Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, revealed figures showing that the controversial and disliked Bedroom Tax has led to a huge hike in the benefits bill as the amount of Housing Benefit handed over to private landlords is in line to rise from £7.9 billion to £9.4 billion per annum across the UK.
Tom said today (27th August 2013):
“These figures have not been plucked out of thin air, but through thorough research by the House of Commons Library, which proves the existence of this £1.5 billion increase, a rate of increase expected to last for another three years at least.
“Despite the hyperbole of ‘economic recovery’, the truth is that in the Tories’ low-wage, high-rent Britain, housing benefit has risen rather than fallen, with the biggest pressure coming from working people needing help with housing costs. The Tory-led Coalition said it would cut the welfare bill but housing benefit costs have risen sharply as private landlords have pushed up rents faced with increasing demand from prospective tenants, not least from former tenants of social landlords.
“Put simply, the Bedroom Tax, now into its six month, docks the housing benefit of anyone living in a council house with a spare bedroom. Families either have to pay at least £14 a week more or find alternative accommodation and that usually means private letting – and often in houses of worse quality than the ones families have had to vacate.
“The problem is steadily getting worse – there are now 5,072,264 people in the UK claiming housing benefit, a rise of more than 40,000 on this time last year.
“These are the economics of the madhouse. It is no wonder that this Bank Holiday weekend saw thousands of people taking part in overnight ‘sleep-outs’ on the pavements of our towns and cities in protest against this hated Tax.”