Today, the National Housing Federation (NHF) released the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of the bedroom tax one year on; it has highlighted the disastrous impact of this cruel Tory policy.
In the Commons, after Prime Minister’s Questions, my colleague Ian Lavery is to propose a Ten Minute Rule Bill on the Bedroom Tax. This will give MPs the chance to vote to end the deeply unfair tax for good.
The study by NHF, which surveyed 183 housing associations, highlighted that 66% of their residents hit by the bedroom tax are in rent arrears, with more than a third reported to be in debt because they were unable to pay the bedroom tax.
I know from speaking to people affected by the bedroom tax in my area that it is impacting hard on families that are already struggling. . A report published by Wakefield District Housing studied the impact of the bedroom tax only 200 days after its implementation and found 5,600 residents were affected. 4,722 individuals were in a worse financial position and 90% had increasing debt.
Many of my constituents have told me they feel like they can’t make ends meet, they are being forced to borrow money from friends, family or pay day loan companies. Many feel rising levels stress and anxiety over the prospect of losing their homes.
The government is failing the most vulnerable in our society.
Councils do not have sufficient housing for 96% of people affected by the bedroom tax somany people, including my constituents, are accumulating debt that they simply cannot pay off.
David Orr, the Chief Executive of the NHF said “analysis of the bedroom tax a year on since it was introduced shows the extent to which this bad policy is having disastrous impact. It can’t be allowed to go on... the most depressing figure of the lot is that one in seven of those penalised by the bedroom tax has now had a notice of seeking possession issued to them”
This is why a Labour would scrap the bedroom tax as one of its first acts in government. We would pay for this by reversing the Government's planned tax cuts for hedge funds, cancelling the Government's 'shares for rights' scheme and by cracking down on the tax lost through disguised employment in the construction industry.
We would bring in a fairer approach to deal with under-occupation; we would assist local authorities to move people to suitable accommodation, by using the funding set aside by the Government through Discretionary Housing Payments for dealing with the problems caused by the Bedroom Tax.
I have seen so much suffering in my area as a result of the bedroom tax. We all know it is a shameful and unfair policy and that is why I will be supporting the ten minute rule bill, on behalf of my constituents, to put an end to this bedroom tax once and for all.