family she blamed the bedroom tax, writing: “Don’t blame yourself for me ending my life. The only people to blame are the government.” Ms Bottrill lived alone in a three-bedroom council house in Kingshurst and had had her housing benefit cut by £80 per month. Under the new rules, she was deemed to be under-occupying her social home by two bedrooms.Lord Freud Reform Risk Private Landlords

Lord Freud told MPs at the hearing this week: “Clearly it is a desperately sad and tragic event, as you say. I and my colleagues send our condolences to the family. “I’m not in a position to make any more comment. The relevant authorities need to investigate exactly what happened.” Committee member and Labour MP Stephen Doughty warned that the bedroom tax and other benefit changes were “pushing some people over the edge” and asked if charities like the Samaritans had been asked to make an assessment of the impact.

The MP said: “Even the fear of this, rather than the effect, is causing a lot of distress and I’m wondering what sort of evidential assessment you have made about increased stress, depression, concerns of that nature.” Lord Freud replied “I’m not aware of any” assessment of what the changes might be doing to vulnerable people.

He did, however, say that the Department for Work and Pensions was monitoring the impact of the under-occupation charge very closely and was “talking directly” to 80 local authorities. The results of these findings were yet to be published, he added. When questioned about the performance of Welsh housing association Bron Afon in the Universal Credit demonstration projects for direct payments of housing benefit to social housing tenants, Lord Freud said it had been “one of the better performers”.

Bron Afon released figures earlier this year that showed that tenants given responsibility for settling their rent using benefit paid to them direct by the DWP owed an average of £100 more than other households at the association. Duncan Forbes, Bron Afon’s chief executive, said at the time he was expecting arrears to rise for tenants in the demonstration project but not on such a scale. Lord Freud said “the trick” to getting round direct payments was to stop “people who are likely to be a problem going onto them in the first place – or at least not without a lot of support”.

 

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/bedroom-tax-suicide-lord-freud-1889264

Bedroom Tax suicide: Minister Lord Freud brushes off questions

about  Stephanie BottrillSTEPHA~1

14 May 2013 18:22

The out-of-touch former banker also  dismissed the 220,000 families affected by the housing benefit changes as  “relatively small”

Welfare minister Lord Freud today tried to brush off questions about  Bedroom Tax victim Stephanie Bottrill, who took  her own life over worries about the charge.

The millionaire peer sent his condolences to her grieving family but refused  to discuss her “desperately sad” case with MPs investigating the hated  policy.

The out-of-touch former banker, who lives in a £2million North London home,  also dismissed the 220,000 families affected by the housing benefit changes as  “relatively small”.

Lord Freud said that people struggling with the rent rise on spare bedrooms  in social housing “could go out to work” and repeated his call for divorced dads  to put their children up on sofabeds.

Jessica Morden, a Labour member of the Commons Select Committee which was  grilling him, pointed out that many of those affected are in work and cannot get  extra hours.

And the MP added: “I think he was completely out of touch.

“He did not have any detailed answers to the questions we were asking and  what s worse he didn’t seem to care.”

Ministers have faced mounting calls to scrap the Bedroom Tax since it emerged  Mrs Bottrill left suicide notes blaming the Government before throwing herself  in front of a lorry.

People like her who have spare rooms in social housing lost 14% of their  housing benefit if they have one and 25% if they have two or more when the  policy came in last month.

Ms Bottrill, 53, lived alone in a three-bedroom house after both her son and  her daughter moved out and faced finding an extra £80 a month or losing her  home.

The bungalow she was offered as an alternative was six miles away from her  friends and family.

Lord Freud was asked what the Department for Work and Pensions’ response had  been by Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan EdwardMembers of the Crawley Independent Tenants Association protest outside Crawley Town Halls at the Welsh Affairs select committee  inquiry into the bedroom tax.

The minister said: “Clearly it is a desperately sad and tragic event, as you  say. I and my colleagues send our condolences to the family.

“I’m not in a position to make any more comment. The relevant authorities  need to investigate exactly what happened.”

Labour’s Stephen Doughty warned that the bedroom tax and other benefit  changes were “pushing some people over the edge” and asked if charities like the  Samaritans had been asked to make an assessment of the impact.

The MP said: “Even the fear of this, rather than the affect, is causing a lot  of distress and I’m wondering what sort of evidential assessment you have made  about increased stress, depression concerns of that nature.”

