The bedroom tax: a huge mistake – or short-term pragmatism?

demo in victoria square

At a time when, as an acute observer writes, corporate executives and the gateholders of the debt economy prosper, provision for those at the bottom end of the income scale is being chipped away.

From April 1st (yes, really) we read that tenants of working age in council or social housing who have a spare bedroom will find housing benefit reduced by £10 to £20 a week.

That is a sum which even people on average income or above would miss –  and to people on ‘benefits’ it is a very serious loss, which will impede their ability to heat their homes or buy food.

Arguing against it I found my daughter disagreeing: she said that ‘ideally’ this should not happen but that there was no alternative, referring to the needs of homeless families.

The easy answer I gave ‘off the cuff’, and one which should be implemented, is to increase revenue by ensuring that all people and companies pay tax in proportion to their incomes

But long-term thinking is needed

This is a housing issue which cannot be resolved without an accurate survey of population and the land needed to house AND feed them – now and in the future.

It is also an employment issue – people are powerless when they are dependent on government income. So many are now unemployed because Britain’s mainstream was brainwashed by its special friend into allowing capital to flow out of the country with “a wide-eyed belief that ‘globalisation’ would make everyone richer, when the reality was that the out-sourcing of production to emerging economies was a self-inflicted disaster with few parallels in economic history” (Morgan).

Successive British governments have appeared to watch helplessly as unemployment grew and the gap between rich and poor widened. As this recent report continues (p10):

hopkins 1

But were British governments clueless and helpless – or have they long been in the grip of those corporates who gave them directorships and employed their wives and children?

Professor Morgan’s conclusion: “(B)laming any of the (bankers and politicians) really means blaming ourselves – for falling for the consumerist message of instant gratification, for buying imported goods, for borrowing far more than was healthy, and for electing glib and vacuous political leaders”.

So do we care enough to find and support representatives who will build a society in which people, regardless of education, ability or income, can live happily productive lives?