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Bedroom Tax: A government under-occupied

Hello. As MP for Bollinger on the Mange I have noticed a lot of misunderstanding of late from the more unfortunate amongst us, such as those suffering from a lack of comprehensive education about the "size criteria" of "bedroom tax". Let me set a few things straight. The bedroom tax will cut housing benefit for people who are living in social housing too big for their needs. For example, 15-year-old Tommy might be in one room and four-year-old brother Jonny in another. That counts as "under occupying". Mum and dad will have to move house and Tommy and Jonny will have to share rooms, or they'll get a 14% cut in housing benefit. If two rooms are under-occupied then mum and dad get a 25% cut. But what could be nicer than Tommy and Jonny bunking up together? There are regulations on "statutory overcrowding", so if the rooms are less than 90 square feet, mum and dad could legally challenge their landlord or the local authority. Their landlord could also reclassify the number of bedrooms so they could avoid the tax. But we don't like things like that so please don't bother. In Sheffield, at least 6,000 households are going to be hit by the tax. Pensioners are exempt, unless they do something silly like work. Everyone else is included. Around half of you will need to go into the lovely private sector, where the bedroom tax doesn't apply. Once in the private rented sector, you'll find it is more expensive so you'll get lots more housing benefit. This might mean the Government won't save a penny through the bedroom tax, but the private sector will benefit and that is always a good thing, right? There have been a few moans about different bits of the bedroom tax. Let me lay these concerns to rest with a few suggestions: Foster children are not counted towards your allotted number of bedrooms. Just keep them under the stairs like Harry Potter. It didn't do him any harm, did it? Disabled children or spouses needing their own room are counted as under-occupying. A bedroom empty for more than 13 weeks a year is counted as unoccupied - for example, if your child is at university or in the armed forces. Children of all ages love adventure so have them 'camp' in the front room of your new downsized bedsit. Little Jonny coming back from Afghanistan will feel like he never left the front! Of course, if any of this applies to you, Sheffield Council has the ability to award Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) to support people in need. This is very important. Please do apply. Every time some ghastly interviewer starts having a go at us for some hard luck case we have to point out that your Council is entirely to blame. We gave them the money for one out of 16 people to get support, although five out of 16 people hit by bedroom tax are disabled, never mind the rest. If you get turned down you could always: Invite a lodger to stay in your under-occupied room. They could entertain the kiddies, get to know the wife and become part of the family. If you end up with one of those Fred West types, sell your sob story to a tabloid and you'll soon get over it. Work more, you lazy plebs. So what if there are not enough jobs? There are always opportunities! Only yesterday I looked in vain for some willing entrepreneur to shine my shoes whilst in town. Have another child. You get to stay in your house and get a 25% increase in benefits for twins. We could then make sweeping statements about the feckless poor having more children to get benefits and you will be rewarded handsomely with another term of us in Government! Anyway, there you have it - the bedroom tax will be of great benefit (excuse the pun!) to you all. Till next time, Augustus Misanthropicus Slone MP Guide to the rules: Blog on Housing benefit reforms: Public meeting with information and discussion on the benefit cuts - 11th April, 7pm at Sheffield Quaker Meeting House. MP attempts to live on £18 per week to find out how bedroom tax affects her constituents: )

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