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William Hague defends 'bedroom tax' move
A GRANDFATHER has challenged William Hague to press his Cabinet colleagues to axe the so-called 'bedroom tax'.
Peter Lovell, who works in finance recovery, and his farm worker son, Billy, told the Richmondshire MP that cutting benefits for people with a spare room would hit society’s most vulnerable people.
During a meeting with the Foreign Secretary in Northallerton, the Lovells said they had spoken to many people who faced paying £728 extra a year due to having spare bedrooms in council or housing association homes.
It has been estimated the move will see 660,000 working age people, about a third of social sector claimants, having their benefits cut, when it comes into effect next month.
Peter Lovell said he had been told by families living below the poverty threshold how the “immoral” tax would force them to go to unauthorised loan sharks and payday loan firms.
Mr Lovell, of Northallerton, said: “The Government should immediately abolish the bedroom tax. It is an unfair and unjustified, discriminating and degrading tax levied on the poor, sick, disabled and vulnerable.”
Mr Hague said while he understood the concerns about the changes to welfare rules, he thought it was unacceptable for the Government to subsidise people to live in accommodation too big for their needs.
He said with 250,000 social housing tenants living in overcrowded accommodation and more than two million people on waiting lists, action was needed.
Mr Hague said: “By ensuring that housing support is based on the need of a household, the Government is bringing the social housing sector in line with the private rented sector and making the most efficient use of our available houses.”
He said it was crucial that pensioners, foster carers and service personnel who live their parents would be exempt, as well as those in supported exempt accommodation.
He said provisions had also been made to accommodate carers who may need to stay overnight in a property from time to time and where a child’s disability means that they cannot share a bedroom, families will be allowed to keep their spare room.