Crawley Borough Council will be asked for a second time to call on the Government to reverse recent housing benefit changes.
At a meeting of the full council on Wednesday (October 23), the town’s Labour group will re-table a Notice of Motion (NoM) regarding the ‘bedroom tax’ which the group first presented – and lost – in April.
Under council rules a NoM cannot be re-submitted for a period of six months. That time passed soon after Labour Leader Ed Miliband vowed to scrap the unpopular changes should the party gain power at the next election.
Explaining the decision to re-table the NoM, Cllr Stephen Joyce (Lab, Langley Green & Gatwick) said: “We’re bringing it back because Ed Miliband will overrule the changes at the soonest opportunity and we thought we would ask the Conservatives to look at it again.
“It’s not saving the money they thought it would save, it’s causing a lot of trouble and, in Crawley, we do not have the smaller properties we need for people wanting to downsize.
“It’s not right and it’s not fair. We’ve asked the Conservatives a few times if they’ve gone and spoken to the Government about this and they don’t seem to think it’s their place to do so.
“We’re bringing this in and hoping for the best and we’re hoping to get a bit of conscience out of them.”
Cllr Richard Burrett, Cabinet member for housing, said nothing had changed since April which would be likely to lead to support from the Conservatives for the NoM.
He added: “We do not feel that it is appropriate for the council to call on the Government to reverse the changes to housing benefit as we feel that in the current economic climate it is wrong for the public purse to be subsidising the cost of under-occupied social housing.”
He said it would not be appropriate to “reclassify” the number of bedrooms in a property and stressed the council had already stated eviction would be a last resort should tenants fall into arrears.
The meeting will start at 7.30pm in the town hall. All are welcome to attend.