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Monday, 13 May 2013

Bedroom tax tragedy

"Bedroom Tax victim commits suicide: Grandmother Stephanie Bottrill blames government in tragic note."  This is one of the saddest stories I have read lately. The Samaritans, quoted here, said: "Although a catalyst may appear to be obvious, suicide is never the result of a single factor or event and is likely to have several inter-related causes." Nevertheless this case highlights the difficulties experienced by vulnerable people in implementing what others regard as fair policies.

From Window Tax to Bedroom Tax, what might appear to be a bright idea to one is another's nightmare. The wealthy simply paid someone to brick up windows to avoid paying window tax but where do the poor get the money to knock down walls to make two bedrooms into one, even if they were allowed to? There is a real injustice here. 

What is so unreasonable about having a spare bedroom or two after your children have moved out? Do they not need somewhere to stay when they and their children visit, or is that a privilege reserved for the wealthy? And what if they are sick? It is far more cost effective to have a carer stay than fill a bed in our over-stretched hospitals. This scheme is sold as one of fairness but if a wealth tax is unfair because it could result in old ladies being forced out of their homes, how is it fairer that poor old ladies are forced out of theirs?

Stephanie Bottrill's neighbour said: “She spoke to us over the fence and said they’d offered her three places; one was a flat which was no good to her because of her condition, one was in Shirley and wasn’t near a bus stop, and another was in Alton, further away. I think, because she loved her garden, the thought of moving away from her friends and into something like a one-bed bungalow has had that effect.”

Would you want to leave your house and garden for a one bedroom property, if one could be found, in a different community, and expect your family to find hotel accommodation when visiting or caring in times of illness? I wouldn't. An Englishman's home used to be his castle. Now it is dependent on status. This has all the makings of the coalition's Poll Tax.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry but everyone can live where they want - so long as they can pay for it. Why should taxpayers pay for someone else's accommodation? Let's get real.