Lord Freud told the committee that “I’m not aware of any” assessment of what  the changes might be doing to vulnerable people.

Jonathan Edwards said that he had expected a better answer from Lord Freud  about Ms Bottrill’s case.

“If I was the minister in charge of a policy that has resulted in someone  taking their own life I think I would be pretty upset about it,” he added.

The minister refused to say anything more when approached by the Mirror  outside the hearing in Westminster.

 

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/bedroom-tax-tory-lord-freud-1545677

Loads of room to talk! Bedroom tax Tory Lord Freud

 

lives in eight-bedroom  country mansion

 

19 Jan 2013 22:00 A very big house in the country: Lord Freud's Kent mansion

Welfare Minister, who also

has a £1.9  million London

home, is labelled as an

‘out of touch hypocrite’

The Tory lord plunging 95,000 into poverty with his “bedroom tax” stays in an  eight-bedroom country mansion … when he’s not living in his £1.9million London  home, the Sunday  People has revealed.

Lord Freud was accused of being an out of touch hypocrite last night after  provoking a storm of criticism this week defending the tax which will see some  of Britain’s poorest families charged for spare bedrooms. And thousands face being turfed out on the streets if they cannot afford  it. Lord Freud owns a huge, historic country pile – one of the oldest in England  – in Kent, which he uses for weekends and holidays.

During the week, the father of three, 62, whose children have grown up and  moved out, lives with his wife Priscilla in a four-bedroom townhouse in Highgate  – that’s three MORE spare bedrooms – while working as David Cameron’s Welfare  Minister on the front benches of the Tory party. It will astonish those in social housing who face losing their homes if they  cannot afford to pay bedroom tax when the reforms are pushed through in  April.

Labour MP Jon Cruddas said: “The bedroom tax is one of the most abhorrent  attacks yet by this Government on some of the poorest people in Britain. Now we  learn one of its architects has ten spare rooms himself. “This is rank hypocrisy and more evidence of how out of touch this Government  is with normal people. How would Lord Freud feel if he was told to downsize his  properties?”Lord Freud

The tax – officially called “under occupancy tax” – means people in social  housing who have a spare bedroom will find housing benefit claims reduced by £40  to £80 a month. Anyone in housing association homes or council housing with a spare bedroom  will lose 14 per cent of housing benefit, or 25 per cent if they have two spare  rooms – despite the lack of one bedroom council homes. The bedroom tax will see  666,000 working-age social tenants losing an average £14 a week. Housing  association tenants face losing £16 a week. It is estimated 95,000 people will  not be able to afford the changes.

All claimants with at least one spare bedroom will be affected, including  separated parents who share child care and may have been allocated an extra  bedroom, foster families and those with disabled children. Lord Freud, the great-grandson of psychoanalyst Sigmund, has been responsible  for overhauling the benefits system after leaving Labour as an independent  advisor and joining the Conservatives in 2009. He is also behind the  controversial Universal Credit – due in the autumn.

He went into meltdown when he  tried to defend his policy on BBC Radio Five Live this week when he told  Graeme Gair from Inverness that he did not deserve a spare bedroom for his  children as they only stay with him on weekends and holidays. Flustered Freud tried to bluff his way out of it by repeating the policy. His  attitude provoked a storm on social networks.

But the Lord’s Eastry Court, a listed building, has plenty of room for  guests. One local said: “It’s an enormous place. There are passages going off in  all directions.”

David Cameron mugs the hard-up but gives his rich

Tax bankers not bedrooms

chums perks

 

By Owen Jones, author of Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working  Class

Remember the squeals of protest when a mansion tax was floated for proud  owners of multi-million pound homes?

Overruled by the Tories, the policy died in a ditch. But where are the  screams of outrage over the bedroom tax, due to hammer 670,000 already  struggling people in April?

If you rent your home from the council or a housing association and have a  spare room, you could end up having to cough up £80 extra a month. It doesn’t matter if your kids have left home, your son is on tour in the  Army, or you’re ill and keeping somewhere for your carer to stay over – if the  room is empty for over 13 weeks, you’ll have to pay up.

If you don’t like it, the Tories say, then you should downsize. We’re told this is about bringing down the £21billion housing benefit bill.  But we’d save much more if we stopped using housing benefit to line the pockets  of private landlords charging absurd rents. Building homes would create jobs, and if we brought rents under control, we  could bring down the housing benefit bill.

