PM should drop the Bedroom Tax


Over 13,000 households in Birmingham will be hit by the government’s new Bedroom Tax.

New figures released by the National Housing Federation this week estimate that 13,315 households in Birmingham – including 1,375 here in the Birmingham Northfield constituency – will be affected when the tax starts in April.

People who receive housing benefit, living in council or housing association homes with a spare bedroom, will either have to pay around £600 more a year or risk being forced to move homes.

We do need welfare reform – but we need sensible reform not schemes like this which are both unfair and won’t even work.

Ministers claim they are trying to solve under-occupancy but David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith have been forced to admit that it is impossible for their plans to work because there aren’t enough smaller homes for families to move to. They know this policy won’t work – but they plough on regardless.

Across the country we are finding countless situations where the Bedroom Tax will hit soldiers, foster parents and pensioners in mixed age couples. Two thirds of the families affected are home to someone with a disability.

The scheme is now so chaotic it could actually end up costing more than it saves. If families are made homeless or pushed into expensive private rented accommodation the tax payer could actually be left with a higher bill – and still the problem of under occupancy will not be solved.

This government is offering only chaos and confusion.

And on the same day they plan to hit over 13,000 Birmingham households with the Bedroom Tax, they will be giving millionaires a tax cut. How can that be right?

It’s clearly not. The Prime Minister should admit he has got this horribly wrong and think again – before it’s too late.

Will you join me in calling on the Prime Minister to drop the Bedroom Tax online here?

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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