The coalition Government imposed Bedroom Tax has unfairly hit many people across the country, including some 60,000 carers, simply because they have been housed in homes now deemed to be bigger than they need whilst, simultaneously, there is a shortage of availability of alternative suitable accommodation for them to move to. Barry has set out his position below:
I believe the Government's Bedroom Tax is a cruel, unjust and unworkable policy and that the Government should repeal it. This is why I supported the Affordable Homes Bill at the Second Reading in the House of Commons on 5th September.
The Bedroom Tax affects around half a million households, two thirds of which include a person with a disability and 60,000 of whom are carers. I know this is having a real impact on many vulnerable people in our constituency and across the country and that for many of those affected there is simply nowhere smaller to move to.
Indeed, the Government's own review of the Bedroom Tax recently found that only 4.5% of affected tenants have been able to move to smaller social accommodation, while 57% of claimants have reported cutting back on household essentials and 26% have had to borrow money. Six out of ten households affected by the Bedroom Tax are also now in rent arrears.
As you know, a Private Members Bill - the Affordable Homes Bill - has now been introduced to Parliament and would exempt some households from the Bedroom Tax. This Bill currently falls short of repealing the Bedroom Tax, but I know that my colleagues on the Shadow Frontbench will seek to amend and strengthen it as it passes through Parliament.
I am pleased that it passed the Second Reading with such a clear majority. I know from the many letters and e-mails I have received that there is also strong local support for this Bill.
I hope that the Government will now realise how unfair, unpopular and unworkable this policy is and repeal the Bedroom Tax. I also welcome the commitment by the Leader of the Opposition that if this is not achieved in this Parliament, a future Labour Government will do so.