What’s worse is this comes on top of other Tory raids on people’s livelihoods  – all while real wages fall. No wonder Save The Children reports parents choosing between heating homes  and feeding their kids. At the same time, David Cameron’s wealthy friends are  getting tax cuts. The Tories want us to fight each other with talk of strivers versus skivers –  but don’t forget, it’s Cameron and his mates mugging hundreds of thousands of  people who are striving just to get by.

 

 We are Human Beings and NOT Sheep, To Be Shunted From One Property To Another!

A blog from Debbie Simmons, Council Tenant, CITA.

The ‘Bedroom Tax’ has been designed by the power and elite who control the political arena that filters down in to our small town of Crawley, West Sussex. One of the architect’s is out of touch, psychopathic, filled with gutter politics which are always ill thought out, is Lord Freud a privileged man who has never ‘wanted’ in his life, apart from control which is a psychopathic element, the desire to control others. The psychopath takes the lead to undermine others and control their reality, their immediate environment and gives them great satisfaction and a hunger for more as time goes by. The ‘Bedroom Tax’ is just one of those as a prime example of the ‘out of touch’ rich boys playing with the poor man’s toy’s, the social housing home of all things.

I have said before how we as the people must stop and this is fundamentally important, comforting in the fact our leaders or mis-leaders, know what they are doing with regards to socio-economic management of our affairs. A realist view from grass root up shows how damaging the ‘Bedroom Tax’ is, but these corrupt cold hearted and no empathy Tory M.P’s cannot see it.  A realist view would demonstrate their evasion towards poverty at any level never mind going to the depths to discover the true cost of their policies towards it, is based on ludicrously ill thought out untrue data. Lord Freud is a classic Tory out of touch, far right M.P who has been in breach of trust since the moment he entered Westminster.heartsky1

Freud and his team of slaughter have evaded responsibility towards the ‘real’ issues of the ‘Bedroom Tax’ by not considering the people he is displacing and shunting from one property to another are human beings and not sheep. Home is a valuable asset and cannot be dismantled by a simple letter from the council without causing deep upset for many families and individuals.  It does cast serious questions to their authenticity and their legitimacy of being a member of parliament, based on what credentials and who elected them in?

The political consequences are off the scale at the moment with the death and suicide of a grand-mother who was an innocent woman living her life tormented under the Tory regime of move, pay or get debt. With this grotesque gutter politics that is raining in on all of us, you can see the deep rooted effect it is having with many people, who wish not to loose their home for what ever innocent reason, are justified to remain in their home, in my eyes.

This Tory marginalisation of the disabled as well is also off the scale, especially the long term sick or unemployed and even the low wagers are being attacked beyond what is a level of acceptability, by so called professional Tory M.P’s! It is a scandal most outrageous in the history of modern day politics in my opinion. Social democracy is minimally felt and is now a standardised generalisation that our social and liberal democracy is less but more for the far right political controlling elite namely the Tory M.P’s. They are busy savaging democracy with insatiable appetites to murder, kill and utterly destroy what little we have left in the UK. That’ s the poor people’s democracy by the way. The rich, the powerful, the corporate bosses, the M.P”s, the Lords and Ladies all have democracy in tact, let us be clear on this, it is the murder of the poor’s democracy.

These narrow circles of affluence dictate what is to be and we have no choice but to adhere too in our political spectrum. However, this is a myth by itself, for I do believe we are more, we are the many and we out number them. So why do we tolerate this crap from above?  It is clear that murder isn’t just our democracy but the out of touch psychopathic housing welfare policies are causing so much stress and tension that innocent peace loving people are being sent to their death to escape the persecution of the Tory’s ruthless rules, legislations and putrid politics.

Let us stand and be together with one mind and moan to our Crawley Council and say we don’t want house evictions of those who cannot afford this rotten ‘Bedroom Tax’ and how we don’t want deaths in Crawley either and I am sure they don’t want this to happen. We don’t want anyone to suffer and commit the awful but desperate act of suicide and deprive families of their loved ones all for this out of touch Tory agenda. We shout ‘NO MORE!’

Debbie Simmons, Council Tenant, CITA.

