Bedroom tax will not solve housing crisis

From: Mrs W Abbott, Boulsworth Avenue, Kingston Upon Hull.

I WONDER if David Cameron’s latest proposals will solve the housing crisis or make the situation worse than it already is.

Firstly those in receipt of state benefit who are living in properties with an unoccupied bedroom may wish to retain the room in the eventuality of illness, or perhaps their relatives do not live in the area and a spare room is required to accommodate visitors.

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Some claimants may have grounds to appeal the decision, which will create a mountain of administration and paperwork for the Benefit Agency. We are all agreed that the benefit system must change, however the system remains complex and will not be solved by the present government’s bull at a gate attitude.

Here in Hull, local MP Karl Turner has already expressed his concerns over the shortage of one-bedroomed properties in the area and I have no doubts that other cities will experience the same problem. The Government will have to provide the necessary funding to embark on building single occupancy dwellings if the are to achieve their aim.

Secondly despite publicity telling us the housing market is on the up, the very opposite appears to be the case in some areas. In Hull and surrounding areas (Yorkshire Post, March 20) the market is saturated with apartments, houses both large and small, and bungalows which vendors are unable to sell. Some of these properties have been on the market for over a year and more.

The Government’s recently unveiled mortgage scheme is reminiscent to the sub-prime lending of the past. This scheme of easy access money encouraged would-be buyers into borrowing more than they could realistically afford to pay back. Once the period of low interest ceased, many people struggled to meet the repayments with some losing their homes whilst others fell into negative equity.

It looks like the Government have not learnt the lessons of past mistakes.

From: Coun Nader Fekri JP (Labour & Co-op, Calder Ward), Cheetham Street, Hebden Bridge.

ANOTHER spring sprung and another Budget bodged by this chump of a Chancellor!

While welcoming the pledge to build more social housing, increasing the right-to-buy eligibility will inevitably mean that social landlords such as Pennine 2000 may find it even more difficult to house hard-pressed families on the waiting lists.

Again, though supporting the increase in personal allowance to £10,000, this won’t kick in until next year. Millionaires, however, only have to wait until next month to get a tax handout of tens of thousands of pounds.

The Chancellor’s refusal to consider a “Plan B” on the economy shows weakness not strength. It is adherence to a failed political ideology that was bankrupt long ago. Obstinacy in the face of facts is not commendable, it is foolhardy. We need an investment budget for growth. And we need the investment now. With the Tories, it’s always jam tomorrow and never jam today!

Oh well, I might as well go down the pub and drown my sorrows. At least there’s a 1p cut in beer duty... though I’ll have to drink until next year’s Budget to get my free pint.

Allotment allocations

From: N Bywater, Airedale Terrace, Morley, Leeds.

IN regard to Leeds City Council, and the issue that they are looking for ways to save money. Some areas in Leeds have parish councils, for which there is an extra charge on our council tax bills (Yorkshire Post, March 23).

Parish councils have duties and powers to provide services. Allotments are one of those duties, yet Leeds City Council are responsible for allotments. Why are we paying twice when funds are tight?

They also have the powers in relation to litter, war memorials, crime prevention, cemeteries, bus shelters, community centres and more.

Why do parish councils cost the tax payer an extra charge on their council tax bill, if services that they should be doing, are done by Leeds City Council?

Journalist, heal thyself

From: Bernard Thornton, Ellar Gardens, Menston, Ilkley.

THERE can be few things more predictable than self-interested journalists whinging about press regulation. Sorry Bill Carmichael (Yorkshire Post, March 22), but you are included.

Yes, it is unfortunate that the Yorkshire Post and other excellent regional publications have been tarred with the same brush as the chief culprits but something had to be done.

It has long been apparent that the press has no interest in self-regulation.

Phone hacking was the tip of 
a very large iceberg. My sympathies lie with the unfortunates who have had photographers camped outside their houses, dustbins rummaged through, families harassed and lives generally made a misery, all in the name of “freedom of speech”.

As for the idea that the proposed regulation is a celebrities’ charter, the solution is surely in the media’s hands. Ignore the press releases, the interview requests and in fact, the whole “celebrity culture” and print more proper news stories. Regulation then becomes an opportunity rather than a threat to the quality newspaper.

Don’t blame Parliament for doing what should have been done years ago, Bill. Any fingers should be pointed directly towards the tabloid owners and editors.