The Bedroom Tax has rightly sparked a massive and angry response. Locally, an estimated 1,000 people will be affected, facing reductions in housing benefit of £14 a week. The government’s hypocrisy is disgusting. Ministers claim concern for the housing benefit bill, asking why tax payers should stump up for social tenants to ‘enjoy’ spare bedrooms. But the reality is the benefits bill, and homelessness, will soar if people are forced into private rented accommodation where rents have sky-rocketed. Local councils can borrow money at very low rates. Fenland District Council should therefore borrow the money for a major programme of council house building just like Wisbech and March borough councils did during the 1950s.
The tiny retreat on some aspects of the bedroom tax shows that the Con-Dems are worried that it could be an echo of the poll tax; when a mass movement defeated the tax and brought down Margaret Thatcher.