Emma stood up in the House of Commons to ask:
“In South Tyneside there are 1,026 households currently living in two-bedroom properties who are affected by the Bedroom Tax, but just 122 one-bedroom homes are available – more than eight households per vacancy. How can the Minister justify a policy that punishes tenants for under-occupancy when the vast majority are simply unable to move?”
Mr Prisk was unable to offer a real answer, and avoided Emma’s point in his reply.
During her by-election campaign in May Emma gave South Shields residents the chance to choose her fifth election pledge, and the Bedroom Tax was overwhelmingly chosen as people’s biggest concern.
The National Housing Federation estimates that South Shields is one of the ten areas worst hit by the Tax, which came into effect this April. South Tyneside as a whole is expected to be the borough most affected. Shields residents who are claimed to be under-occupying their homes by one bedroom will lose out by an average of £624 a year, while those who have two or more spare rooms could lose as much as £1142.
“The Government’s unfair Bedroom Tax is pushing thousands of people across the country into arrears, and the situation in Shields is one of the worst in the UK. There are simply not enough one-bedroom homes to go around, and so the vast majority of tenants are stuck paying the tax even if they are trying hard to downsize to smaller accommodation.”
“This is another attack on vulnerable people by an uncaring Tory-led Government. The council estimates that as many as 30% of people affected by the bedroom tax are disabled, while many other residents will see their incomes slashed through no fault of their own.”