Published: 03/03/2013 14:00 - Updated: 01/03/2013 17:22

MP criticises housing benefits bedroom tax

BY CARL MUNGAZI
Luton South MP Gavin Shuker Luton South MP Gavin Shuker

Reducing benefits of people in under-occupied social housing has been branded as ‘disgraceful’ by an MP.

Gavin Shuker, the Luton South MP, has attacked the ‘bedroom tax’ which is set to affect 1,136 households in the town.

From April 1 residents in homes under-occupied by one room will lose 14 per cent of their housing benefit, and 25 per cent if they are in homes under-occupied by two rooms.

The changes are part of the Government’s plans to cut expenditure on welfare.

But Mr Shuker, pictured, has said the measure is the wrong way to tackle the cost of welfare.

He said: “This is a particularly disgraceful approach by this Tory-led government, because the bedroom tax is quite clearly an attack on some of the poorest people across the country.”

Mr Shuker also expressed concern that the areas in the town which will be hit were ones with high levels of child poverty.

He added: “I have already had a number of families come to my surgery in absolute despair about either how they are going to afford to make up the cost, or face uprooting their lives because there is nowhere in Luton to downsize to.

“The real life stories of this tax are heartbreaking. The government is failing to listen to people in very vulnerable situations.

“While I know that we need to bring down the cost of welfare, this is not the way to do it. The only way we will achieve this is by getting more people off benefits and into work.”

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