EDITOR - Over the weekend I listened, with mounting anger, to Grant Shapps and Iain Duncan Smith as they tried to convince us that the changes to housing benefit are fair.
They believe they must drastically reduce the monies paid out in benefits but this bedroom tax, the spare room subsidy, call it what you like the label makes no difference, is not fair.
We should bear in mind that, given the opportunity, there will always be those that will defraud the system; so many shameful people will push others out of the way so that they can get their greedy snouts in the money trough.
Some MPs have been found to be guilty of expense fraud. This all puts up the expense of running the country. Every time a fraudulent claim is made, whether it’s benefits or expenses, or even if you just take a stamp or pen from work it all puts up costs and is partly responsible for the pain that is being caused.
I don’t suggest for one minute that benefit claimants are blameless, a small percentage are as guilty as the MPs or anyone else that has deliberately falsely claimed expenses, but why do the most vulnerable have to pick up the tab? Just because they are easy targets?
Don’t tell me I’m being melodramatic. You try sitting with someone who is disabled, doesn’t smoke or drink, doesn’t spend money on things she describes as frivolous, things like make-up and flowers.
Not long ago her daughter moved out and she knew this change would affect her, so, from the beginning of this year, she has been asking to be moved to a two bedroom property and all she gets is ‘No, sorry, we don’t have a smaller home for you’.
She tells you that she now has to find £20 a week to cover a room she doesn’t want or need and the only thing she has left to give up is her cats and that’s not going to save £20. I’m telling you about this lady because I care and I hurt because there is nothing I can do – I’m a fellow citizen, another human being. How can we treat people this way?
Just stop for a minute, take it seriously, imagine this is happening in your home: Take in a stranger? It’s not just the bedroom is it? They must use your bathroom and so many of the people looking for a room somewhere cannot afford to go out to eat. What then, share the kitchen or allow cooking in the spare room? Would you be OK with sharing your home with a stranger, someone you have no knowledge of - losing your privacy and yes, your dignity?
Don’t defend the indefensible. I don’t believe Iain Duncan Smith cares about the homeless or those living in overcrowded accommodation. They are just suitable pawns, people he can pretend to sympathise with.
I understand that money has to be saved BUT once again I ask “Where is the justice” and “Did they really think this through?” I know they don’t care about how ordinary decent people are supposed to make up the difference between the reduced benefit and the housing charges.
What is the council going to do when the difference is not paid? Rent and rate arrears go up, what next then? Throw the debtors out on the streets? Put more families in Bed & Breakfast. How much will that cost and what will it achieve?
Chairman Skegness & Wainfleet Labour Party