Tory MP Anne McIntosh joins revolt against bedroom tax

Anne McIntosh

Anne McIntosh

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Parliamentary Correspondent

ONE of the region’s Conservative MPs yesterday (Thursday, January 9) joined the revolt against the ‘bedroom tax’ – calling for an exemption for rural areas.

Anne McIntosh, the Thirsk and Malton, warned of a “chronic shortage” of smaller homes for people required to move, or be docked housing benefit.

And she criticised her own Government for arguing that people affected should work harder, or move to rented homes in the private sector instead.

Miss McIntosh, chairwoman of the Commons environment select committee, said its investigation found the need for an exemption for villages.

During a Commons debate, she told ministers: “In my area, there is a chronic shortage of one and two-bedroom homes.

“Until such a time as we can rehouse those who wish to downsize - allowing larger families to move into larger properties - housing will remain a problem. Sadly, the Government rejected that recommendation.”

She added: “The bedroom tax means that tenants are expected to move greater distances, away from friends, family and schools.”

The Thirsk and Malton MP is believed to be the first Conservative to openly criticise the bedroom tax, which Labour has vowed to axe if it wins power.

Indeed, even the phrase is banned in Tory circles, the party’s MPs having been ordered to call it the removal of a “spare room subsidy”.

During the debate, on rural communities, Miss McIntosh was criticised by Tory colleague, Sir Edward Leigh, for calling it the bedroom tax.

The controversial policy - designed to save £500m and free up larger homes for families in cramped properties - was introduced last April.

It has penalised social housing tenants with spare rooms, cutting housing benefit by 14 per cent for an extra bedroom and 25 per cent where there are two.

But critics have long warned there are too few smaller homes for 95,000 affected families across England, with the North-East the hardest-hit area.

Her comments came as a red-faced department for work and pensions (DWP) revealed some people hit by the bedroom tax will receive a rebate.

It admitted people who have been claiming housing benefit continuously since 1996, for the same property, are not covered. Around 5,000 are affected.

Meanwhile, during the debate, Miss McIntosh also criticised people in rural areas who adopt a ‘not in my back yard’ approach.

She said: “Every time, in a nice area, when there is a proposal by the planning authority for social housing or smaller units, people always write to their MP and say, 'I know just the place for that development - at the other end of the village to where I live'.

“Until we can get over that barrier then we are going to have a smaller housing stock of social homes.”

Comments (7)

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8:14am Fri 10 Jan 14

Jonn says...

A Tory admitting there's a chronic shortage of smaller homes for people to move into! Anyone who isn't politically motivated to back this bedroom tax has been saying this for along time.
A Tory admitting there's a chronic shortage of smaller homes for people to move into! Anyone who isn't politically motivated to back this bedroom tax has been saying this for along time. Jonn
  • Score: 15

11:05am Fri 10 Jan 14

kevmacka says...

The DWP statement that 5000 are entitled to a rebate is also well short of the mark. Independent sources estimate that at least 40,000 are entitled to the rebate with an inestimable amount of appeals expected to win cases due to local councils destroying files in line with the Data Protection Act.
This tax has been an absolute disaster for the government and will cost more in appeals than it actually recovers.
However, this is not to be unexpected from a department run by the most incompetent imbecile I've witnessed in a Government.
The DWP statement that 5000 are entitled to a rebate is also well short of the mark. Independent sources estimate that at least 40,000 are entitled to the rebate with an inestimable amount of appeals expected to win cases due to local councils destroying files in line with the Data Protection Act. This tax has been an absolute disaster for the government and will cost more in appeals than it actually recovers. However, this is not to be unexpected from a department run by the most incompetent imbecile I've witnessed in a Government. kevmacka
  • Score: 14

11:17am Fri 10 Jan 14

punkrocker says...

anyone who lived in there home since 1996 is now exempt from this bedroom tax due to a DWP bungle. this attack on the poor is unravelling. recently a letter in the northern echo highlighted that those with children at university / higher education are also exempt due a tribunal ruling CH/2197/2009 .
Defeat this wicked tax and attack on the poor.
anyone who lived in there home since 1996 is now exempt from this bedroom tax due to a DWP bungle. this attack on the poor is unravelling. recently a letter in the northern echo highlighted that those with children at university / higher education are also exempt due a tribunal ruling CH/2197/2009 . Defeat this wicked tax and attack on the poor. punkrocker
  • Score: 10

12:53pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Copley23 says...

She took her time didn't she?

Wonder why......oh wait..........is it vote gathering time?
She took her time didn't she? Wonder why......oh wait..........is it vote gathering time? Copley23
  • Score: 15

10:45am Sun 12 Jan 14

Jackaranda says...

Copley23 wrote:
She took her time didn't she?

Wonder why......oh wait..........is it vote gathering time?
Spot on, this is the "National year of backpedalling and defecting" for all politicians, but mainly the LibDems.
[quote][p][bold]Copley23[/bold] wrote: She took her time didn't she? Wonder why......oh wait..........is it vote gathering time?[/p][/quote]Spot on, this is the "National year of backpedalling and defecting" for all politicians, but mainly the LibDems. Jackaranda
  • Score: 2

11:51am Sun 12 Jan 14

Mar1an 54 says...

When 96% of the households affected are in an impossible to comply position, one has to ask, "Why does this policy even exist?", for ANYONE? I Is it possible the MP in question is getting ready to jump ship, or just protect her own backside, because she has certainly taken her time coming to such an obviously sensible decision.
When 96% of the households affected are in an impossible to comply position, one has to ask, "Why does this policy even exist?", for ANYONE? I Is it possible the MP in question is getting ready to jump ship, or just protect her own backside, because she has certainly taken her time coming to such an obviously sensible decision. Mar1an 54
  • Score: 2

5:14pm Mon 13 Jan 14

Adam Walker says...

I remember Phil Wilson of Liebour fame doing something similar for the Post Offices. He vowed to keep them open and was even pictured in the Echo wearing the T-shirt. He then waltzed himself down to Westminster and voted to close them. This slimy rat will be doing exactly the same like all of those with their noses in the trough, she is just telling people what they want to hear. If she really wanted change she would cross the floor to the BNP.
I remember Phil Wilson of Liebour fame doing something similar for the Post Offices. He vowed to keep them open and was even pictured in the Echo wearing the T-shirt. He then waltzed himself down to Westminster and voted to close them. This slimy rat will be doing exactly the same like all of those with their noses in the trough, she is just telling people what they want to hear. If she really wanted change she would cross the floor to the BNP. Adam Walker
  • Score: 0

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