Sheffield MP brands benefit cut ‘disgraceful’

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CUTS to housing benefit for people with spare bedrooms have been branded a ‘disgraceful policy’ by a Sheffield MP.

Paul Blomfield, who represents Sheffield Central, is among Labour politicians critical of the change, due to be introduced from April.

He said: “It’s a disgraceful policy which is causing deep anxiety to many of my constituents.

“The Government is penalising people on low incomes for having a spare bedroom for relatives to stay, while they’re giving tax handouts to millionaires with more houses and bedrooms than anyone could ever need.

“The message is if you’re working hard to make ends meet, you don’t deserve a family life.

“It’s what you’d expect from the Tories, but it’s disgraceful that the Liberal Democrats are backing it.”

A questionnaire by Sheffield Council found 40 per cent of respondents said not all their bedrooms were in use all the time.

Just more than half of people answering the survey said they were in receipt of housing benefit and 43 per cent of those people said that not all their bedrooms were occupied. Some 56 per cent of those receiving housing benefit said they would not be able to afford to stay in their current home if it was reduced.

The Government says it is unfair to keep providing large sums of housing benefit allowing people to live in a bigger home than they need.