Despite the controversy caused by the government’s new “bedroom tax” as part of its welfare reforms, local MP Claire Perry declares that it is not a tax at all and has been introduced to increase housing accommodation.
“There has been a lot of miscommunication about the Government’s housing benefit reforms,” the Tory member for Devizes told Marlborough News Online.
“In particular, the under-occupancy reforms were recently described by Labour politicians as a ‘bedroom tax’ which, apart from it not being a tax at all, wholly ignores the dire situation that housing benefit has been left in by the previous government.”
“The housing benefit bill has almost doubled in 10 years and there are over one million spare rooms — paid for by the taxpayer — at the same time when there are 250,000 social housing tenants living in over-crowded accommodation and over five million people on waiting lists.”
Mrs Perry added: “This government has always been clear that it wishes to give social tenants far greater freedoms and flexibilities to make better use of social housing, and these reforms do exactly this.”
“The measure seeks to ensure that not only will housing benefit be much fairer to taxpayers, but that it is also spent directly on people’s needs.”
“Claimants who are above working age will be exempt from this measure, so pensioners will not be affected by the new rules.”
“The Government has also added £30 million to discretionary housing payments for local authorities to ease the transition and support particular groups which will help approximately 40,000 cases.”