Councillor Kevin Price, a Councillor for Kings Hedges and Labour’s Lead on Housing at Cambridge City Council, has urged City-based social housing tenants affected by the government’s bedroom tax to check if they might be exempt after details emerged of a major blunder by the Department of Work and Pensions . The blunder means that thousands of tenants across the UK, and possibly dozens in Cambridge, have been wrongly identified as liable for the tax since April 2013.
Councillor Price said: “We have opposed this policy from the start as hitting tenants unfairly but now it is clear that some should never have been told they either had to pay up or move. The simple fact is that anyone of working age who has been in the same property since 1996 and receiving Housing Benefit
since that date cannot have that benefit changed as they are protected under regulations agreed in 1996. The DWP overlooked this but have now issued guidance to councils which accepts this is the case.”
“The bedroom tax has now descended into a farce but it is one which has cost real heartache, worry and money for hundreds of tenants in Cambridge. I have already asked the City Council to take every route possible to identify anyone wrongly hit with the bedroom tax, including anyone who has had to move without cause . We have a responsibility to our own tenants to act on this and to make sure Housing Associations also tell their tenants. Anyone who is exempt can claim back any money wrongly paid, be reinstated with the amount of Housing Benefit they had had removed and – most importantly – be secure once again in their home. I urge anyone who thinks they might be exempt to get in touch with the City Council as well.”