 

 

http://unheardholler.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/the-tory-nasty-party-are-back-lord.html

14 February 2013

The Tory Nasty Party are back: Lord Freud and the Bedroom Tax

I could not believe what I was hearing on the B.B.C.  Radio Five Live Victoria Derbyshire morning programme in a discussion with Lord Freud and Radio Five listeners about the imminent new Under Occupancy Act, otherwise infamously known as the Bedroom Tax. This tax comes into effect on Monday 1st April 2013.
The Bedroom Tax is where people who have a spare bedroom and are on a benefit will have their housing benefit cut. Lord Freud was asked specific questions by listeners regarding how the tax would affect them.
One had a son in the army and wanted to keep his bedroom for when the son was on leave so he felt he had a home to come back to. Another had separated from his wife and the 3 children stayed with him at the weekend, the school holidays and at other times.  Another had disabilities that affected his breathing and he had to use an oxygen tank and other apparatus to help him breathe. He had to sleep with his head raised on the bed so he slept in a separate room from his wife so they could both sleep without him disturbing her from the noise of the oxygen and his sleeping position in the bed. Another had a daughter going to university.
Lord Freud did not answer the specific questions asked by people on the phone but choose to give the bog standard Government answer such as “difficult times, times of austerity” we need to reform the system to stop the scroungers, [my words], living in luxury (?) with too many rooms that they don’t need.
Here is the solution that Lord Freud gave to the tenants:
untitledbkk
To the father who has his children stay at the weekends and various other nights Lord Freud said: “He should move to a one bedroom house then buy a sofa bed so the 3 children could sleep in the living room.”
To the parents of the student at university he said; “Why don’t you take in a lodger.” So what does the daughter do when she returns home for a weekend visit and during the holidays? Sleep with the lodger? Obviously he is not aware that as a student living in student accommodation it is classed as temporary accommodation. The man with breathing and other medical problems he ignored.
It beggars belief that this Lord of the realm, who is the Prime Minister David Cameron’s Under Secretary of State (Lords) for the Department of Work and Pensions, who between January 2008 and February 2009 acted as an advisor on welfare reform to the U.K. government, is ignorant of the tenancy law; that he does not know that under the tenancy agreement between a tenant and the local council or housing association it is illegal to sublet any part of the accommodation. Yet here he is happily telling people to break the conditions of their tenancy agreement.
Apart from Lord Freud’s lack of knowledge regarding tenancy agreements, I feel it shows the arrogance of members of the Tory party to tell people to say “It is alright, just take in a lodger”. Problem solved, easy peasy.
Say it did happen. First of all it would lead to complications on any welfare payment they receive whether they are working or not.  Probably any welfare benefit they get would be cut or stopped including their rent and council tax payments. Would the tax man have interest in this extra income?
What about insurance cover? Many insurance companies will not insure you or the house if you have a lodger, or the premium is very expensive. What happens when the offspring comes home from University and the Army? Do they sleep in the living room or the bathroom? Do you want a lodger in your house using all the facilities?
8544792459_3f63e5da8f_m

The ‘bedroom tax’ could light the touch paper of protest

A resistance movement is growing against the unfair ‘under-occupancy’ penalty. It may even become the poll tax of its day

Anger about the distressing impact of coalition austerity is gaining expression, focus and pace in the UK. There have been some marches, but NHS and welfare cuts were not met with mobs surrounding Downing Street brandishing pitchforks and flaming torches. I suspect the catalyst for mass protest might be the so-called “bedroom tax“.

http://www.24dash.com/news/central_government/2013-01-21-bedroom-tax-architect-freud-has-11-spare-bedrooms

‘Bedroom tax’ architect Freud has 11 spare bedrooms

One of the chief architects of the Government’s ‘bedroom tax’ has 11 spare bedrooms of his own, it has been revealed.Lord Freud

Welfare minister Lord Freud, whose under occupancy rules will soon see social tenants with spare bedrooms hit with benefit cuts, owns an eight-bedroom country house in Kent that he only stays in during the weekends and holidays.

On top of the eight bedrooms that sit empty for the majority of the year, the minister’s main four-bed home in London’s Highgate is occupied only by himself and his wife, leaving another three bedrooms vacant, the Sunday People reported.

The 62-year-old’s under-occupancy regulations will see around 660,000 social tenants face losing an average of £14 a week from April.

