Hundreds in South Yorkshire entitled to bedroom tax refunds

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One in every 14 people paying the ‘bedroom tax’ in Rotherham and Barnsley is entitled to their money back, a local MP has said.

John Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne, told the House of Commons that hundreds of tenants have been given refunds after the Department for Work and Pensions admitted a blunder when passing legislation.

In Rotherham, 281 tenants have been paid back nearly £150,000 and, in Barnsley, 264 have received nearly £170,000.

Around 8,000 households in Rotherham and Barnsley lose part of their benefits for having too many spare rooms.

The mistake happened when the Government did not update housing benefit regulations when new legislation was drafted.

It means working age council tenants who have lived in the same property and were entitled to housing benefit since 1996 are eligible for a refund on money deducted.

Initially the DWP said the error would affect around 3,000 to 5,000 people, but Mr Healey said 10 times as many are likely to be entitled to money back.

“It’s a cruel and unfair policy that has forced families to use food banks and could end up costing more than it saves,” he added.