Letters: Bedroom tax? Let’s all pay it

These letters appear in the Wednesday 3rd April edition of The Independent

Share

 

Probably not a bad idea this “bedroom tax”. Could actually get this deficit under control a lot sooner than expected. The problem of course is that a fair tax should be levied on all.

Were we all truly in it together then indeed a bedroom tax might equate quite accurately to the ability to pay. Having a five-bedroom property myself and only one child still at home, I would clearly suffer, but I would accept a genuinely fair approach to deficit reduction.

Of course fairness is the last thing on this government’s mind, and sadly ministers will reflect the views of a substantial part of the electorate, who will remain largely comfortable and unaffected by such cuts. So we increase the burden on those who can least afford it and even laugh at the possibility that such people might actually have friends and relations who would visit them. 

The fact that today I hear the politicians trying to justify this tax as fair is just sickening. I do hope that many will look at this regressive attack on the poorest and most vulnerable in our society and, like me, feel utterly ashamed that a purportedly civilised society as ours can resort to such bullying and grossly iniquitous policies.

Philip Brown, Bridekirk,  Cumbria

 

So Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps has converted one of the four bedrooms in the family home into a study. Surely, he has provided the solution to those who are now subject to the “bedroom tax”.

If you are in social housing and have been deemed to have a spare room, convert it into a study by removing the bed, and use that study regularly. With all the extra learning the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, is advocating in his “back to basics” national curriculum, the a study used by school pupils can hardly be called “spare”.

Dr David Bartlett, Ilkley,  West Yorkshire

 

I find myself consumed with envy, not of their six-figure ministerial salaries, nor their million pound houses, but the sheer integrity, forcefulness, and thrift of Mr Shapps and Mr Duncan Smith, that the one can insist his sons share a bedroom so he can enjoy his right to an office at home as well as at work, and the other can economise so tightly as to be able to live on £53 a week.

Truly, our rulers are in a class – or is it a world? – of their own.

The Rev Richard Haggis, Oxford

 

We have been living in economic cloud-cuckoo land for the last half-century. This “crisis” is no such thing: it is the new norm in the light of the world’s shrinking resources and mushrooming population, and things will only get worse. To relate this to everyday realities, perhaps the “bedroom tax” will oblige people to start taking lodgers again, and perhaps that is no bad thing.

Venetia Caine, Glastonbury, Somerset

 

Burning question in a gas crisis

Terry Duncan’s idea of returning to coal gas (letter, 25 March) is interesting, but impossible. Coal gas is a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen: natural gas is methane. The two have very different burning properties, and need either considerable adjustment to the burners, or their complete replacement.

Perhaps Mr Duncan is too young to remember the changeover from coal gas to natural gas. I am not. It meant that a trained gas fitter had to visit every installation in the country to carry out the conversion, if possible. In many cases it was not, and the unfortunate consumer had to throw away what had been a perfectly good appliance and replace it, at some expense.

Frank Wood, London W13

 

Mike Joslin, (letter, 25 March) blames lack of gas storage on the Government. The gas companies, not the Government, are responsible for the storage of gas and they have failed to keep pace with the change in supply and demand triggered by the running down of our North Sea reserves.

What is more likely is that the gas companies have deliberately delayed spending this essential money, thus creating the current situation, to pressure Government into subsidising new installations with taxpayers’ money, something that I predict will soon happen.

What is needed is for the Government to force gas companies into doing what they should have done years ago and prohibit them to from passing the cost on to the consumer. This would also reduce the profit they could salt away in their overseas coffers.

David Jackson, Birkenhead

 

Cut out the banks

If the economy is in trouble because the banks are not lending, and the banks are not lending because they are hoarding all the cash that the Bank of England keeps giving them, why not cut out the banks and give it directly to the long-suffering people?

Instead of throwing another £50bn shot of quantitative easing at the banks, whose many failings are the cause of this crisis, you could afford to give every household in the land £2,500 instead. And if you provided it in the form of a date-limited smart card, you’d guarantee that the money went directly into the economy.

The economy would get a jump-start from the injection of cash, the Government would benefit from a huge feel-good factor, and the politician who announced it would win the next election. What’s not to like?

