‘Bedroom tax’ – study the alternative?

Many people living in social housing in the UK are worried about losing benefits as new arrangements are being introduced this week. Welfare reforms will see tenants’ housing benefits cut if they are deemed to have a spare bedroom in their council or housing association home.

Whatever subtle distinctions politicians are making between the notion of a ‘bedroom tax’ or ‘removal of the spare room subsidy’, the proposals will affect an estimated 660,000 working-age tenants in social housing – 31% of existing working-age housing benefit claimants in the social sector. The majority of these people have only one extra bedroom and there’s a reported shortage of single bedroomed accommodation for people to move into.

The Government doesn’t define what the term ‘bedroom’ means, leaving the decisions to landlords. The bedroom tax makes no distinction between a single or a double bedroom. A room either is a bedroom or is not a bedroom.

Here’s an idea to promote lifelong learning and to symbolise educational aspiration. Make sure that all social housing has a study if at all possible, re-designating any bedrooms deemed to be spare as a place for learning in the home. Now that would be a public gesture to support ambition and a culture of self-improvement.

The WEA’s vision is: “A better world – equal, democratic and just; through adult education the WEA challenges and inspires individuals, communities and society.”

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About Ann Walker
Adult education and lifelong learning specialist and campaigner. LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/1GI0QK1

8 Responses to ‘Bedroom tax’ – study the alternative?

  1. Jol Miskin says:

    Nice idea. Priority No 1 is a massive social housing building programme. Nos 2 might be that every neighbourhood have an accessible community centre, complete with classrooms. Nos 3, your idea, that all houses have a designated study for use by all family members. Nos 4 should be that all householders, as of right and at no extra cost, have a spare room for visitors. Many private house owners see that as ‘natural’. The same should apply to all.

  2. joaniepthemadhatter says:

    I agree with this idea 100% Ann! I am proof positive that this actually works – I have just started paying “bedroom tax” this week, although for the past 17 years my smallest bedroom has been used as a study by everyone in my family, including myself! Where there once was a bed there are now desks, bookcases and IT equipment which has helped my son through his school years and my husband re-educate himself in IT to enable him to study for qualifications in computer software engineering! I guess you could say that he was the pioneer of adult education in our home as he encouraged all of us to follow suit and led by example! Where it not for having the convenience and the solitude of this small study I would not be in the position I am in now, being involved with adult education to the degree that my main aim is to help and encourage others to follow the same path! We all need space to study in peace and quiet and I don’t think any adult should be made to pay for what is their fundamental right!

  3. Pingback: ‘Bedroom tax’ – study the alternative? | JoanieP The Mad Hatters' Corner

  4. gogwit says:

    Reblogged this on Gogwit's Blog and commented:
    Like this. Subversive. We could also dub these arrangements ‘Study Tax’ – which in truth they do represent.
    Whether it is a teenage student doing their homework, or a student engaged in study for a first degree, or an adult engaged in other lifelong learning the need for space in which to study is very important, often overlooked. Studying at the kitchen table while people cook and eat; studying in the living room while children play, people watch television or talk are both situations not conducive to effective learning.
    Both situations are sadly too often all that is available. These changes are yet another break on the ability of those on benefits to find a route out.

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