‘Bedroom Tax’ should be scrapped says United Nations investigator

LOCAL MP DELIGHTED WITH UN FINDINGS

Carmarthenshire Member of Parliament, Jonathan Edwards, has warmly welcomed the findings of United Nations investigator, Raquel Rolnik, who has called for the ‘bedroom tax’ to be abolished.

The call comes just weeks after the Plaid Cymru MP revealed local councils have faced a surge in applications for Discretionary Housing Payments to help cope with the cost of housing.

Raquel Rolnik, the UN special rapporteur on housing and a former planning minister in Brazil, visited council estates, food banks and homelessness crisis centres in various parts of the UK to look at the Government’s spare room subsidy.

Last month, Jonathan Edwards revealed that applications for discretionary housing payment in Carmarthenshire soared from 327 in the whole of 2012-13, to 534 in April and May 2013 – an increase of 63 per cent in just two months which he said was  a direct result of the bedroom tax policy.

Swansea Council received more applications in the first two months of 2013/14 (820 applications) compared to a total of 802 for the whole of 2012/13. 

Neath Port Talbot Council received 536 applications for support between April and June 2013, compared to a total of 561 for the whole of 2012/13.

Figures received from 21 of Wales’s 22 local councils show that more than 35,000 people in Wales have been affected by the UK Government’s bedroom tax.  In Carmarthenshire almost 2,000 (1,988) people have seen changes to their housing benefit entitlement since the policy was introduced.

In March this year Jonathan Edwards asked Carmarthenshire County Council and housing associations to consider, following the necessary legal advice, to reclassify its housing stock to smaller properties in order to mitigate the effects of this unjust and unworkable proposal.

Welcoming the comments of the United National investigator, Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“Plaid Cymru, alongside the SNP, have led the campaign in the Commons against this toxic policy that is targeting some of the most vulnerable people in the UK – many of them disabled.

“We have always said it is a deeply flawed proposal, in terms of principle and practice, as the Welsh housing stock simply doesn’t have enough smaller houses available for people to move into.

“Since being elected I have consistently called for legislation to cap rental costs as a far better way for the UK government to control the housing benefit bill.  

“As it stands, Plaid Cymru is the only elected Welsh political party that is 100 per cent committed to scrapping the policy.  We are delighted that the UN investigator agrees with this position.”

ENDS

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