The Bedroom Tax Shames Britain

From The Mirror

Julia Jones, who will have to live on just £53 a week, faces losing the home and garden where she scattered her husband’s ashes

Dear Mr Cameron

Julia+Jones++Writes+to+Mr+Cameron+about+room+tax++at+her+home++in+Newbury+BerksI heard you in Prime Minister’s Questions say you would look at individual cases on the bedroom tax. I am 59 years old, David (my husband) and I have both worked since we were 15, paid taxes, did our bit. We have never been well off but we both did worthwhile jobs.

Five years ago David got melanoma. He had excruciating treatment and, although still not well, returned to work as he thought it was his duty. Four years ago he got bowel cancer; he had an irreversible colostomy. Six months later he returned to work. Two years ago he got brain cancer. Seven weeks later he died.

Throughout all this I was advised I could get care allowance, but I rejected this: he was my husband, it was my duty to care for him. We lived off the little savings we had until we could return to work. When he had the colostomy we were allocated this home as David could not climb stairs any more and I struggled. His ashes are buried in the garden under the rose bushes that friends gave me instead of wreaths.

Mr Cameron, my husband and I were the hard workers you claim to support, we never asked for anything.

I would give everything if this had not happened to us. Because we were on benefit and sick, you and your government said hateful words against us. Words that made acquaintances look at us with contempt.

The most powerful men in the country imply we are scum so we must be scum. You and your government call us scroungers, next door go to work while our bedroom curtains are still drawn.

My curtains were still drawn at 11am as the light made David scream with pain.

Do you not consider that I would give everything for my husband to be alive, me to not have incapacitating pain and we could both be the hard workers we once were? I live in small 1 1/2 bed bungalow that was built for older people. It is supported elderly living so I feel safe. It could not house a family as under 55s are not allowed.

You now want to take my home from me. The home that literally made my fingers bleed cleaning as it had been neglected for 20 years when we moved here. You want me to leave my husband’s ashes, my neighbours who take me shopping and give me some form of social life? I have no family, we could not have children.

I am living without heating at present so how can I pay what I do not have to stay in my home? Have you any idea how that affects my fibromyalgia?

I eat one meal a day and am in constant pain which is exacerbated by the cold. I may get Discretionary Housing Benefit. But we both know that is only for 13 weeks at a time and when the pot is empty, it is empty. I have considered moving but the only property available is far from shops and bus stops and costs £98 per month more than where I am at present. I would be living in isolation.

You say you are building more social housing, but it is too little too late for many of us. You may blame the Labour policies, but it was your government who introduced this law so I have to hold you responsible.

Mr Cameron, I do not believe you or your MPs are evil men at heart, I believe this is an ill-thought-out plan and you did not understand the consequence of your action.

I ask you to take a step back and look at this again.


Yours, Julia Jones

20 comments on “The Bedroom Tax Shames Britain

  1. It is beyond contempt what the ConDems are doing. Also, it is nothing more than an ideological attack on working class people and class war orchestrated by the Bullingdon Boys club. Where are people meant to live? This is social cleansing, pushing people out, becoming homeless, ending up in arrears and so on. This is the new Poll Tax. People should not be penalised and punished due to having one too many bloody rooms. There have been anti-bedroom tax campaigns springing up around the country. Lord Fraud said the problem with social housing was “under occupancy” … No… the real problem with social housing is that there’s no enough!!!!!

  2. David Hillman on said:

    Christ this made me cry. I think most of us know stories like this. I actually hate the millioners in this cabinet who are giving away all our wealth to their mates, through tax breaks and corrupt privatised dodgy dealing.

  3. This has to be the saddest moments of this poor ladies life,having to leave the home she shared with her beloved husband.
    I hope the likes of Cameron + Clegg and their parties feel absolutely ashamed of themselves and their policies,especially this disgusting Bedroom Tax.
    I bet their wives never have to worry about putting the heating on or worry about being thrown out of their homes( all four of them).
    This is a blatent attack on the poor of this country, alienate the people on Housing Benefit and make the rest of the country despise them.
    Cameron you are nothing more than a modern day Sheriff of Nottingham, steal from the poor, reward the rich. Listen to the people of this Country not the rich Elite.

