Let me speak out in favour of spare rooms. Most of my constituents enjoy one or two. I am glad I live in a country where many people can afford more housing than they strictly need. People like to have a spare bedroom so they can welcome friends or relatives to stay the night or stay for a few days. Many now like to have a spare reception room or workroom so there is somewhere for members of the family to relax and watch tv, and somewhere else to do the homework or to answer the business emails and calls that come through out of office hours.
I want more people to have spare rooms. I want my constituents to become better off, and to be able to buy better housing. I do not want to tax them out of a larger home with a Mansion tax. I do not want to prevent them buying a larger one with penal Stamp duties. I do not want to stop them enjoying their surplus space through penal Council tax levels on bigger properties. People with larger incomes usually choose to have considerably more space than the average, as it does make living more relaxing and enjoyable. It’s good to aspire to better housing.
I well remember the joy I felt as a youngster when my parents took the plunge and moved from Council accommodation to their first home they owned. It sported a spare bedroom so relatives could come to stay.It had two downstairs rooms as well as a small itchen. My parents had worked hard to save a deposit and to afford the mortgage. Their parents had rented all their lives, so it was an amazing move.
Today there is a difficult debate about spare rooms in Council accommodation, or accommodation where the rent is paid for by Housing Benefit. I understand only too well the strong feelings many people have towards their homes. I also see the desirability of more people having spare rooms so there is somewhere quiet for homework, or somewhere to put up a relative or friend. I also understand the frustration of people who cannot secure Council accommodation at all or of the right size, when they see others living in properties larger than they would qualify to receive if applying today.
Most people agree that when someone asks for subsidised accommodaiton it is right to allocate just the size they need and not something bigger. If they like the rest of us want something bigger, then there are all sorts of help on offer to assist them into jobs, where higher incomes will in due course lead to being able to afford a larger home. Good luck to them.
Most also agree that people with special needs, or the elderly, should be allowed to stay in larger accommodation and not required to downsize. The cases in dispute are those of people of working age who happen now to be living in larger homes provided by taxpayers than they would qualify for. Should the government encourage downsizing by offering suitable properties, but take no other action? Or should it say there will be less benefit to help pay the rent, as the home is larger than needed? I would be interested in your views.
I want a view with a room from you.