Some people (far too many) have their housing rental paid for by other people (the taxpayer). In many cases these people are squatting on rooms that they don’t need. This is incredibly unjust and unfair. Firstly because other people are paying for these extra room and secondly because there are many people who desperately do need the rooms.
The under occupancy charge (sometimes called the spare room subsidy) was invented and first applied to private rented accommodation by the Labour government. Malcolm Wicks MP, their Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said on the 19th December 2001: “The under-occupation pilot encourages housing benefit recipients living in under-occupied social housing to move to smaller and cheaper accommodation in order to make more efficient use of housing stock”.
The coalition’s Welfare Reform Act of 2012 extended the coverage of this to include publicly owned accommodation. The penalty for unfair squatting is pretty low. The amount of rent that can be claimed for housing benefit is reduced by 14% for oneÂ ‘spare’ bedroom, 25% for two or moreÂ ‘spare’ bedrooms. There are many exemptions for pensioners, foster carers, disabled people etc. Also for the far too many people who haveÂ lived in the same home and have claimed housing benefit continuously from before 1 January 1996.
As you can see this is a brilliant and fair system. The available stock of rental rooms that the taxpayer is financing is much more fairly distributed among those who need them.
Amazingly the left call this system a “tax”, which it definitely isn’t. There can only be two possible reasons that they are doing this. The first is because, as they have proven repeatedly, they don’t understand economics. The second is because they could possibly be lying again and trying to mislead the British public for political reasons, which is strange when it is their idea.