Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

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Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

Lorraine Moss
I spoke to a resident today who advised me that on page 29 of Havering Council's "At The Heart" magazine which is sent to all Havering's Council tenants that from April 2018, pensioners will be liable to pay bedroom tax.  I am sure that this announcement must be very worrying to some pensioners in our borough who are in receipt of housing benefit.  Many of them would have to move if they could not afford the shortfall in their rent.  You can read the article here (page 29 at the bottom)https://issuu.com/haveringcouncil/docs/attheheartspring2017,

I decided to check on the internet to find out more details about these changes.  I came across the following article in the Independant

Government backtracks on a new 'bedroom tax' set to hit thousands of poorer pensioners
The proposal to penalise older people in social housing who 'underoccupy' their homes - revealed by The Independent – will be delayed by one year
 
 
Rob Merrick Deputy Political Editor @Rob_Merrick Monday 21 November 2016 20:56 GMT51 comments

Labour MP Frank Field called on the government to 'ditch the proposal altogether' PA
Anger over a new “bedroom tax” to hit thousands of poorer pensioners – revealed by The Independent – has forced a partial government climbdown.

Ministers have backtracked on a controversial plan to swipe at least £300 a year from older people because their homes will be deemed to be “underoccupied”.

The proposal sparked a furore because the Government had promised to protect the elderly from the bedroom tax, which has slashed housing benefit for social housing tenants with spare rooms.

inRead invented by Teads
Pensioners were faced with being forcing them to move away from family and friends, or to flats that are unsuitable for older people, the charity Age UK and other critics said.


READ MORE
Pensioners to lose hundreds of pounds a year in ‘new bedroom tax'
In some cases, the financial pain would be far greater – one housing association identified pensioners in part of the North who are set to lose a staggering £1,700 a year.

Now the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced that the measure will be shelved for one year and only introduced in April 2019.

Frank Field, the senior Labour MP who chairs the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee, said: “Although pensioners cannot yet breathe a sigh of relief, today’s move does at least create some breathing space.

“The government’s next move should involve thinking through how many vulnerable pensioners will be worse off, and by how much, if it does proceed with this proposed cut.”

Mr Field added: “I very much hope that the government will realise that, if it is to meet Theresa May’s pledge of protecting people at the bottom of the pile, it should ditch the proposal altogether.”

The original bedroom tax saw hundreds of thousands of poorer people lose huge sums because they had no smaller homes to move to and, therefore, suffered steep benefit cuts.

The same harsh impact is feared from the new measure, which will cap housing benefit in social housing at the level of the Local Housing Allowance (LHA), used in the private rented sector.

Crucially, the LHA is calculated – like the removal of the so-called “spare-room subsidy” – on the basis of household size, rather than the size of the property.

That means a single pensioner, or a couple, living in a two-bedroom home will have their housing benefit capped at the one-bedroom LHA rate.

Housing associations say that, in London and the South-East, the impact may not be severe, because the one-bedroom LHA rate is likely to be higher than the existing social housing rent charge.

But across the rest of the country – where private rents are cheaper – the LHA cap is set much lower, in line with private rents, threatening tenants with big benefit cuts.

In a statement, the DWP described the rethink as “a simplification and alignment of the application of the Local Housing Allowance policy for general needs accommodation”.

But the National Housing Federation (NHF) said it feared the policy could end up being more draconian, because it would now affect the existing tenancies of people receiving Universal Credit.



Gill Payne, the NHF’s director of policy and external affairs, said:  “Today’s changes will impact more people than announced previously, although it will start one year later in 2019.”

More about: bedroom taxhousing benefitFrank Field

source http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/government-backtracks-on-a-new-bedroom-tax-which-is-set-to-hit-thousands-of-poorer-pensioners-a7430586.html



I am rather confused, either the article from the Independent is incorrect or the thousands of editions of Havering's "At The Heart" magazine is.  ??
       
       
       
       

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

dalek1
Well if was a betting man I would have to say At The Heart got it wrong.
As someone who worked at the Independent for several years and still has a strong affinity with the paper they were usually correct and as the other rag is published our wonderful administration who seem to manufacture disinformation on an industrial scale (witness Dagnam park). I cant actually give them the benefit of the doubt due to the timescale of the Independent piece and the publication month of the Heart mag.
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

Percy
It says to put it back for one year and it was due to start in November 2016 but the budget was in March so one year from the March deadline has passed or you might argue it would be one year from November 2016 so November 2017.I know one pensioner on her own with four bedrooms its a waste for her and families in need.
Revolutions are always verbose.
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

Lorraine Moss
Hi Percy the article states 2019.  This needs to be clarified because it is going to cause a great deal of stress to the people that it will affect.
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

Percy
It might hurry councils into providing more small homes for elderly so they can downsize.
Revolutions are always verbose.
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

confused of hornchurch

I don't think councils are in a hurry to provide anything for anyone these days. They're only interested in taking money, not spending it.
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

Planning of havering
In reply to this post by Lorraine Moss
The problem with this whole idea is that in order to get people to move to a smaller property they have to be available and suitable i.e. Possibly a ground floor flat or bungalow not many people I know want to uproot to a new part of the brough just to avoid paying a bedroom tax. Secondly there are not enough smaller properties anyway no one in their right mind would give up a safe long term tenancy you can be almost certain that when moving it will involve  a new agreement that might be a short term one. The housing shortage is well known and impart due to rising population eu migration and lack of building affordable housing to many developments are put on the market only to be brought by landlords for the to let market. The land that has been sold by the council to housing associations should have involved permanent nomination rights to the council involved as has been said many times Havering homes for Having people in between now and the possible start when and if it happens forums like this should keep up the flow of information because not everyone is aware of this issue    
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

dalek1
Is anyone aware if the bedroom tax is payable to the local authority or central government.
Either way its another example of the Tories targeting the most vulnerable or those who can least afford it on the lines of the fines issued for taking kids in holiday during term time regardless of the parents circumstances.
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

