200 rehoused due to ‘bedroom tax’

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More than 200 people have been rehoused one year after the ‘bedroom tax’ was brought into force, Kirklees housing officials have revealed.

Simon Rogers, chief executive of Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH), said 210 social housing tenants have been rehomed after being ruled to have been under-occupying their homes.

The housing benefit cut, also known as the under-occupancy charge, has affected 1,867 Kirklees residents. Occupiers have lost between 14 per cent and 25 per cent of their support, depending on how many bedrooms are deemed to be ‘spare’.

In answer to a question in the Kirklees Federation of Tenants and Residents’ Associations newsletter, Mr Rogers said they had found new homes for 117 people under occupying by two or more rooms and 93 who had one bedroom too many.

He said: “In total 90 empty three beds and 27 empty four beds have been generated through Homefit [KNH’s home downsizing service] and 11 empty three beds from tenants who were under occupying by one bed. In the same period we have also rehoused 20 tenants downsizing from a four bed to a three bed.”

He said that houses with three bedrooms had attracted an especially large interest from those wanting to downsize.

Paula Sherriff, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Dewsbury and Mirfield, said: “A year on from the government’s introduction of the hated and cruel Bedroom Tax and we can see the impact it’s had locally.

“More than 200 people have had their lives uprooted and been moved, but many more are having to pay the bedroom tax with no smaller homes available for them to move, or because they have special care needs which necessitate having a spare room.”

Miss Sherriff supports Labour leader Ed Miliband’s pledge to scrap the charge if Labour win the 2015 general election.