A letter a day to number 10. No 1,330
Friday 29 January 2016.
Dear Mr Cameron,
In all my 65 years I have never witnessed such craven cowardice as displayed by Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) yesterday in the House of Commons.
Asked to respond to questions put directly to him by Owen Smith, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, IDS sat grim faced as junior minister, Justin Tomlinson, rattled out stock responses justifying the Bedroom Tax, despite the Court of Appeal ruling that it was being applied illegally. Tomlinson also confirmed that the DWP would be appealing in the Supreme Court.
Tomlinson made much of Discretionary Housing Payments being paid to victims of the Bedroom Tax which merely serves to highlight the abandonment by your government and the DWP of its duty of care. Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are interim measures to ward off the effects of DWP imposed hardship and are both temporary and inadequate to cover the wide spread misery of the DWP policies of attrition against the vulnerable.
Local government committee chairman Clive Betts pointed out that ‘DHPs’ temporary nature causes “enormous uncertainty” and 75% of bedroom tax victims aren’t paid them’. DHPs do nothing to alleviate the distress of policies that are causing wide spread harm and immeasurable distress for people already stretched to the limit.
The stony silence of Iain Duncan Smith was rightly met with cries of shame in the House of Commons. The Bedroom Tax is a ‘miserable vindictive little policy’ being pursued by a miserable vindictive little man whose silence is as unforgivable as it is craven.
I note that Michael Gove has abandoned Legal Aid reforms drawn up by Chris Grayling as ‘time-consuming and costly for all parties, whatever the outcome’. When is Iain Duncan Smith going to admit his policies are unworkable, apart from in his own fevered mind? The time has already come and gone when your governments vicious war on the poor should have been abandoned and the Bedroom Tax, not least, scrapped for the punitive and illegal policy that it is.