STEPHEN HEPBURN: Bedroom tax hurts the most vulnerable

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We all know that the upper ranks of the Tory Party are made up of ex-members of the notoriously snobby Bullingdon Club.

Those such as David Cameron and two other Tory chaps, George Osborne and Boris Johnson, who are now tussling to succeed him as if the Prime Ministership of our country was a bottle of expensive port to be passed around at one of their posh riotous dinners, now run our country!

Bullingdon Club bashes often ended with the restaurant trashed and the damage paid for by wealthy daddies.

So I wondered if on one of these distasteful evenings Little Lord Fauntledave and his cronies first came up with a tax so unfair, so indecent, it must be the product of the privileged few intent on causing maximum harm to people who deserve better treatment. In South Tyneside alone 3,000 families and households were clobbered by the bedroom tax, losing up to a quarter of financial help with their rent because they were deemed to have an extra bedroom or two.

Hardest hit are parents with disabled children or couples including a disabled partner with no mercy shown even when the council doesn’t have a smaller place for them to move into.

The threat of Labour opposition saved pensioners from higher charges or notices to move yet it makes me sick the Tories clobbered vulnerable working people at the very same time as they resisted a mansion tax on homes worth upwards of £2m to fund the NHS.

Barely a day goes by without grim headlines about yet another family facing heartache and pain because of the hated Bedroom Tax.

Families evicted, made homeless or facing deprivation.

A grieving mother was driven to take her own life after facing eviction due to the Bedroom Tax, leaving a note pointing the finger firmly at the door of the Tories.

She’d written a plea to David Cameron. Did he listen? I think you know the answer.

Cameron’s Bedroom Tax symbolises everything that’s rotten with this wicked Government – cutting taxes for the rich while taking money from the poor and the disabled.

The Court of Appeal ruled that this unfair tax discriminates against the disabled and victims of domestic violence.

We heard how a domestic violence victim is forced to pay the bedroom tax on a panic room in her home installed by the police.

Unbelievably, the shameless Tories are squandering our money fighting the ruling in the Supreme Court.

Rather than listening to the public, MPs and a court the Tories waste cash defending the indefensible.

We were told by the Tories the Bedroom Tax would free loads of bigger houses for other families. Yet axeman Iain Duncan Smith’s own Department for Work and Pensions found that just one-in-nine of those hit are able to move to a smaller property.

And it discovered three-in-four charged had to cut back on food. So no wonder there has been a 400 percent increase in the use of food banks locally!

This is a Government hell-bent on making problems even worse.

Chancer of the Exchequer George Osborne slashing spending on tenants with special needs in social housing threatens the loss of 82,000 homes from April.

The official government sop of providing “discretionary payments” is a sick smokescreen as we saw with the Bedroom Tax, fewer than a quarter of the victims receiving assistance.

Everybody should be entitled to a roof over their head without worrying they might not be able to afford to eat or an unwanted knock on the door will be a bailiff kicking them onto the street.

Home ownership is down under these Tories and rents and homelessness are on the rise.

What is a game to those sons of privilege Cameron, Osborne and Johnson is misery for their victims.

Labour wants decent homes for decent people at prices they can buy and rent.

The Bedroom Tax is an abomination. Enough is enough. Let’s intensify the fight against the Tories.