Who needs a spare room, anyway?

I’m sure Lord Freud would love the chance to swap just one of his eight bedrooms in his comfy mansion for a single sofa

Share
Related Topics

Now that someone’s pointed it out, it’s obvious who caused the economy to collapse – people on benefits with a spare room. So there’s a new law, starting in April, which will cut 15 per cent off anyone’s housing benefit if their place contains one of these “spare” rooms.

The cut applies to any household in which a bedroom isn’t lived in all the time. For example, welfare minister Lord Freud told a parent whose three children stay with him half the week that he would lose the spare room as the kids can sleep on the sofa. Luckily, the fact that sofas appear to be smaller than three children is an optical illusion. Many families have lived for years on them, and if they come into some spare equity build a cushion as an extension. Lord Freud himself has to make do with an eight-bedroom mansion, so you can understand why he’d give that advice, as he’d LOVE the opportunity to swap that cramped dwelling for a sofa.

Parents whose son or daughter work for the armed forces, leaving their room empty while they’re away on duty, will also have their benefits cut, and Lord Freud's advice to those parents was to take in a lodger. That should be easy enough, because it’s simple to rent out a room on the basis that every couple of months you have to budge up a bit in bed to make room for a squaddie just back from Afghanistan. You can probably charge a bit of extra rent on the grounds that if the room has any mines in it, your roommate will know exactly how to sweep them away.

Disabled people who need a spare room for equipment will have their payments cut, and the Government expects the new rule to affect 660,000 households. If all these families did as they were asked and moved somewhere smaller, there might be a problem, in that there aren’t 660,000 spare smaller houses. But this can be easily solved by getting the residents to destroy their extra room with gelignite, leaving them with the right-sized property while the taxpayer no longer feels upset at paying for unnecessary lumps of space.

It could be time-consuming for David Cameron, because everyone facing these cuts will presumably be granted two meetings with the Prime Minister, as happened with Starbucks when it was suggested they make the odd payment of tax. But there’s a solution to help everyone.  

Once these cuts have been introduced, we could start on toilets. How much housing benefit goes towards renting a toilet, and yet most of these claimants spend barely more than a few minutes a day on it, the ungrateful pigs? One toilet per street is plenty.

The rest could be rented out to Starbucks, in return for a tax payment, and every council flat would have its own coffee shop, selling almond croissants to be enjoyed during long summer walks around the glorious grounds of the sofa.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Health & Safety Consultant

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic and exciting opport...

Recruitment Genius: Project and Quality Manager

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Executive - OTE £20,625

£14625 - £20625 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role is for an enthusiasti...

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Walt Palmer (left), from Minnesota, who killed Cecil, the Zimbabwean lion  

Walter Palmer killed Cecil the Lion with a bow to show off – and now he's discovering what it's like to be hunted

Louis Theroux
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, arrives with his son Prince George at the Lindo Wing to visit his wife and newborn daughter at St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington, west London, Britain, 02 May 2015  

Prince George's £18,000 birthday gift speaks volumes about Britain's widening wealth inequality

Olivia Acland
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'