  4. I’ve signed the SP petition. But even if this came to pass the necessary hurdles and become law in Scotland it does not resolve the issue. ie the debt builds up and must be met one way or another most likely by increased rents across the board.

    This is indeed another poll tax however tenants have become marginalised due to council house sales & privatisations. There needs to be a re-establishment of publically owned housing as a central core of our society, for the idea that public housing is a welfare benefit for “the poor” to be challenged and that “getting on” requires that you become a mortgage payer.

    Today more than ever we need a massive building programme of public housing to house those in need and to re-invigorate the construction industry.

    This tawdry Tory/Lib Dem government are a disgrace but unfortunately I don’t see much difference or hope in Labour. Are they committed to reversing this policy or are they still transfixed by blinkered, self-interested “middle England”?

  5. Geoff Collier on said:

    Are people generally aware that this was an idea that came from the Labour government in 2008? Admittedly, this was just in the privately-rented sector. Just curious

  6. Geoff Collier,

    It was called local housing allowance limit, wasn’t it? I remember receiving guff about it when I had to claim HB a couple years ago. Which, if I recall, Labour justified on the basis there are no controls on private sector rents. (Er, I can think of a better way to remedy that little problem.)*

    *Barring that, I propose the immediate arming of private tenants. I mean, I’d be more of a danger to myself than my landlord – I once cut myself with a plastic knife – but it’d be a laugh.

  7. Mel Kerr on said:

    Why are we not taking to the streets regarding this issue, if we had enough housing in this country so that people could downsize into a decent smaller place in an area where they wanted to live it would maybe be a different story, but as it is it is only a tax on ordinary working people.

  8. Graham Day on said:

    Jim, I think this is a first step… if people aren’t at risk of losing their homes, then we’re better placed for the next fight…

  9. uncle albert on said:

    Mel Kerr,

    My mate (who is a carer who looks after his disabled pensioner mum in the house he was brought up in, which his dad helped build as a labourer) would happily move to a smaller place but there’s nowhere available. Plus, one of the first austerity measures implemented by the council was the withdrawal of removal payments intended to assist those who wanted to downsize. So, even if there was somewhere to go they couldn’t now afford to go.

  10. The actions of this rotten government is more in line with a smash and grab, robbing as much out of the working class and the poor as they can before they get told where to go… shameful

  11. Geoff Collier on said:

    Why do I need to be making a point? It was a question. If I were making a point it would be that I’ve been suffering from the cuts in housing benefit for some time now and I wondered if concern for us was a part of the justifiable indignation about the public sector. It’s so hard to tell where people stand on this. I suspect that’s because the likes of Owen Jones are using the issue to promote the Labour Party, but how can I tell?

    Graham Day:
    Geoff Collier, what’s your point?

  12. BombasticSpastic on said:

    While people’s lives are being smashed to bits by this government’s relentless destruction of our welfare state; while millions of people in the UK will soon find themselves struggling to access benefit, money needed to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. While all this is happening the readers of Socialist Unity devote their time to debating on countless threads the plight of a moribund political organisation, a party that has run out of both time relevance – the SWP.

    Just look at the excessive introspection of the SWP occurring on SU over the past month. In that time around 20 separate threads have opened discussing the former glories and current goings-on in this small, and in my view now fairly insignificant, group; and has excited over 3,000 postings.

    Of course the Left should discuss what interests it; that which stimulates debate and furthers our political aims, objectives and class struggle. However, I don’t currently see this being achieved when nearly all other issues are ignored to allow this excessive pandering to a bunch of yesterday’s revolutionaries – and pretty poor ones at that.

    The bedroom tax, along with the wider range of benefits’ cuts and caps, is a burning issue for us on the Left. Universal credit along with measures such as scrapping Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in favour of a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) are about to visit misery and poverty upon working, disabled and unemployed people alike; yet, Socialists and Lefties on this site largely ignore these topics when they present themselves – this thread alone has been live for a day and only attracted 13 responses.

