Richard Willis's Blog

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Conservatives Speak Up for Overcrowded Families on Reading’s Housing Register

Council HousesConservatives spoke up for the 1,264 families on Reading’s Housing waiting list suffering from overcrowding at last Tuesday’s Council meeting (which I was unable to attend due to a work trip overseas). The so-called “Bedroom Tax” is designed to ensure that the social housing stock is best used to relieve over-crowding and free up larger Council houses for families who desperately need the accommodation.

However, at Full Council Labour used their majority to vote through a motion to write to government asking for the under occupancy reform to be suspended because they said it isn’t fair on the 1,008 households in Reading’s social housing with a spare bedroom.

After the meeting Conservative Housing spokesman Cllr Isobel Ballsdon said “There are 9,636 families and individuals on Reading’s Housing waiting list, many having been on it for a number of years.  The overwhelming majority of residents I’ve spoken to support making better use of the town’s limited supply of social housing to help tackle the backlog.  Despite this Labour wants to stop the Government’s reform which will get more families into housing right for their needs.”

Cllr Ballsdon met with Mrs Chidsey who together with her husband decided to downsize last year from their 2 bed Council bungalow to a one bedroom maisonette.  Mrs Chidsey said, “We didn’t need all that space.  We moved so a disabled person with a carer or a family could benefit.  Our utility bills are cheaper now and we are happy we made the right decision.  Our daughter lives next door to a man who has a 3 bedroom council house all to himself.  What a waste when there are families out there squashed into tiny flats or temporary housing.”

Cllr Ballsdon continued, “At the Council meeting I proposed some exceptional cases which officers should prioritise for using the town’s share of the £155 million Government pot for Discretionary Housing Payments.  These are households needing a spare bedroom because of medical or disability needs, residents registered to foster but temporarily without a foster child; residents with a grown up child living with them who is away on active duty with the Armed Forces.  Labour ignored our reasoned argument and our proposal to work cross-party for the good of residents.  It was very disappointing.”

Cllr Tim Harris, Conservative Group Leader said, “Labour’s motion did nothing to help a single household on the Housing waiting list.  Instead all they are doing is scaring vulnerable residents.  It is totally unacceptable behaviour; especially given they don’t know all the facts nor have any idea how to deal with the problem of people in over-crowded housing.  It shows them caring more about political point scoring than the needs of residents.”

I made my views clear on the matter in 2010 here.


March 7, 2013 - Posted by | Local


  1. As I will be leaving the UK and moving to France in a few weeks, and if this proves successful for me I shall stay there, I feel that any comment I make about UK Politics be it national or local is now irrelevant. Suffice it to say that I am against the Bedroom Tax for many reasons but that will come as no surprise as I am against the Economic and Welfare policies of this Government and also oppose its liberal Social/Moral policies.

    Should I remain in France I will no longer be voting in UK Elections be they Local or National and although I will from time to time via the internet have a look at what is happening here, With time such interest will no doubt fade and I will be more interested in the policies and fortunes of President François Hollande than the machination of Cameron, Osborne and Duncan Smith. I feel that I will be more in harmony and happier with France’s economic policies than those of the current Uk Government.

    Save to wish Victoria Groulef every success in the 2015 General Election I will bid you all Adieu.

    Comment by Steve Foley | March 7, 2013 | Reply

    • Good luck Steve!

      Comment by Richard Willis | March 8, 2013 | Reply

  2. My view is if they are on the waiting list for a smaller property then they shouldn’t be charged the bedroom tax until a suitable property comes up. Obviously we need to better allocate housing, but it isn’t fair to penalise people who do want to relocate to a smaller place but are unable to.

    Comment by Jonathan Bryce | March 7, 2013 | Reply

  3. In the big picture of reducing the massive cost of welfare this is pretty small stuff and begs the question as to whether it is worth all the bad publicity that it risks.
    The bottom line is to get people into work that are not currently able to find work. A good starting point is to seriously curb immigration so that the jobs that are hopefully going to be created by the private sector are not filled by new immigrants. Its obviously not the fault of the immigrant, but it is the fault of the system that allows large numbers of people to come here while we have millions that ought to be working but are not doing so. People in work cost the state less money than those that are not!
    As for the shortage of housing the same theory applies. Immigrants may live in the ‘hedgerows’ in some parts of the country but in general they live in houses and flats. We should be building new housing as an urgency and this housing needs to be ‘council’ housing and not housing association housing which, to quite honest, is just about the most expensive way possible of providing social housing………….another way of cutting many billions off the deficit if only those in government could spot the completely bloody obvious!

    Comment by Howard Thomas | March 18, 2013 | Reply

    • Howard, a very sensible answer to the issue of the Bedroom Tax. No disrespect to Richard but reading his posting on this issue was like drinking a pint of golden syrup!

      Comment by Steve Foley | March 18, 2013 | Reply

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