Simon Prentis, Cheltenham

 

New NHS will focus on profit

Andrew Lansley’s letter to Clinical Commissioning Groups (16 February 2012) stated: “It is a fundamental principle of the Bill that you as commissioners should decide when and how competition should be used to serve your patients’ interests.” It is now clear this was just a sham to reassure those who felt uneasy about his unnecessary and unwanted legislation at a time when the Health Bill was in political peril.

The recent section 75 regulations, laying out the rules NHS commissioners will have to follow, were written in a way that meant commissioning GPs would have to offer all NHS services through a competitive tendering process on the open market.

After widespread protests, the Coalition claims to have amended the regulations, but it is clear that they remain just as dangerous as the original version. They still betray ministerial assurances that CCGs would be free to commission as they see fit. CCGs will be forced to put all services out to tender in order to avoid costly and complex legal challenges.

Under these regulations the NHS will become a franchising business with profit-seeking companies bidding for multi million pound contracts and delivering them from behind the much-trusted NHS logo. They will be able to hide details of their contracts using the excuse of “commercial confidentiality”, thus allowing no public scrutiny of the use of taxpayers’ money. They will also cherry-pick the easy and profitable parts of the health service while undermining core NHS provision.

The new NHS from 1 April will be focused on money and maximising profits from misery and illness. It is not an NHS we recognise or want in England and we call for a return to a publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable English NHS.

Dr David Wrigley

Ken Loach

Professor Clare Gerada

Professor Martin McKee

Professor John Guillebaud

Clive A Stafford Smith

Marcus Chown

Dr Jacky Davis

Dr Clive Peedell

and others

Bolton-le-Sands, Lancashire

 

Owen Jones (1 April) is right that there has been a silent conspiracy in the murder of the NHS. Not only have the media been silent, but GPs as well. With a few honourable exceptions, their silence has been deafening. Whereas the media may be silent because they have private health insurance, the doctors have seen an opportunity to make money by setting up their own companies to bid for the provision of services.

The natural behaviour of piranhas is as nothing compared to the feeding frenzy on the corpse of the NHS. I await the public outcry when voters find they cannot get access to the treatments they require.

Lesley Cogan, Wickford, Essex

 

Britain’s exit from India

Edward Pearce (letter, 26 March) is quite right about India and indeed Mountbatten. Indian independence was not just part of Labour’s manifesto in 1945. The wartime coalition had already made a public commitment to it.  

The natural Viceroy was Sir John Anderson, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer and the one cabinet colleague Churchill looked on as an equal. He had  been Governor of Bengal, surviving two assassination attempts. However Anderson had just lost his wife and had remarried, to a much younger RAF widow. She was not regarded as being Vicereine material. Maybe, but would she, like Mountbatten’s Vicereine, have slept with leading figures in the Indian Congress party?

Robert Davies, London SE3

 

Jabba the Hutt’s ancient ‘mosque’

You report that Muslims have been angered by a Lego version of Jabba the Hutt’s palace looking similar to the Hagia Sophia “mosque” (1 April). This splendid building is not now a mosque nor was it originally built as one.

A Byzantine basilica, it was completed in AD 537 and was converted to use as a mosque in 1453 following the fall of Constantinople. Muslim/Christian relationships were much more tolerant then, as Mehmet the Conqueror ordered minimal changes and the original mosaic decoration has been preserved. In 1934 it changed use again to a magnificent museum, which it still is.

Michael Watson, Norwich

 

Lucky Cyprus

The people of Cyprus should be grateful for their good fortune. They have only had 20 per cent removed from their assets and only if they have a bank account over €100,000. We, in Britain, have had 25 per cent taken from us by inflation and it applies to all of us, rich and poor and regardless of how little we have in the bank or whether we keep it in a shoebox under the bed.

John Day, Port Solent, Hampshire

 

Rewards of office

Steve Richards (28 March) refers to several former Labour ministers being “more powerful and wealthy when they leave their elected posts”. Maybe this sort of advancement contributes towards voter’s attitudes in  “this anti-politics era”.

John Pinkerton, Milton Keynes

React Now

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

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Women are working in some of the lowest-paid sectors such as cleaning, catering and caring  

Women's wages have gone backwards. Labour would give women the pay they deserve

Gloria de Piero
 

Taking on Ukip requires a delicate balancing act for both main parties

Andrew Grice
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker