Bedroom tax is ‘tax on poor’

Picture to illustrate Council bedroom tax
Picture to illustrate Council bedroom tax
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Thousands of households are facing benefits cuts or having to move home when the new ‘bedroom tax’ comes into force next month.

From 1st April families claiming housing benefit who are deemed to be ‘over-occupying’ their homes will receive a reduced payment.

Rotherham Council’s deputy leader Coun Jahangir Akhtar has branded the change a ‘tax on the poor’ that will hit the most vulnerable in the community.

Under the Government’s size criteria, families will be assessed for the number of bedrooms they actually need.

From April only one bedroom will be allowed for every adult or couple. People with spare rooms will see their benefits cut - or be faced with downsizing to a smaller property if one is available.

The changes will not affect pensioners, and in a last minute u-turn by Government ministers on Tuesday, it was announced that foster carers and families of armed services personnel will also be exempt from the changes.

Coun Akhtar said this is a tax on the poor that will impact on the most vulnerable people of Rotherham.

He added: “Hundreds of people will be either penalised with the tax which they cannot afford or face the upheaval of looking for smaller accommodation, in areas away from where they have lived all their lives, leaving behind family and friends.”

Rotherham Council has set up a bedroom tax section on its webite, including a bedroom tax calculator.

To find out if you will be affected by the changes, visit www.rotherham.gov.uk/rent and click on the bedroom tax link.