South Yorkshire MP demands apology over bedroom tax

John Healey, MP
John Healey, MP
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South Yorkshire MP John Healey has demanded an apology for the ‘concern and chaos’ caused by the Government’s controversial so-called bedroom tax.

Mr Healey, the Wentworth and Dearne MP for Labour, called for the apology after the Department for Work and Pensions admitted thousands of people had been wrongly paying bedroom tax and were entitled to a refund, because of a Government mistake.

It means around 400 families in Rotherham and Barnsley could get as much as £700 back.

Challenging Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith in the House of Commons on Monday, Mr Healey said: “The bulletin that the Secretary of State issued last week is a clear admission that he has been hitting thousands of people illegally with the bedroom tax since April.

“Is he aware of the latest survey from the Northern Housing Consortium, which says nearly half of all front-line housing workers have dealt with someone who has threatened to commit suicide, largely because of the Government’s welfare changes?

“Will he apologise to those people for the concern and chaos that he is causing?”

Mr Duncan Smith blamed complex housing benefit regulations left by Labour.

Mr Healey quoted figures about housing tenants having threatened suicide found in a report on a survey of 700 employees working for 10 social landlords.