The Strategy of The Bedroom Tax

We are told that George Osborne treats politics as a game of chess:

… it is one of those three-tiered chessboards. The lower tier is tactics, the art of winning day-by-day scuffles. The middle tier is strategy, which is planning for the next election. The top tier is grand strategy.’ http://www.economist.com/blogs/blighty/2012/03/george-osbornes-budget-0

It is obviously essential that the policies and day-to-day tactics of this ‘Tory’ government be confronted but it needs to be understood that activity within each layer of the board is predicated on the intentions of the topmost…

For example, the ‘Bedroom tax’ is the strategy.  The strange rationalization… that government is trying to ‘reduce overcrowding’… is the tactic.

But the grand strategy is the age-old one of dispossessing low-income people from the high value land that they occupy… the long-term aim is social cleansing of the inner city.

The dire impacts of the ‘Bedroom tax’ on individuals are heartbreaking but the real targets are the social housing associations whose viability are threatened by the likely large scale rent arrears… and their subsequent difficulties in arranging finance:

‘The social housing sector is an intricate machine; significant manipulation of policy and funding levers without fully understanding the potential impacts, is likely to cause major disruption to the way the sector works, both in terms of its ability to support its tenants and its ability to attract investment for development of new affordable housing.‘ (1)

 

Why would the Tories want to cripple housing associations and clear the inner city? …Just think of the rents that private landlords will be able to charge for newly acquired ex-social housing in Kensington and Chelsea… and the prime locations that will become available for purchase.

But perhaps more importantly, it moves away potential ‘trouble’, creating much more easily defended areas for the wealthy (just like the heavily defended citadel in Soylent Green).  By relocating individuals and families to cheaper areas, the assault on social housing also provides the means to break up natural communities of mutual support.  Public protests and rioting are invariably urban phenomena, as we saw in the London riots.

Boris may have said that there would be ‘”no Kosovo-style social cleansing” of the city’s low income households on his watch, but he has diverted 80% (£93.3 million) from affordable housing programmes to the Mayor’s Housing Covenant, which aims to help middle income earners into homeownership.

In war, the first casualty is truth

 … and as Warren Buffett said:

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”  

References:

  1. Council of Mortgage Lenders’ Response to SSAC call for Evidence – Universal Cride/ Housing Benefit in Social Sector Part 1
  2.  Soylent Green, George Osborne and Plutonomy