Lorraine Moss
In reply to this post by Lorraine Moss
The Recorder has now set the record straight, it would appear that Havering Council did in fact make an error in their magazine;

From The Recorder

Council apologises to Havering pensioners for bedroom tax error

PUBLISHED: 11:22 21 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:22 21 March 2017 Ann-Marie Abbasah
An elderly woman counting loose change. Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire/PA Images.
An elderly woman counting loose change. Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire/PA Images.
An apology has been made by Havering Council after it incorrectly said the controversial “bedroom tax” would be extended to pensioners next year.

Share article from Romford Recorder on facebook Tweet article from Romford Recorder Share article from Romford Recorder on Google Pluspost article from Romford Recorder on reddit email article from Romford Recorder
The cover of Havering Council's At The Heart magazine. Picture: Ann-Marie AbbasahThe cover of Havering Council's At The Heart magazine. Picture: Ann-Marie Abbasah
The error was made in At the Heart magazine’s spring issue, a publication for all the council’s tenants and leaseholders.

But the council was quick to put a statement on its website last week, apologising for the error.

It said: “On page 29 of the spring 2017 edition of At The Heart magazine we incorrectly state that the so-called bedroom tax will be extended to pensioners from April 2018.

“This is incorrect. If there are any changes to the under-occupation charge, the bedroom tax, we will keep you fully informed.

“We apologise for this error.”

A Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) spokeswoman said: “There is no plan to change the spare room subsidy.

“Pensioners are not going to become subject to that at any
point.”
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

Percy
Do those who become pensioners get the extra remmitted if they had been paying it before? If so do they know ?
Revolutions are always verbose.
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

Lorraine Moss
Hi Percy, at the moment it applies to all working age people.  They are exempt once they reach Pension Credit age.  Please see https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/bedroom-tax.  
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

Phil Wailing
What I find utterly horrifying Lorraine is I knew that, you knew that and Havering council didn't.
We haven't inherited the earth from our parents, we have borrowed it from our children.
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

Percy
In reply to this post by Lorraine Moss
Thanks.
Revolutions are always verbose.
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

Lorraine Moss
In reply to this post by Phil Wailing
Hi Phil, the article states that they issued a statement on their website.  I can't seem to find it on their latest news section.  I will keep looking as it must be there somewhere.
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

Lorraine Moss
Hi Phil, when you get a minute can you have a look and see if you can see the statement anywhere on Havering Council's website please?
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

Lorraine Moss
I kept looking and eventually found it.  It is not on the main page as a news item.   You have to go into the link of the online version and the statment is printed at the top of the page.  Very easy for Havering pensioners to find !!!! https://www.havering.gov.uk/info/20050/council_publications/154/at_the_heart_magazine
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

Phil Wailing

How do you get something so wrong ?


We haven't inherited the earth from our parents, we have borrowed it from our children.
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

Lorraine Moss
They should have issued a press release.  Even with this article in the Recorder, there are still going to be many people that will not know this is an error and will be really worried.  They should make a point of writing to all pensioners in the Borough who are in receipt of Housing Benefit and advise them that they will not be affected by bedroom tax.  Some people will be so worried.
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

Phil Wailing

Lorraine, that is not an error, it is complete and utter incompetence!!


We haven't inherited the earth from our parents, we have borrowed it from our children.
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Re: Confusion Over Changes To Bedroom Tax For Pensioners

Lorraine Moss
In reply to this post by Lorraine Moss
I emailed Cllr Damian White last night and received the following response at just after 2am this morning.  I am pleased to say that it would appear that Havering Council are writing to all affected residents and reassuring them that this article was incorrect.  I am very pleased with the action that is being taken.  However, I am totally baffled how such a serious error could have ever been made.  I have responded to Cllr White and asked him what steps will be taken to ensure that similar errors are not made in any future Havering Council publications.

From: CouncillorDamian White
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 2:09 AM
To: lorraine.moss2@ntlworld.com
Cc: Neil Stubbings
Subject: Re: Error In The Latest Edition Of The "At The Heart Magazine"

Dear Lorraine

Thank you for your email.

Once this matter was brought to my attention, I met with the Chief Executive to establish the facts. Once it became clear that the article was factually incorrect, I requested that all pensioners that would be impacted by any changes to the spare room subsidy, be contacted.

A press statement has already been made and a database of these tenants has been created. I approved the wording of the letter last week and I believe that it has now been sent out or is in the process of being sent out this week.

If any tenants wish to speak with me, my contact details are printed in At the heart, which is available to all tenants. I am holding an all day housing surgery - part of a series, and hopefully, I will be in a position to clarify to all that attend.

I also have requested that a list of older tenants that are not in sheltered housing be created with a more specialist communication being sent to them.

I hope that gives you some reassurance that Havering Housing Service has taken this matter with the utmost seriousness, and has been as open and honest about it.

I offer my sincerest apologises for the mistake and will work to ensure that it is not repeated.

Kindest regards

Damian


“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--
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