Remember the fuel crisis that never was, last year? Francis Maude advised drivers to stockpile fuel in jerry cans, a foolish act at best, and illegal if the advice was taken literally, and actual jerry cans (with a capacity of 22 litres) were used.
Now, Lord Freud is advising people in social housing who are about to be hit by the “bedroom tax”, if they are unable to downsize (and if there aren’t suitable properties available they can’t), to sublet spare rooms to make up the shortfall in housing benefit.
Maude was ignorant of the law, and that is inexcusable for a legislator, but Freud’s ignorance is even more bewildering, since it is the current government, of which he is a part, that is enacting a law to make such subletting, already a civil offence, a criminal one.
I have no problem with the introduction of this law, and it is backed by all sides of the House of Commons, but I do have a problem with a member of the government trying to entrap people into breaking that law.
- Lord Freud on welfare: making the poor pay for the risk-taking of the rich | Richard Seymour (guardian.co.uk)
- Islington Council welcomes proposal to change law on subletting (islingtongazette.co.uk)
- Lord Freud’s welfare ‘lifestyle’ comments show ‘nasty party is back’, say Labour (telegraph.co.uk)