Tenants to be hit by bedroom tax

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Following two annual rent increases of more than double the rate of inflation, Barnsley Council house tenants who claim housing benefits are to be hit with yet another blow to their pockets; the bedroom tax.

Council house and housing association tenants in receipt of housing benefits are to have them reduced if their home has an unused bedroom.

Claimant couples and single tenants living in a two-bedroom property will have their benefits reduced by 14 per cent (approximately £44 per month) as of April 2013. Claimant tenants of properties with two unoccupied bedrooms will be hit with a 25pc (approximately £88 per month) reduction in housing benefits.

This is yet another attack on the poorest people in our society by the Tory-LibDem coalition government.

Whilst David Cameron momentarily hits the headlines with his plans for a future Tory government to abolish housing benefits for the under 25s, which will have been forgotten about and hidden in the small print come the next election, this outrageous and discriminatory review of welfare benefits is already under way with Nick Clegg’s support.

And what is the advice from Barnsley’s Labour Council for people who find themselves in the firing line? Look for alternative accommodation or, if you wish to stay in your present home, you will have to make up the shortfall in benefits.

Where are people in need of benefits going to find such a shortfall? And where will they find ‘alternative accommodation’?

Perhaps there is an abundance of vacant bedsits and one-bedroom flats.

Or perhaps a programme of ‘affordable housing’ is planned, including the building of back-to-back hovels for the poor that were abolished in 1864.

Our poorest and most vulnerable people are being systematically targeted by the coalition Government to pay for the country’s financial deficit whilst they award tax cuts to the wealthy elite on top of their obscene multi-million pound pay rises and bonuses.

These people own many properties with multiple bedrooms but will they be penalised for their under use?

This policy review along with other attacks on the unemployed, the low paid, the sick, the disabled and the disadvantaged will result in further dispossession, greater deprivation and an increase in homelessness. This is nothing more than cynical social engineering.

All this whilst our attention is being nicely deflected by the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the European football championship and the Olympics; which couldn’t have been timed better to hide this government’s grotesque and odious administration.

Mick Drewry, Don View, Dunford Bridge, Sheffield S36