Roger has tabled a Written Parliamentary Question to ask the Department for Work and Pensions how many people in his constituency have been affected by the latest bout of Coalition incompetence on benefits.
The Government’s failure to introduce full retrospective legislation when bringing in the bedroom tax left a legal loophole which makes a number of tenants exempt from this charge. Social housing tenants who have been living at the same address and claiming housing benefit continuously since 1 January 1996 were not legally obliged to pay the bedroom tax and should not have been charged.
It is estimated that between 4% and 15% of people forced to pay the bedroom tax were charged incorrectly, and will be able to claim reimbursement.
After tabling the question to DWP, Roger commented: “This is extremely embarrassing for the Government. How can people trust them to run the country if they can’t even legislate correctly to introduce their own policies? Yet for once the effects of Coalition incompetence will be positive, with thousands of people being repaid their bedroom tax payments.”
“However, this is really just a stay of execution. While some people will receive refunds of their bedroom tax payments, a much larger number will not. Those who are exempt are not likely to remain so for long, as the Coalition will soon close the loophole.”
“This reimbursement will not compensate people for the stress and worry inflicted by this policy or return people to homes they were forced to leave. Nor will it prevent further suffering being inflicted on ill, disabled or low-paid people by a Government addicted to cutting their support.”
Councils will not necessarily notify social housing tenants that they may be liable for reimbursement. If you think you might qualify for this exemption and have wrongly been charged, you will need to contact your local housing benefit office to find out. A template letter is available online at