 

http://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/2013/01/21/loads-of-room-to-talk-bedroom-tax-tory-lord-freud-lives-in-eight-bedroom-country-mansion/peopleonlycopyrightunknownlordfreudskentmansion/

http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-opinion/6985-no-evictions-scrap-the-tory-bedroom-tax

http://darkernet.in/tories-sanctify-thatcher-whilst-pissing-on-the-poor-but/

Lord Freud eviction ghs

Around 400 people descended on millionaire Lord Freud’s eight-bedroom mansion on a private road in Kent and carried out a mock eviction (see photo above)  with the support of removal vans and dozens of cardboard boxes.

The bedroom tax threatens to force social housing tenants who have “spare” bedrooms out of their homes if they can’t afford a £14-a-week cut to their housing benefit. The group said two out of every three homes hit by the bedroom tax have disabled people living in them.

Speaking at the protest social worker Isabella Young said: “A room for foster children or teenagers or a disabled partner might be spare for people who live in mansions but not for anyone else.” She said the £14-a-week may seem like spare cash in the pockets of millionaires but it is the difference between adequately feeding a family and staying warm.

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/mansion-dwelling-tory-minister-tells-scottish-1555957

Mansion-dwelling Tory Minister tells Scottish dad that his three

 

kids should share a sofa bed    Lord Freud Reform Risk Private Landlords

    

A TORY Minister who lives between a mansion and a townhouse has come under criticism after telling a Scottish dad affected by the imminent bedroom tax that his three kids should share one pull-out bed.

A SCOTS dad last night condemned a millionaire Tory who said his three kids should share a sofa bed as an out-of-touch snob. Graeme Gair confronted mansion-dwelling Welfare Minister Lord Freud on a radio phone-in about the controversial new bedroom tax. The separated dad of three faces losing part of his benefits if he has more than one bedroom in his home – but needs extra space for when his children visit him.

And when he explained his plight to Freud – who shares a four-bedroom London townhouse and an eight-bedroom Kent mansion with his wife – the minister said all three of his kids could share one pull-out bed. Last night, speaking for the first time since the row on BBC 5 Live, Graeme, 42, from Inverness, said: “I can’t believe he had the cheek to tell me my kids should sleep on the sofa when he lives in a mansion which is half-empty. What a hypocrite.

“Would he expect his own kids to sleep on the sofa? Would he hell.”

http://keepourcouncilhomes.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/bedroom-tax-architect-freud-has-11-spare-bedrooms/

http://think-left.org/2013/01/27/the-bedroom-tax-the-unkindest-cut-of-all/

The Bedroom Tax: The Unkindest Cut of All?

by Jim Grundy

On 1st April 2013, a little under 1,000 Ashfield District Council tenancies will be subject to the new ‘Under-Occupancy Charge’, more commonly known as the ‘Bedroom Tax’. It is difficult to imagine a worse policy, even from a Government that appears short of everything except bad ideas.

http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/lord-freud-the-benefit-fraud/

Lord Freud – The Benefit Fraud

Lord Freud, the toff banker, will be defending the Government’s savage welfare reforms at a conference called by the National Housing federation on May 23rd.  Freud has been one of the chief architects of the vicious Welfare Reforms as both a Labour and then a Conservative Party member.

Freud was asked by Tony Blair to review the benefit system way back in 2006, despite Freud saying he knew nothing about it.  This didn’t stop him from leaping at the opportunity to claim that single parents should be sent to work, lay the foundations for the Atos shambles and encourage the use of fraudulent bastards like A4e to run huge chunks of the Welfare State.

http://welfarenewsservice.com/#&panel1-1

http://welfarenewsservice.com/bedroom-tax-architect-freud-has-11-spare-bedrooms-24dash/#.UY-nBKtwaP8

‘Bedroom Tax’ Architect Freud Has 11 Spare Bedrooms – 24Dash

One of the chief architects of the Government’s ‘bedroom tax’ has 11 spare bedrooms of his own, it has been revealed.

Welfare minister Lord Freud, whose under occupancy rules will soon see social tenants with spare bedrooms hit with benefit cuts, owns an eight-bedroom country house in Kent that he only stays in during the weekends and holidays.

