‘Bedroom tax’ rent demand errors investigated by Sheffield Council

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‘INCORRECT’ demands are being sent out to Sheffield tenants for extra rent due to the ‘bedroom tax’, campaigners claim.

Sheffield Council has promised to look into the claims made by Shirley Frost.

She is a former citizens’ advice bureau worker and member of Sheffield Benefits Justice campaign.

Mrs Frost, of Halfway, said she is aware of two cases where people have been sent demands up to three times what they were expecting, after the cut in housing benefit for people with spare bedrooms.

She said: “The first letters we looked at for a neighbour were totally confusing as the figures on his housing benefit letter do not match those on his rent letter.

“Clearly, someone has made a mistake.

“They are asking a man on Job Seekers Allowance of £71.71 to pay £29 rent so obviously something is radically wrong and he will be writing in about it.”

Mrs Frost said the man, an unemployed former steel worker, has had a spare bedroom at his two-bedroom home since his mum died more than a decade ago.

She added she is aware of a further case where a mum in Gleadless who shares custody of her children with her former partner and has a spare bedroom for them to use at weekends has been asked to pay £21 per week.

Coun Harry Harpham, Sheffield Council deputy leader and cabinet member for housing, promised to ‘look into’ the complaints against the authority and its benefits service contractor Capita.

He said: “We should not be adding to the confusion about these benefit changes, which are hitting some of the city’s poorest people, by sending out letters with silly errors.”