Exempt tenants hit by bedroom tax

10th November 2011' MP Yvette Cooper'PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE
10th November 2011' MP Yvette Cooper'PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE

Tenants could have been wrongly forced out of their homes and pushed into financial hardship as a result of a blunder by government benefits bosses.

It has emerged that some tenants hit by the government’s ‘bedroom tax’, which cuts housing benefit for people in social housing with spare bedrooms, were actually exempt.

The controversial change to benefit rules did not apply to some tenants who have lived in their homes since 1996 and continuously claimed housing benefit.

Around 40,000 people UK-wide are thought to have been wrongly hit by the bedroom tax after the loophole emerged. Government ministers said they would close the loophole in March.

Yvette Cooper, Pontefract and Castleford MP, said:“The bedroom tax is really unfair, and now it is in chaos and confusion too. Instead of trying to close this loophole, the government should ditch the bedroom tax altogether.

“It is really nasty to push families into debt just because they have a spare bedroom - especially when there are few smaller homes to move into.

“Anyone who thinks they might be affected should get in touch with me as soon as possible so I can find out if they have been charged too much.

“I’ve asked WDH and the council to work out how many people around the area have been affected by this.”