Friday, 28 August 2015

Former prime minister attacks bedroom tax

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has waded into a debate on the bedroom tax.

He hailed the penalty for people who are deemed to have a spare room a ‘devastating indictment of the damage being done to family life’.

A report by Fife Housing Association in his constituency found that one in five of its tenants will be affected by the bedroom tax. It said it is particularly concerned about vulnerable tenants, many with serious health problems, who are already struggling financially and have no immediate and affordable alternatives.

The association said it is ‘utterly shocked by the terms of the bedroom tax and also by the limited exemptions’ – even after the exceptions agreed for armed forces personnel and foster parents last week.

It also said that 25 per cent of its tenants who are affected will not be able to downsize because there are no smaller properties available in the area.

Mr Brown said: ‘I have said [the bedroom tax] should be abandoned and if not, further concessions should be made to people unable to pay and unable to move home.

‘The needs of the disabled have not been fully taken into account.

‘This has been an arbitrary, ill thought-out imposition upon the people who can ill afford to lose housing benefit.’

Mr Brown said he has worked with Fife Council to set up an advice hotline for people who will be affected.

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