• It is time to question the sanity of running a benefit system which gives money with one hand and then takes it back with four more in the bedroom tax, the housing benefit cap, the £500 overall benefit cap and the council tax. It imposes homelessness because benefit claimants cannot pay the rent (Bedroom tax ‘will force tens of thousands on to the streets’, 27 May) and hunger because they run out of money and food banks cannot meet demand (Food banks struggle to meet demand, 28 May).
When creating the monster with five hands the government knew there were not enough single-bedroom properties to accommodate people forced into downsizing. Lord Freud, minister for welfare reform, told peers: “I recognise that there is not the sufficient range of stock in many areas that would enable landlords always to suitably house people according to the size of their household.” (Hansard HL 14 December 2011. Welfare reform bill: column 1306.)
Meanwhile, the Treasury cut the funding of the council tax benefit by 10% and the secretary of state for communities and local government forced local authorities to charge benefits, already reduced by the bedroom tax and other imposts, between 8.5% to 30% of the council tax, knowing many cannot pay. Disabled people suffer from both taxed benefits and cut services.
Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty
The Guardian, letters, 30th May 2013