Fewer facing bedroom tax in Sheffield

Leader of Sheffield City Council, Julie Dore
Leader of Sheffield City Council, Julie Dore
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The number of people forced to pay the ‘bedroom tax’ in Sheffield has fallen by more than 12 per cent in less than a year.

However, the new Government figures also show more than 6,120 tenants living in council properties with empty rooms still face cuts to their housing benefit, following the removal of the spare room subsidy.

And people no longer facing the so-called bedroom tax have had to take measures such as moving to a smaller house.

According to the statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions, in November 6,124 tenants have had their benefits reduced – down from 7,003 last May, a fall of 12.6 per cent.

In Barnsley, the number fell from 3,473 to 3,224, while in Doncaster it decreased from 4,260 to 3,844.

Rotherham saw the smallest change, with 3,923 facing a benefits cut in November, down by only 156 tenants.

Iain Duncan Smith, Work and Pensions Secretary, said reforming housing benefit was ‘absolutely necessary’.

He said: “The cost to the taxpayer grew by 50 per cent in just 10 years to more than £24 billion. We just could not ignore the problem and strong action was needed.”

However, Coun Julie Dore, the Labour leader of Sheffield Council, said: “If Mr Duncan Smith had a clue about the impact on real people, he would have thought twice before boasting about hitting 6,000 with this tax and forcing people out of their homes.

“These figures show that six out of seven people in Sheffield have no alternative but to find this money out of what is already an extremely tight budget and will now be sacrificing other essentials such as heating or eating.”

“The 6,000 people in our city hit by the bedroom tax will be shocked by the arrogance of this Government who are completely out of touch with the real world and the effect that their policies are having.

“Locally we have done what we can to support tenants.”