Tenants quiz MP over bedroom tax
The bedroom tax has been brought in quickly and Crawley Borough Council (CBC) could find it hard to implement, Crawley MP Henry Smith admitted during a meeting with council tenants.
A meeting was organised by the Crawley Independent Tenants Association (ITA) on Friday (February 15) to discuss the new bedroom tax with Mr Smith.
The new law will come into place in April 2013 and will force some council tenants with spare rooms to downsize or receive a lower benefit.
A member of the ITA estimated about 100 people attended the meeting at St John’s Hall, in The Broadway. They quizzed Mr Smith on why he voted in favour of the new welfare reform.
Mr Smith said that during the meeting he admitted the council was likely to find it difficult to implement the new law.
He said : “The local authority, who has to administer this, has been brought in fairly quickly and I do have some concerns about their ability to administer it in a short period of time.
“There is a concern that there is a degree of lack of knowledge about what all the reforms mean so that’s one of the messages I need to get back to government.”
A council spokesperson said: “We do not have any say on the timing of implementation [of this reform]. The changes do not introduce a tax, but a reduction in the amount of Housing Benefit that will be paid. These under-occupancy rules have applied to private sector tenants for many years.
“Ultimately, anyone not paying their rent will be evicted. However, we always try to work with tenants and urge anyone getting into financial difficulties to contact their landlord as soon as possible.”
Mr Smith made it clear he felt the bedroom tax was necessary to alleviate the issue of the growing social housing waiting list. He said: “There’s an estimated million spare bedrooms around the country and it’s unfair for young families in over crowded accommodation not to be able to get stable accommodation.”
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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