Dear Sir,

At the behest of Councillor Clare, DCC sought mercy from the Coalition Government in the implementation of what he chooses to call the Bedroom Tax. The proposal was that DCC would get a period of 2 years to seek alternative accommodation to those to whom (not the Tax) but a cut in Housing Benefit, in respect of spare bedrooms, applies.

Using J.D Clare’s figures that is, 1282* £14 * 2(years)* 52 (weeks) = £1,866,592 that the tax paying electors of County Durham would have to pay because of his dislike of the Coalition Government. Luckily, the Coalition Government politely rejected his proposal.

Clearly, John D. Clare’s grasp of the public finances are from the school of Gordon Brown and Ed Balls – borrow and spend until you are found out and thrown out of office. Oh yes, and sell our gold reserves when the market was at an all-time low!

However, what really worried me about John D. Clare’s letter is that, as a Labour Councillor in a Labour Council, he could not tell us where the 1282 ‘displaced’ tenants moved to, or their experiences. There could be two reasons for this:

1) He does not know or care; he was only using the figure to try to discredit the Coalition Government’s attempts to recover the economy from the New Labour disaster. The fact that he refers to a Tax and not a Benefit cut, leads me to believe that his motivation is political rather than based on social conscience.

2) Previous New Labour Councillors decided to ‘privatise’ our Social Housing and therefore the County Council is now remote from the day to day control of Social Housing.

Readers can make up their own minds as to whether either or both apply.

While I have every sympathy for any tenant being in the can’t – pay – can’t – move trap, the policy has ‘freed-up’ a minimum of 1282 bedrooms, some of which will be taken up by tenants who wanted to move and can pay. This is to the benefit of our society as a whole and increases the amount that can be spent on social policies.

Also, please remember that this is not a tax; it is a cut in Housing Benefit. If someone in receipt of Housing Benefit moves to a private rented property their Housing Benefit is still paid. It is therefore disingenuous to call it a tax. I only wish that more of New Labour’s taxes were as easily avoided e.g. Student Tuition Fees now at £9,000 p.a.

Alastair P. G. Welsh