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Labour asks Council to condemn Government’s Bedroom Tax

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Calderdale’s Labour councillors will be asking the Council to condemn the Government’s ‘bedroom tax’ (social housing size criteria) at the full Council meeting next week (Wednesday 24th April 2013).

Labour leader Cllr Tim Swift said, “The bedroom tax is affecting over 1200 households in Calderdale. It’s cutting their housing benefit because they are supposed to have more rooms than they need - but in many cases there simply are no suitable alternative properties available. It’s just a straight forward plan to cut the help given to less well off households - many of them working in low paid jobs and struggling hard to get by.

“We believe that if the Government is genuinely concerned about the number of people on social housing waiting lists, they would help Councils and Housing Associations to invest in new homes to rent at affordable levels – not target clumsy and punitive cuts on the least well off.

“Whilst we recognise the steps that Pennine Housing 2000 and other landlords are taking to help their tenants by reclassifying properties and providing advice, we are also asking social housing landlords to think carefully and do everything they can to avoid evicting tenants who end up in financially difficulties if this is largely due to the impact of the bedroom tax.

“We hope that councillors from all parties will join with us in asking the Government to think again.”
Illingworth and Mixenden Councillor Dan Sutherland, who is moving the motion, added:

“This Tory Government's bedroom tax is devastating for the community I represent in North Halifax. I have spoken to dozens of people, many of whom either have a disability themselves or live with someone who does, whose lives are being devastated because the Tories want to balance the deficit on the backs of the poor and vulnerable. Yet the most perverse part of this policy is that independent research has shown it will cost taxpayers even more than it saves!”

See also: extensive discussion of the Bedroom Tax on the HebWeb Forum

Bedroom tax - fears that hundreds of local people will be affected

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Calderdale Labour councillors are warning that more than 1500 local families are going to be hit by the Government’s “Bedroom Tax”, which is being introduced in April. On average, each family will lose around £14 a week – and over a million pounds will be taken out of the local economy.

Now Labour are launching a campaign in Calderdale to highlight the issue – and are urging local residents to contact them with their stories about how they will have to try and cope with the cuts.

Cllr Tim Swift commented told the HebWeb, “The bedroom tax will hit families already struggling hard. Tenants are already telling their Councillors how this will affect them. Families who need a room for a carer to stay, or those with a child with a disability who needs extra space have told us how unfair this tax is.

“The Council does have a small pot of money that we can use for discretionary housing payments, but that is only enough to help a small fraction of the people who will lose money.

“I would like people to tell their Councillors their stories so that we can target the available help as well as we can, and so we can give the strongest possible messages to Government about the disastrous impact of these plans. You can contact your Labour Councillor on 01422 393151.

"Tell your Labour Councillors if the bedroom tax is going to affect you."

Cllr Barry Collins commented, “We really do need to hear from you if this is going to create problems. In Illingworth, Mixenden and Ovenden 500 families will lose some of their benefit, and we should do everything we can to help families get help and advice about this dreadful bedroom tax.”

Cllr Simon Young told us, "The bedroom tax is supposed to encourage people with spare rooms to downsize, but doesn’t take into account the real shortage of smaller accommodation.
"This perverse tax hits the less well off in Calderdale. We're talking families with disabled children, foster carers, separated parents who share the care of their children, disabled adults with specially adapted properties and parents and grandparents that have family who visit".

"I’ve been contacted by a number of concerned constituents about the significant impact this will have on their ability to make ends meet. 
"The bedroom tax is yet another Tory-led policy that hits the most vulnerable hardest. Ironically its introduction comes on the same day as thousands of millionaires receive a tax cut. The nasty party is alive and kicking!"

Based on a press release from the Calderdale Labour Group