On top of the eight bedrooms that sit empty for the majority of the year, the minister’s main four-bed home in London’s Highgate is occupied only by himself and his wife, leaving another three bedrooms vacant, the Sunday People reported.

http://anticapitalists.org/2013/02/13/bedroom-tax-housing-benefit-cut-increase-poverty/

 

Bedroom Tax: outrage over latest attack on the poor

Dan Edwards discusses the Government’s latest policy disaster.file000612565099

From next month the Tories will be deciding just how much space you really need in your house. New cuts to housing benefit will see people in social housing punished for having a bedroom which the government thinks is excessive. Never mind the fact that welfare minister Lord Freud lives in an eight-bedroom mansion, you’re the one being needlessly decadent here.

With one ‘extra’ bedroom, tenants will have 14% docked from the amount of rent used to calculate their housing benefit, and 25% for two (say your rent was £60 per week, you’d now receive as much benefits as if you were paying £50). On average those affected will lose £14 per week; some 95,000 people could be plunged into poverty.

A room can be classed as ‘extra’ even if one is recently bereaved, in need of space for equipment to help cope with a disability, or has shared custody of children.  Children under 10 will be made to share rooms, as will 10-16 year olds of the same gender. Couples who don’t share the same bedroom (often due to a disability) will also see their benefit reduced.

http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/tenancies/freud-bedroom-tax-will-ease-overcrowding/6522879.article?PageNo=1&SortOrder=dateadded&PageSize=50

Freud: Bedroom tax will ease overcrowding

The coalition government’s bedroom tax will ease overcrowding and help tackle the shortage of social housing, Lord David Freud has said.

Speaking at a Local Government Association conference this morning, the welfare reform minister defended the controversial policy, which will see social housing tenants of working age docked benefit for having a spare room. The policy is estimated to affect 660,000 households, who will lose £14 a week on average.

http://www.24housing.co.uk/feature/freud-couch

24housing Editor Jon Land meets Welfare Reform Minister Lord David Freud to talk about Universal Credit demonstration projects, under-occupation rules, swimming in ponds and murdered princes.Editor Jon Land and Lord Freud at Caxton House

At the age of 61, Lord Freud has never worked harder in his life.

The former City banker and journalist is on a five-year mission to deliver his vision for a radical welfare and benefits system “that puts work at the centre”.

And that means long days divided between back-to-back meetings at Caxton House, the home of the Department for Work and Pensions, and the House of Lords where he has spent hours debating his controversial reforms with some “really smart” peers. As the chief architect of the new Universal Credit – and someone who was given a life peerage by David Cameron specifically to deliver it – there is an unwavering conviction that what he is doing is right and he is taking a hands-on approach to making sure every minute detail of the policy is reviewed before it is launched on a, largely, unsuspecting public in October 2013.

Given the intellectual rigours of his role, it must come as some light relief when I stroll into his office at 6pm on a Wednesday evening. You see, while his day job is hugely important to millions of people, I have found out all sorts of things about Lord Freud’s personal life that I want to check out. Like swimming in ponds, for instance…

JL: Can you take me through your ambitions regarding the demonstration projects?

LF: The issue the industry is worrying about is that their cash flow, and therefore their financial viability, is undermined. I have told them – and I’ve gone on record – that I am determined to make sure that is not what happens. That, actually, we do not undermine the social landlord sector but we do free people to run their independent lives and are able to take work without any barriers. The demonstration projects are designed to do quite a lot of things but two things absolutely centrally. The first is to make sure that the people who are really vulnerable don’t go on to the system – we keep them off it.

The second big piece of learning is what is the right remediation process when someone does go into arrears – when do we move in, how do we move in, what’s the balance of incentives?

The third thing is, actually, how do these social landlords help their tenants manage money and the budgeting and banking process. We’re looking at joining up with credit unions in some cases and other financial institutions. I hope at the end of that, the industry will be comfortable that, while I’m asking them to do some work, I’m not asking them to take on substantial extra financial risk.

So there is no way you’re going to say ‘this isn’t going to work, we’re going to have to rethink’?SONY DSC

The issue is this. If we go to Universal Credit, which is about people managing their own lives and moving easily into and out of work, we have to have people on a system they would be on if they were in work. Now we are not naive that on one day everyone in the country will be able to leap into a new system, we’re going to put a lot of support in to educating people, to helping people – and if you look at the groups that are vulnerable, we may decide that we don’t have to push them all instantly. My ambition would be – even with the vulnerable groups – to move them in, but over time.

