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Rochdale Liberal Democrats

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Evidence shows urgent need for reform of the Bedroom Tax

December 18, 2015 3:32 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

The latest Government Report on the impact of the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy ('bedroom tax'), states that 57% of people still affected by the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy are spending less on household essentials, while 19% have been forced to borrow money from friends or family.

The report also states that 15.8% of affected tenants are registered for downsizing (around 87,000 people), however the report makes clear that landlords feel there is a lack of suitable available properties for downsizers.

The Liberal Democrats proposed, via a Private Members Bill in 2014 by then MP Andrew George, that the policy be reformed so that only those who were offered a suitable smaller property and refused to move were hit by the cut to their Housing Benefit.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions Spokesperson, Zahida Manzoor said:

"This report shows that 16% of those affected by the so-called Bedroom Tax are still desperate to move, but that the chances of finding a suitable smaller properly are very low. People understand welfare needs to be reformed but the Conservatives repeated attacks on the poorest in society is unnecessary and deeply unfair.

"Cutting money for people's rents without offering them a different option is unnecessary and frankly cruel.

"There can be no question now that reform is needed so that people who are unable to downsize because of a lack of an alternative home aren't hit by the cut in their Housing Benefit. Liberal Democrats proposed these changes in Government, but the Tories seem committed to continuing to ignore the evidence of the need for change.

"By refusing to implement this sensible, evidence based change the Conservative Government is forcing people to cut back on essential items such as food, heating and clothing, or to push themselves further into debt. This cannot continue simply because the Tories don't want to admit the need for reform."