Nottingham City Council signs up to fight 'bedroom tax'
IN an attempt to fight the Government's housing benefit cut – dubbed the "bedroom tax" – Nottingham City Council has started a petition calling on the policy to be scrapped.
One week after it was launched, more than 750 people have already signed.
Nottingham North MP Graham Allen said he expected many more would sign up once they were aware of the impact of the changes.
He added: "The letters informing people are starting to drop on to doormats and I imagine thousands will be wanting to sign the petition.
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"The Government should listen to the council and the housing associations, housing charities and organisations including the National Housing Federation, who have all expressed serious concerns about these changes.
"The Government is punishing vulnerable people for housing choices over which they have little control and forcing them into temporary accommodation that will not provide the stability and security households need."
The Meadows councillor Michael Edwards said: "We're trying to get people the support they need before the changes come in, but this is a damaging policy for the vulnerable and disabled people and we need to fight it."
If tenants are believed to be "under-occupying" their property by one room, the amount of rent eligible for housing benefit will be cut by 14 per cent.
If they have two or more spare rooms, it will be cut by a quarter.
The Government has given the city council money to alleviate the impact of this scheme – £274,000 this year and £696,000 next year – but the authority has said is not enough to help all affected households and may not continue beyond next year.
The scheme is concerning residents like Kate Davies, 48, who has lived in her two-bedroom house in Lenton for two decades but says she may have to move somewhere smaller.
She lives on her own but her son Benjamin Davies-Harrison, 27, who is in the RAF, stays in the spare room for long periods.
Kate said: "If I move to a one-bedroom home he'll have to sleep on the floor.
"He's away in America at the moment and stays at the barracks when he's back.
"But he gets long breaks and comes home."
Kate, a full-time carer for her aunt, who lives nearby, fears having to move away from the area.
She said: "It's worrying. With the bedroom tax I can't afford to stay where I am."