Are you still on track for an October 2013 start date?

We’re looking to announce a pathfinder, we’ve already talked in the public domain that we’re looking to start it in April. The importance of the pathfinder is that it gives us a six-month run in to really understand how Universal Credit works, all the linkages, how we organise support, the whole system. It’s a big test of the system, end to end.

Will you succeed in encouraging people back into work and reducing the benefits bill?

 Clearly at the moment we have a benefit system that is completely inchoate. It’s difficult enough for us as operators to run it; what is really tough is for the people who are on it who, if they change what they do, don’t know what the outcomes will be. They don’t know what will happen if they take a job – it makes people very risk averse.392634_513889942004544_958958261_n

When you are one of the poorest people in society, you should be one of those prepared to take the greatest risks but we’ve created a situation whre it’s very difficult for them to take those risks.

Is it fair to say that the whole Universal Credit programme is your idea? Where does the passion for this come from?

 My first interest came when I studied it (the benefits system) as a journalist for the Financial Times. I think I did some articles in this area in 1979. I was very interested in it at that stage and then I had a career in the City. I worked in 19 different countries and raised $100 billion in equity so I was one of the good City guys. I didn’t get everything in to debt, I actually made some real money.

When I stopped when I was 53 I said I will do things to change the world and the first thing I did was run the Portland Trust, which was this foundation trying to help the peace process in the Middle East through economic development. I spent three very interesting years there and my biggest project was trying to get a housing boom started in the West Bank and I’m delighted to say that the first new town in 3,000 years – I’m not sure that’s exactly right – is now going up. I’m trying to visit it later this year.

And then I got asked, slightly out of the blue, would I have a look at the benefits system.553355_603048523057702_1735520705_n

I think we will transform the risk appetite of people which is completely separate from the financial advantages. The real impact is getting a system that people really understand; one of the things we know is that when you are in control, your health improves. Having a clear benefits system really has remarkable impacts on the social life and health of the country.

So who actually asked you?

It was John Hutton who was under instruction from Blair. I didn’t think about it in any political context whatsoever and I thought ‘I would like to look at the benefits system’. It seemed no-one was interested in it, it was a dead topic. It didn’t seem to have moved since ’79. Because I came in from the outside I read everything flat. I had a crate full of stuff I had to absorb in a matter of weeks.

I think the biggest break I got was that Waddell and Burton had put out a document three months earlier that said that work is good for you. There I was looking at a system built up over a number of years that effectively protected people from work if they’d got a problem – single mothers, disabled people – and I thought to myself, this is bizarre. Here we have developed a system on entirely the wrong premise which basically makes people ill.

You reported to the Labour government of the time but when Blair was replaced by Gordon Brown it was pretty much shelved. Why would that be?

I don’t know. There was quite a public row – or a row that has since become public – around my report between me and Brown. He basically wanted me to change it and I basically didn’t want to!

But it was Labour that made you a life peer?

No, no, it was the Conservatives.

So was that more recently?

As a banker I was always keen to keep my political affiliations – which happened to be Tory – to myself. No-one ever asked me who I voted for, I never told anyone, so I wasn’t politically turned on. But then George and David said we want you to actually get this stuff in so I said yes. The only way for me to do it, other than becoming an MP, was through the Lords.

So the peerage is directly linked to your current position?124

Yes. The whole thing was they wanted me on the front bench as welfare reform shadow. They didn’t want me for my political cuteness, it was for the expertise. I’ve never been a political player.

Can you describe your typical working day?

So I get up at 6.30 in the morning, have a swim, have breakfast get on my bicycle, leave home at quarter to eight and get here for 8.30.

Do you swim in an orthodox swimming pool?

No, no. It’s the pond.

A pond?

Yes, the Highgate Pool.

Do you join others?

There are more people in the summer than in the winter.

Is it not freezing cold?

Yes in the winter it’s freezing.

And you do this on most days of the year?

When I’m in London and when I don’t have to travel. So yes, I do it on average three days a week or something.

And then you cycle to work?

Yes, I cycle in which I still manage to do.

Can I ask how old you are?

Sixty-one.

So you’re doing quite well really.

I’m holding on.

Do the exchanges in the House of Lords feed into your thinking? Do you take on board the concerns and go back and think ‘actually, we should do something about this’?

