A Labour government will repeal the bedroom tax

Labour has said it will repeal the bedroom tax, a move which would make thousands of Dearne households better off.

The bedroom tax affects around 8,000 families in Rotherham and Barnsley, who have on average been paying up to £17 a week extra since April.

Wentworth & Dearne MP John Healey said: “People have contacted me because they’ve found they have to pay the bedroom tax when they are disabled and need another bedroom for equipment, a carer or respite for a spouse.

“I’ve also heard from parents with shared custody and children in the armed forces.

“The bedroom tax is unfair, has not been thought through and could end up costing more than it saves.

“It is hitting disabled and vulnerable people with an average bill of £720 a year through no fault of their own.

“The next Labour government will need to make tough choices on spending and we won’t borrow more to pay for social security. But we can and will do things differently.”

From April, housing benefit and Universal Credit claimants deemed to have one ‘spare’ bedroom in their council or housing association home have had their housing benefit cut by 14%, and 25% if there are two or more.

Nationally, 400,000 disabled people have been affected. Many have no choice about paying the bedroom tax because there is nowhere smaller to move into.

The cost of repealing the bedroom tax would be met through reversing a tax cut for hedge funds, scrapping the government’s shares for rights scheme and tackling disguised employment in the construction industry.

Labour will also help councils deal with under-occupation.