At the Cheshire East Council Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 14 October the Conservatives recognised, at last, the devastating effects of the Bedroom Tax in Cheshire East.
In a detailed response to a motion put forward by Labour Councillor Ken Edwards Cheshire East Council set out the negative effects of the “bedroom tax” on Cheshire East residents. The Cabinet unanimously demanded that a letter should be written to the Secretary of State for Welfare Iain Duncan Smith calling on him to modify the legislation to recognise that
- bedroom size needs to be specified,
- a child who stays in the home on a regular basis should be allowed a bedroom,
- couples who require separate bedrooms should not be penalised
- where medical equipment is required a separate bedroom should be available
- local planning authorities should be told to increase the provision of one and two bedroomed houses.
The Cabinet report shows in stark detail the distorting effect the bedroom tax has on local housing demand with a 30% increase in people demanding social housing and a 25% increase in property turnover.
Cllr Ken Edwards, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield Central, said, “I welcome this very thorough and detailed report and congratulate the officers in the Benefits Team in Cheshire East for the efforts they have made to give a comprehensive picture of the impact of the Bedroom Tax on local residents. I am grateful to Cllr. Peter Raynes, Cabinet Member for Finance, in supporting the demand for this investigation. The report cannot measure the heartache and disruption caused by forcing people to move, and/or reducing their already low incomes by cutting housing benefit. However the fact that the recommendations were unanimously approved by a Tory Cabinet must surely give government ministers pause for thought. I also welcome the decision to send the report to all local Members of Parliament. Sadly there was an opportunity recently to rectify some of the more damaging impacts of the Bedroom Tax but no Cheshire MPs took the opportunity of voting for the necessary changes.
“If they get another chance let us hope they will.”