Penarth MP Stephen Doughty calls for 'bedroom tax' to be scrapped
11:11am Friday 18th October 2013 in Penarth news
PENARTH MP Stephen Doughty has called for the Government’s ‘bedroom tax’ to be scrapped and said that people in Cardiff South and Penarth are falling into arrears and debt as a direct result of it.
His comments follow the publication of a report by the Welsh Affairs Committee on Thursday, October 17, on ‘The impact of changes to housing benefit in Wales’.
The committee examined two specific policies – the changes related to under-occupancy in the social rented sector, and the move to ‘direct payment’ of housing benefit under Universal Credit.
The inquiry focused on the immediate impact of the reforms in Wales, and Mr Doughty - who is a member of the cross-party Welsh Affairs Committee - said:
“We all want to see the benefit bill come down - but the ‘bedroom tax’ is harming people in my constituency and across Wales. In fact our report shows that Wales is disproportionately affected compared with the rest of Britain - and this is certainly what I see across Penarth, Cardiff and the Vale.
“It’s creating huge problems for tenants, who are falling into rent arrears and debt as they struggle to pay the extra costs and still make ends meet.
“I’ve heard from many constituents who are in debt for the first time because of this change. “Foodbanks are also reporting a massive surge in requests for help - much of which is due to these ill-thought-through reforms. And this is affecting people both in work on low incomes, and those struggling to find a job in the current economy.
“Many people would accept a move to a smaller home – but there simply aren’t smaller homes available out there.
“We need to reform our benefits system and bring the bill down - but I believe the bedroom tax is neither fair nor will it bring down the costs as the government has claimed.
“I am proud Labour has pledged to repeal this terrible policy, and our cross-party report today only serves to expose the failings in the government approach and the impact on Wales.”