    Julia Jones’ story, horrific as it is, will be repeated a thousand fold across the country in the coming months. Even after all she has undergone, Julia is willing to give these politicians the benefit of the doubt in that she doesn’t believe Cameron to be evil, but rather he misunderstands the consequences of his policies. For my part, he understands exactly what he is doing and the consequences; but is indifferent.

    Comrades, we need more Julia’s to come on Socialist Unity; and, we must engage in serious debate around these issues. This government and its plans to destroy all that we hold dear in our welfare state and NHS is what where must concentrate our energies. The SWP should be part of that struggle, not the main feature, a distraction.

  13. Well said Bombastic.

    I don’t think people who comment on Socialist Unity don’t care about the Julias. It’s just that the attacks on welfare and especially disability rights are, to put it honestly, so bloody depressing. I remember my own experience of being dragged in for an ATOS work capability assessment, and it was stressful enough then, let alone reading other people’s experiences – especially in such serious cases as the above.

    There should be more focus from the left. But preferably, focus on what to do about it: if there’s one section of the population who should already know what these heartbreaking, banally-evil attacks are about, or at the very least instinctively oppose them, it’s us.

  14. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Well this is what the Socialist Party Scotland are doing about the bedroom tax.

    The Socialist Party Scotland is doing stalls and other public activity to attempt to organise a mass campaign uniting the working class communities and trade unions across Scotland. We are saying that the trade unions should organise to call a24 hour general strike against the austerity programme. The SPS are also calling for a reversal of all benefit cuts and attacks on claimants as well as raise the level of benefits to meet the cost of living. That the Scottish Government develops a plan for large scale public investment into a programme of house building and renovation that meets the needs of society by creating home and jobs. That Scottish councils should take over abandoned and derelict properties from private landlords and cap rent. The Scottish Government and Local Councils should also defy the cuts and set needs budgets

  15. I agree with the comments made above, in particular with the view that this government and the men that run it are behaving like the Normans of olden times robbing the poor to keep the wealthy in power. In fact that is the real problem with this country – Plain Greed. Greed is rife in all business practices, that lead to social and political corruption, with corrupt legal practices and use of common law , being served against the weak, the poor and the downtrodden of this country. It is obvious where Cameron is leading us all – a return to the workhouses where, the disabled, and downtrodden, and those who are evicted from their homes, because they can no longer afford to pay the extortionate fees hiked up against them, will ultimately end up. The workhouse will never be the treatment of the rich. What do they know of real life… Of suffering, they are the blind leading the blind, the modern Pharisee, the keepers of the temple coffers whose only true interests are to amass even more wealth whilst crucifying the rest of us in the process. Remember this Mr Cameron and co all liars will end up in hell, eventually, as greed has the power not just to enslave your own people in pursuit of corrupt principals, but also to bring a nation to its knees.

    Written by a like-minded sufferer of modern British political and financial injustice.

  16. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Can I ask why you have not posted my contribution on the bedroom tax, post 16 at 10:15 on 11 February?

  17. P Bailey on said:

    This bedroom tax is a disgrace and doesn’t even affect me. I would be devasted if i had to leave my council house. Over 30 years in my house, i have spent a lot of money doing it up. I live in a lovely area with lovely neighbours. Apart from the cost of this tax if you remain ,doesn’t Cameron realise that council estates are usually bad anyway, so to be lucky to live in a nice street is truly wonderful. What if they put people in a really bad area, their lives would be hell. People must do more and do protests as we did with the Poll Tax. If everyone refused to pay the extra bedroom tax, what could they do?

  18. doesn’t Cameron realise that council estates are usually bad anyway,

    Are they that’s saying a lot, council estate may have a small area where they dump the problems but over the years councils have been getting rid of people. My council estate has won the best kept gardens twice, once one person put in for it we all said hold on he won it why not us, the whole estate is now regarded as a place to get a home.

    The fact is your doing what labour did with Miliband and his ilk, state that Labour will not build anymore sink hole estates, sink hole estate are like this because councils will not do anything about it. in my area the council did.