Tuesday, 01 December 2015

Cameron defends ‘bedroom tax’ penalties

The prime minister has defended his government’s ‘bedroom tax’ after a Labour MP said it would leave members of the armed forces without a place to stay in their family home.

During prime minister’s questions yesterday Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth and a former housing minister, asked David Cameron:

‘Is it right that a mother in my constituency may not, because of the prime minister’s bedroom tax – and as confirmed by his minister – be able offer her son, serving in Her Majesty’s armed forces, either a home or a bedroom on his return from duty?’

Under the ‘bedroom tax’ working age housing benefit recipients who are in social housing will have their payments cut if they have one or more spare rooms.

Mr Cameron replied that he would ‘look at the case’ but defended the reasoning behind the reforms.

‘There are many people in private rented accommodation who do not have housing benefit and cannot afford extra bedrooms,’ he said. ‘We have to get control of housing benefit. We are now spending, as a country, £23 billion on housing benefit, and we have to get that budget under control.’

Another Labour MP, member for Wrexham Ian Lucas, also raised the case of one of his constituents during the debate.

He said the man is ‘severely disabled and has medical need for an extra room in his home’ but faces a cut of £676 a year.

Mr Cameron replied: ‘We have put in place a £30 million discretionary fund to help in particular cases such as the one that he raises, but we do have an overall situation where the housing benefit budget is now £23 billion.’

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