Bassetlaw: Bedroom Tax error could see refunds made

Social housing tenants in Bassetlaw could be set for a refund after a blunder was uncovered with the controversial Bedroom Tax.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 15th January 2014, 7:28 am

Bassetlaw Council is currently checking through Housing Benefit claims searching for anyone who could be eligible for a refund.

It has currently found three per cent of residents are due a refund but still has hundreds of claims to manually check. The council will write to all those eligible.

Around 1,150 residents have been hit by the controversial tariff since its introduction in April last year.

It sees benefit reductions of up to 25 per cent for working age social housing tenants who are deemed to have more bedrooms than they need.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced that an error when drafting the legislation means that some residents could be due a refund.

The error affects working age tenants in social housing who have occupied the same home continuously since 1st January 1996. The refunds are worth on average £640.

Bassetlaw MP John Mann said: “The bedroom tax was introduced by this out-of-touch Government of millionaires who are victimising some of the most vulnerable people in the country. It is morally wrong, and the next Labour Government will scrap it.”

“Now it has emerged that as well as being morally bankrupt, the Department of Work and Pensions is even more incompetent than we previously imagined.”

“This incompetence has caused additional misery to people who should not have even been made to pay the tax.”

Your questions answered on the loophole by Bassetlaw Council.

Q)I think I might be affected by the loophole’, what do I need to do?

A)Nothing at the moment. The council is manually checking its records in order to identify those affected. The council will write to you if you are eligible for an increase in Housing Benefit entitlement.

Q) Will I be exempt from the Bedroom Tax in future?

A) If you are affected by the loophole in the legislation then you will be exempt from the Bedroom Tax until the legislation changes.

Q) What will happen to the loophole?

A)The DWP have stated that they will be ‘taking steps to remedy this shortly.’ In other words they will be working to close the loophole as soon as possible.

Q)Will the council really contact me if I am owed money?

A) Absolutely. The council will write to all affected residents notifying them if they are eligible for an increase in Housing Benefit entitlement.