New tax is scandalous

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WITH the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ now just a few weeks away from being implemented by the government, many of my constituents are growing increasingly concerned at the impact it will have on them.

Under this pernicious tax – ironically due to be introduced on April Fool’s Day – the government will cut the amount of housing benefit people receive if they are deemed to have a spare bedroom in their council or housing association home.

Thousands are vulnerable to this change including separated parents who may share the care of their children and who may have been allocated an extra bedroom to reflect this; couples who use their ‘spare’ bedroom whilst recovering from illness or an operation; foster parents because foster children are not counted as part of the household for benefit purposes; or families with disabled children.

All are among the most vulnerable in our society and need all the help they can be given.

Across the north east region figures show that more than one-third of working-age benefit claimants may have money clawed back from them, with those affected likely to see their income reduced by as much as £728 a year.

To the ‘grandees’ in the Tory ‘shires that may sound like nothing more than small change, but to hard-pressed families struggling to cope in areas such as ours where jobs and a decent wage are so hard to come buy, it is nothing short of a small fortune.

This tax is scandalously unfair and is yet another example of this government’s on-going financial attack on decent people struggling to make ends meet.

The Tories and the Lib Dems need to think again before it is too late.