WHY I’M FIGHTING THE BEDROOM TAX

Imagine you’re in government and you’re looking for ways to make more money – to plug the gap caused by reckless bankers.

Someone will suggest a Mansion Tax. Sounds like a good idea, you might think.

It would raise £1billion pounds. No small amount of money.

Ah but! Someone pipes up, “It will upset our core vote.”

So the idea is ditched.

“I know”, says another. “Why not another housing tax – one that won’t damage our vote. These people don’t vote for us anyway.”

Enter the Bedroom Tax.

Basically, if you’re on benefits and you’ve got a spare room, then you either move to a smaller house or your pay more money.

Some people might think it reasonable. After all, why pay for empty rooms?

Not so fast.

If people are to be forced to move, where should they go?

Smaller houses – there are none. At least none locally if you live in our big cities or in the capital.

There are definitely none here in Liverpool

That will cut no ice with the heartless and the cruel.

“They can move”.

So it is. People are being uprooted, forced to move to other cities in what looks like a form of economic cleansing.

It’s upsetting people. It’s punishing the poor for being poor.

And worse, it’s not working.

People who have to pay more are simply eating less.

They’re not heating their homes.

Do they deserve it? No.

Can they do anything about it? Sadly not.

They’re driven into the private rented sector, where there are fewer safeguards around standards

And, get this, where the government is having to pay even more in benefits because private landlords are milking this tragedy.

It’s financially flawed and morally wrong.

We do what we can to help. It’s never enough. But it’s something.

There has been £400,000 allocated in Discretionary Housing Payments to people in the most need and are supporting people who wish to appeal.

Where landlord and tenant dispute the number of bedrooms in the home the Council will treat any such cases as appeals and look carefully at the circumstances to review the decision.

It’s a start. But we shouldn’t have to do it.

I say let’s get people into work so that they can be left to live in peace.

And scrap this pernicious tax today.

Finch Farm training ground: they shoot, they score

I’m a big football fan.

But when it comes to making money for the city then I’m colour blind. I look at the colour of the money not the strip.

Just last week, we announced that we bought Finch Farm training ground. We’ve rented it to Everton.

This was not a decision based on football.

The only goal I’m interested in is securing a better return for our cash than we’d have got in the bank.

But more importantly, it’s a good investment for the city.

The return we get will be used to pay for services.

Everton may or may not score but it’s the city that wins here.

Everton retain a long-term lease on the site and the new rental arrangement secures a reduced annual rental cost to the Club and an attractive commercial return for the Council.

Over the lifetime of this arrangement we will score big time.

It’s another deal like our new Exhibition Centre. These are innovative ways of making investments that allow us to get a better return for council tax payers.

It’s a good deal: it’s been independently valued and verified.

This is a win-win for the club and the council. It’s not every day you get that score in Liverpool.