Friday, 28 April 2017

Clegg insists bedroom tax will cut under-occupation

The deputy prime minister has insisted penalties for the under-occupation of social housing will help to address the shortage of homes.

Responding to questions in parliament from Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman yesterday, Nick Clegg said: ‘It does not make sense to have a benefits system that continues to support this mismatch between people needing places to live and empty bedrooms, and that is what we are trying to address.’

Under the government’s penalties for under-occupation of social housing, widely known as the ‘bedroom tax’, working-age social tenants on housing benefit who are deemed to have spare rooms will have their payments cut.

Ms Harman said the policy will not tackle under-occupation because there are not enough smaller homes for people to move into.

‘This policy will not address the problem of under-occupation unless there are places for people to move to. It is the saving of public money by making people on low incomes worse off,’ she said.

Housing minister Mark Prisk was also quizzed on overcrowding and under-occupation in parliament this week.

Responding to a written question from Labour’s shadow work and pensions minister Stephen Timms, he said tackling under-occupation in the social rented sector would help to cut the 249,000 English households in social housing that are overcrowded.

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