Bedroom tax “callous, reckless and heartless” John tells Commons

John Healey has signed a motion and spoken in Parliament against the bedroom tax.

Speaking yesterday in a debate on Housing Benefit (Under-occupancy Penalty), he described the tax as “callous, reckless and heartless.”

The Wentworth and Dearne MP also said the discretionary payments fund was far too small.

“The National Housing Federation says that £50 million will help make up the shortfall for only 73,000 disabled people, leaving more than half of those on disability living allowance who are affected without any support at all,” he said.

Mr Healey has also signed Early Day Motion 984 which warns the bedroom tax will:

– hit the poor, vulnerable and disabled hardest

– unfairly penalise parents with children serving in the armed forces

– take no account of those who need specialist home care

– disrupt the lives of children in joint custody of divorced or separated parent

The government changes mean housing benefit will be cut for people deemed to have spare bedrooms.

Mr Healey has been contacted by a number of constituents reluctant to move and unable to meet the shortfall. He has helped some apply for a discretionary payment.

Nearly 20,000 people in South Yorkshire will be hit and will be £12 a week worse off on average if they are unable to downsize.

Mr Healey is concerned that this will push local people into debt and even if they want to move, there simply won’t be enough smaller properties to meet demand.

Housing benefit can be paid to working households on low incomes who need help to pay rent.

The changes are due to come into effect in April.