City's Housing Chief asks Julian Huppert to apologise to bedroom tax victims
Councillor Kevin Price, the Executive Councillor for Housing at Cambridge City Council, has slammed the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, Julian Huppert, over the bedroom tax saying he is crying crocodile tears and should be apologising to tenants for the stress and worry caused over the last two years.
Speaking ahead of the vote in Parliament on Friday 5 September on the private member's Affordable Homes Bill proposed by Liberal Democrat Andrew George, which seeks to modify part of the bedroom tax, also called the Spare Room Subsidy, Councillor Price said: "Julian Huppert has voted for the bedroom tax time and time again despite being told many times it would have a devastating impact on some in Cambridge and that there were insufficient homes for people to downsize to. All he has done so far in Westminster is make empty gestures and political posturing whilst in Cambridge hundreds of residents have been put through stress and worry over the last two years."
"Even now he cannot face up to the fact that the only real answer is to abolish the Act not amend it. It is unfair and it is unworkable and it actually costs more money than it was supposed to save. So far only about 5% of tenants affected in Cambridge have been able to move and many are now in arrears. Meanwhile tenants have the constant threat over their heads of losing their homes. It really is about time he stopped crying crocodile tears over something he made happen and thought about simply saying sorry and helping end the whole thing."
Cllrs'. Kevin Price, Kevin Blencowe and Gerri Bird (The people's favourite Mayor).
Cllr Kevin Price, Executive Councillor for Housing: 07964 280689
Notes for Editors:
The Spare Room Subsidy, commonly called the bedroom tax, came into effect in April 2012. It removes housing benefit of between £14 - £30 a week from working age tenants held to be under-occupying social rented homes. In Cambridge some 800 tenancies, mainly City Homes council tenants, were affected. Arrears due to the bedroom tax are about £36,000 and only 5% of those affected have managed to downsize (which reflects the national picture). The Council has used some 80% of its Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) for temporary support for tenants affected by the bedroom tax though DHP was also intended to support private sector tenancies by making up the Local Housing Allowance and also those affected by the welfare cap.
The Affordable Homes Bill proposes some exemptions for those with disabilities or where there is no alternative accommodation available to be offered.
The Labour Party has pledged to repeal the Act if they win the General Election in May 2015, but may support the Private Member's Bill to try and help alleviate the current impact on up to 600,000 tenants nationwide.
Questions to Cllr Ashley Walsh, Cambridge Labour Press Officer: 07853 148957