Jo Stevens

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It’s time the bedroom tax was binned

It’s time the bedroom tax was binned.

Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament today, I spoke about the impact the Conservative and Liberal Democrat bedroom tax policy is having in Cardiff Central and across Wales.

The debate today comes on the back of the Government’s recent court defeat where the Court of Appeal found that the bedroom tax discriminates against victims of rape and domestic violence and the families of severely disabled children.

I highlighted how the bedroom tax has had a huge impact across Wales, proportionally disadvantaging more housing benefit claimants in Wales than anywhere else in Great Britain with 46% of claimants impacted compared with 31% for the UK as a whole. Across the whole of Cardiff, 3015 households are bedroom tax victims, costing each household £3,500 during the course of this Parliament.

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I criticised the Ministers' justification for the impact of the bedroom tax through discretionary housing payments (DHP) to help those who are struggling to pay since at the same time the Government have cut the amount of DHP available in Cardiff by over 26% in twelve months.

Households with disabled tenants, having to pay bedroom tax, which cannot be offset through DHP when DHP funding has been cut, simply doesn’t add up. It’s another example of the Government’s policy hitting those who can least afford it, the most.

We now have a farcical situation where the government has appealed that decision and the legal costs of pursuing the appeal are likely to be greater than the amount it would cost them to exempt all those paying bedroom tax who are victims of rape and domestic violence with panic rooms. The Government would rather pay the money to lawyers than to rape victims.

The bedroom tax is an unfair, ill planned disaster that is hurting our poorest families. It doesn’t work, it causes severe hardship and it hits the most vulnerable. The Government need to listen to the public, it is time for the bedroom tax to be binned.

You can watch my speech here

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