This was the lead letter published in the Swindon Advertiser

After reading Justin Tomlinson’s Adver column (Sat 23 Feb),  I felt compelled to once again put pen to paper. In reference to the new welfare act he talked about people putting out misleading information, then proceeded to claim that the bedroom tax is not compulsory. His dictionary definition of “compulsory” is radically different to mine. If he meant “pay up or get out” then yes, it is not compulsory.

The other options left open to many long standing householders are in many ways unfeasible. Will the government pay for CRB checks on potential lodgers? Will they pay for the cost of removals and renovations should householders choose to move? What will happen to loved family pets that aren’t allowed in smaller properties? Many other questions remain unanswered. He can dress it up anyway he wishes, the bottom line is, this is a tax on the poorest in society.

On a government flip chart this new bedroom tax looks fine at first glance – move people around into correctly sized dwellings. But in reality it’s a logistical nightmare which will be in a constant state of flux with people having to move to fit in with the correct government criteria.

The human element in all this has been grossly overlooked. The sheer act of moving for many residents is horrendous, neighbours forced to move away from loved ones, not to mention the sheer emotional attachment they have to their cherished and well looked after homes of many years. Moving house is said to be one of the most stressful times in a persons life. Having to do this under government policy beggars belief.

The whole thing was fatally flawed from the start, with the number of smaller properties not being available. Even moving to private renting would be far more costly with the council having to pick up the tab. This bedroom tax leaves far more questions and problems than it answers. For those who are already on the breadline, this will push them over the edge. £11 or £25 a week may not seem much to a politician, but in the real world it’s the difference between heating or eating. If this new welfare act solves the housing issue, I will gladly eat my hat.

Tom Horwat

Penhill

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