10 Jul 2013

Bedroom tax ’causes real hardship’

 The government calls it a “spare room subsidy” – the system brought in 100 days ago to try to reduce “under-occupancy” in social housing.

Families on benefits who are deemed to have one more bedroom than they need lose 14 per cent of their income – rising to a 25 per cent cut if they have two spare rooms.

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But to opponents it has always been the “bedroom tax” – penalising some of the most vulnerable.

After watching my report on Channel 4 News, Conservative MP Andrew Selous told me an inquiry was needed into why the Rutherford family had not received help from their council in the form of a discretionary housing payment.

Mr Selous,  parliamentary aide to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, said:  “I would like to investigate why the council didn’t give them discretionary housing payment, which we’ve trebled the amount for.

“The evidence so far is that councils have been sending back discretionary housing payment money, so I think the case from Pembrokeshire absolutely needs to be looked into.

“Last year local authorities sent back £11m of discretionary housing payment money that they weren’t able to use, so I’d like to look and see what happened in Pembrokeshire.”

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