Thursday, 11 February 2016

People 'should work more' to pay bedroom tax

People affected by the bedroom tax should work extra hours to pay for their spare room if they want to keep it, a Liberal Democrat minister has said.

Steve Webb, the pensions minister, told the BBC’s Radio 4 programme that more than 100,000 people affected by the policy are in work.

He said: ‘So they could, for example, work a bit more and simply pay the shortfall.

‘We’re talking on average £14 or £15 a week. So three hours at the minimum wage would pay the shortfall then he can keep the spare bedroom and have someone to stay.

‘The issue of an extra shift, a bit of overtime, to pay that shortfall, if it really matters to have that spare room - and I entirely understand that it will, for a family in that situation - making up the shortfall through working extra hours will be one of the options. But there may be others.’

Under the bedroom tax, social housing tenants of working age deemed to be underoccupying will be docked housing benefit from 1 April. Tenants with one spare room will lose £14 a week on average while those with two or more spare rooms will have £25 a week deducted.

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