Nearly 900 families in fear over ‘the bedroom tax’ in Hinckley and Bosworth

Council tenants in Hinckley and Bosworth could face extra bedroom tax if Government plans get green light

Feb 9 2012 by Ben Eccleston, Hinckley Times

NEARLY 900 families in Hinckley and Bosworth could be hit with an extra tax for under-occupation if a new Government bill gets the go-ahead.

Figures from the National Housing Federation reveal that a total of 889 families living in council homes in the borough could be forced to shell out an extra £498 a year – labelled a bedroom tax – if their homes are deemed too large for the number of people living there.

The plans make up part of the Welfare Reform Bill, which is being discussed by Government this week and was opposed by members of the House of Lords who backed a cross-party amendment to exempt families with just one additional bedroom where there are no alternative properties for them to downsize to.

The House of Lords have also been backed by nearly 80 housing, family and disability organisations in asking MPs to ensure that families aren’t forced to choose between going into debt, cutting back on essentials or trying to move due to the extra tax.

Stuart Bray, leader of Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, said: “We want to know what the true implications of this would be. People do have spare bedrooms that are used say if families have split up and have children coming to stay, as well as for all sorts of other reasons.

“So I wouldn’t want to see any system that discourages away from that. It is a sensitive problem where a family’s situation has changed and they are now in a bigger house than they need, as they still want to live in their family home and we wouldn’t want to see them chucked onto the streets. I do try to encourage people who are in bigger houses to move into smaller ones as it would be cheaper for them to run.

“There are lots of serious implications with a whole string of changes to benefits and I urge the Government to seriously look at what they are doing.”

Chris Hobson, East Midlands lead manager for the National Housing Federation, said: “We have been deeply concerned about this bedroom tax for some time. Penalising East Midlands families for under-occupying when they have nowhere to move to is unfair and unjust.”

http://www.hinckleytimes.net/news-in-hinckley/

 

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