Bedroom tax ‘should be scrapped’

Sean Woodcock
Sean Woodcock

A senior Labour councillor has renewed calls for the ‘bedroom tax’ to be scrapped after it was found some people have been wrongly penalised.

Cllr Sean Woodcock (Banbury Ruscote) said some social housing tenants in his ward may have been wrongly ‘fined’ for having a spare bedroom.

Mistakes made when the spare room subsidy legislation was formulated mean people who have claimed housing benefit in the same property since 1996 should not have been included in the penalties, which have docked 14 per cent from their benefit for a spare room and 25 per cent for two rooms deemed surplus to requirements.

Tenants who have been wrongly penalised will be due refunds and restoration of full benefits. Some, however, may have moved house rather than try to manage on less.

Cllr Woodcock said: “This is just another example of how the ‘Bedroom Tax’ is not only unfair but is also a complete shambles. From the u-turn exempting foster carers and those in the armed forces to the emergence of this loophole, this policy has been wrong from day one.”

Cherwell press spokesman Jemma Callow said: “Due to an oversight, a loophole has been uncovered whereby the ‘bedroom tax’ does not apply to claimants who have been continuously in receipt of housing benefit at the same address since before January 1, 1996.”