Debating in the Lords is incredibly valuable and there are some things. A small example on the benefit cap: Lady Donaghy, I think it was, raised the issue of industrial injuries disablement benefit. She wanted it included in the exclusions, like some of the other disability benefits. We didn’t accept it at the time but quietly went back, worked on it and – because the argument was good – accepted it. That happens quite a bit, especially as we do the regulations.

Did you enjoy debating with Lord Best?310360_437343559650722_315499197_n

I like Richard, I get on with Richard. These Lords are really smart and the ones that debated with me – it was an incredibly high quality debate. You cannot imagine a better process. I certainly learned a lot.

On the under-occupation rules, how easy is it to define a spare bedroom and who ultimately will be responsible for deciding what is a spare bedroom?

We’re going to leave that to the industry (the housing sector) to work out.

So is there a little bit of leeway?

People can take a view. Funnily enough in the Lords we had a little bit of fun with the window tax. We’re not going to get into that position. If someone wants to rent something out as a three-bedroom and when they look at it closely one of them’s a box room, well they’d better look at doing it as a two-bedroom.

So you will take housing associations at their word even if they are trying to do their tenants a favour by saying ‘okay we’ll call that a study’?

Yes. In terms of social housing they’ll have to reduce their rents for it so it then becomes a question of who pays. They must take a rational decision on it. I’m not expecting a wholesale effect but I think there will be some moves like that.

Am I allowed to ask about your family?

I am the great grandson of Sigmund Freud and my grandfather and father escaped with him (from Austria) in 1938.

Are you close to any of the other Freuds?

Funnily enough, I’m very chummy now with Jane McAdam Freud, who is one of Lucian’s. She’s a sculptress. In fact she’s doing a fantastic sculpture for me at the moment.

Of yourself?

Oh gosh, no. She’s doing it of the two murdered princes.bth_untitled

From the Tower?

No, the ones who were murdered in my house in Kent.

Really?

A very long time ago. They were the Kentish princes. It was meant to be around 665.

Do you enjoy the life?

Enjoyment is probably the wrong word. It’s very exhilarating to have that level of intellectual effort every hour of every day. I’m amazed to admit it but I’m working much, much harder now than I was as a banker. One of the reasons is that you’re in here doing 16 meetings a day and it’s all – bang, bang, bang. No time for lunch.

http://www.netmums.com/coffeehouse/general-coffeehouse-chat-514/news-current-affairs-topical-discussion-12/877671-bedroom-tax-tory-lives-8-bed-country-mansion.html

Bedroom tax Tory lives in 8 bed country mansion

The Tory lord plunging 95,000 into poverty with his “bedroom tax” stays in an eight-bedroom country mansion … when he’s not living in his £1.9million London home, the Sunday People has revealed.

Lord Freud was accused of being an out of touch hypocrite last night after provoking a storm of criticism this week defending the tax which will see some of Britain’s poorest families charged for spare bedrooms. And thousands face being turfed out on the streets if they cannot afford it.
Lord Freud owns a huge, historic country pile in Kent, which he uses for weekends and holidays.

During the week, the father of three, 62, whose children have grown up and moved out, lives with his wife Priscilla in a four-bedroom townhouse in Highgate while working as David Cameron’s Welfare Minister on the front benches of the Tory party.

Labour MP Jon Cruddas said: “The bedroom tax is one of the most abhorrent attacks yet by this Government on some of the poorest people in Britain. Now we learn one of its architects has ten spare rooms himself.“This is rank hypocrisy and more evidence of how out of touch this Government is with normal people. How would Lord Freud feel if he was told to downsize his properties?”

The tax – officially called “under occupancy tax” – means people in social housing who have a spare bedroom will find housing benefit claims reduced by £40 to £80 a month. Anyone in housing association homes or council housing with a spare bedroom will lose 14 per cent of housing benefit, or 25 per cent if they have two spare rooms – despite the lack of one bedroom council homes. The bedroom tax will see 666,000 working-age social tenants losing an average £14 a week. Housing association tenants face losing £16 a week. It is estimated 95,000 people will not be able to afford the changes.

All claimants with at least one spare bedroom will be affected, including separated parents who share child care and may have been allocated an extra bedroom, foster families and those with disabled children.

Bedroom tax Tory Lord Freud lives in eight-bedroom country mansion

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