An investigation by the BBC has discovered that only 6% of social housing tenants affected by the coalition government’s controversial ‘bedroom tax’ policy have moved to a smaller property.
Under changes to Housing Benefit introduced by the government as part of widespread changes to welfare benefits, social housing tenants occupying homes deemed to be larger than their requirements are expected to contribute toward the rent, in the form of a cut in the amount of Housing Benefit they are entitled to claim.
Employment minister Esther McVey has rubbished the BBC’s findings and insisted the 6% figure is not a sign of failure, and also that the widely condemned policy is on track to reach its target of 30% by 2017.
Findings by the BBC also show that 28% of affected household have found themselves with rent arrears for the very first time and 3% have been threatened with legal action, such as eviction from their home.
Chris Bryant MP, Labour’s Shadow DWP Minister, responding to BBC research on the Bedroom Tax, said:
“The Tories are so out of touch they just don’t get it. This proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the Bedroom Tax was always designed as a tax on the poorest and most vulnerable.
“Trapped with nowhere else to go, thousands of people have had no choice but to fork out an extra £14 a week. David Cameron’s Government have pretended this was all about helping people who are overcrowded, but in truth the Bedroom Tax is a cruel, unfair and appallingly administered policy.
“The Government should scrap the bedroom tax immediately. If they won’t, Labour will.”
Independent: ‘Bedroom tax’ forces 6% of claimants to move house
New Statesman: Bedroom tax survey poses headaches for the Tories and Labour
New Statesman: Esther McVey flounders as bedroom tax failure becomes clear
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