Bedroom tax leaves one in nine families out of pocket
ONE in every nine people on housing benefit in Sefton has had their benefits cut by the bedroom tax, new figures have revealed.
There are 2,133 claimants across the borough losing some of the housing benefit they would otherwise receive because of the controversial tax.
The figures, published by the Government, show the situation as at February this year. It is the first time the full effect of the bedroom tax – introduced in 2013 – has been laid bare.
The bedroom tax is a cut in housing benefit that applies to people who live in a council or housing association home and are classed as having a spare bedroom.
The tax – officially known as the spare-room subsidy reduction – doesn’t apply to pensioners and those living in privately rented housing.
The data shows 11% of all housing benefit claimants in Sefton have faced a reduction because of the measure – although the proportion affected is even higher in some parts of Merseyside.
People in St Helens and Knowsley are the most affected by the bedroom tax, with 16% of claimants having their benefits cut – affecting thousands of people in both areas.
In Liverpool, the bedroom tax applied in 13% of cases, affecting 7,188 peo- ple, while in Sefton the figure was 11% and Wirral 10%.
On average, claimants across Merseyside who had their benefits reduced by the bedroom tax saw the amount they received cut by between £15 and £16 a week, the equivalent of more than £800 a year.
A Southport couple made national headlines after winning a stunning Supreme Court victory against the Government over the bedroom tax last year. Wheelchair user Jac- queline Carmichael, 44, spends most of her days in a hospital-style bed at home while husband Jayson, 54, has to sleep in another room.
But their housing benefit was slashed by £56 a month, after welfare inspectors ruled the couple had more bedrooms than necessary.
After a four-year legal battle, their case reached the Supreme Court where England’s most senior judges found their human rights had been breached.
Jayson and Charlotte Carmichael, from Southport, who won their Supreme Court fight over what they said was unfair imposition of the bedroom tax