Case shows why bedroom tax is unfair

MP's column
MP's column

LAST week I was drawn to ask another question to the Prime Minister.

I chose to raise the case of Darren Lugg, a disabled man from South Shields who is hit by the Coalition’s unfair bedroom tax.

Mr Lugg’s disability means he needs a specially-adapted bed and can’t share a room with his wife, but under the bedroom tax they are ruled as having a “spare room” and lose out on housing benefit.

David Cameron seemed to think that there was no problem, because discretionary housing payments were available to make up the shortfall. But these payments were only ever meant as a temporary solution.

People have to re-apply each time a payment expires, and the limited funding for the scheme means there is no guarantee their application will be accepted.

Labour will abolish the bedroom tax if elected in 2015.

Private sector rents have risen by more than £1,000 a year since 2010, and short-term tenancies and sudden rent rises mean tenants feel less secure than ever.

Nine million people live in private-rented housing, many of them young families, and these people are facing great uncertainty.

This kind of insecurity is bad for tenants and bad for communities.

That is why Ed Miliband has announced plans to reform the private-rented sector, to make rents more predictable, as well as banning rip-off fees from letting agents.