This is a tax on the poor

The Star: Opinion.
The Star: Opinion.
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IT isn’t there yet, but the bedroom tax is set to become the most divisive and unfair tax imposed on people since the poll tax of 25 years ago.

The tax will affect around 7,000 households in Sheffield, many of whom will be penalised because of an ill-thought-out Government policy.

It sits massively uncomfortably with the report published by the Fairness Commission here in Sheffield which highlighted the inequalities between the haves and have nots in the city.

That report warned that Government welfare reforms will exacerbate and not improve the inequalities of cities such as ours.

And the bedroom tax is a prime example of how that will happen.

It would be almost understandable if the tax actually did what it purports to do, and that is to free up bigger council houses to ease overcrowding – forcing people in houses they no longer need to move into smaller ones.

But it won’t do that. And that is because there is no surplus of housing in the city for these people to move into.

So what we are left with is nothing more than a tax on the poor.

The poorest people in our society who live on benefit and in social or council housing will suddenly have part of that benefit taken away because they have a spare room in their house.

It is madness.

They should only be taxed if there is a realistic alternative house for them to move into and they refuse to relocate. Otherwise, it is not their fault they have a house too big for their needs.

Danny Dorling, an expert in poverty and inequality and an academic, says, this tax is a mess and it is down to pride and stupidity that it is not being withdrawn and rethought.

We couldn’t agree more.

The reasons for you to shop local

LOCAL high street shop versus big chain store – who wins?

In the wake of the horse meat scandal, the high street made a comeback so today The Star launches its Shop Local campaign.

We want to turn the spotlight on our proud local shops and encourage our readers to look after their communities.

Whether its the friendly, knowledgeable staff or the chance to catch up on the gossip, there are so many feelgood factors which keep us coming back to local shops.

They are often cheaper too, with unique products and all just a stone’s throw away from your front door.

After all, life is local, so let’s make sure it stays that way.