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DWP dramatically underestimates 'pre-1996' bedroom tax exemptions

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DWP dramatically underestimates 'pre-1996' bedroom tax exemptions

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government

DWP dramatically underestimates 'pre-1996' bedroom tax exemptions DWP dramatically underestimates 'pre-1996' bedroom tax exemptions

The Department for Work and Pensions has dramatically underestimated the number of people entitled to refunds due to 'pre-1996' bedroom tax exemptions, according to figures published by local authorities.

The DWP says nationally "less than 5,000" residents are affected by an oversight made by the department when drawing up regulations for the controversial under-occupation penalty.

But today Liverpool City Council revealed 1,600 residents are eligible for refunds while Wigan council put their figure at 350. This follows announcements made earlier this week by Birmingham City Council (2,000), Sheffield (500) Wirral (600) and Westminster (124).

The total figure from these six councils alone puts the number of exempt residents at 4,824 with dozens more local authorities still to reveal details for their areas.

The DWP, meanwhile, said new regulations amending the oversight would be in place by March 3.

Benefits expert Joe Halewood, who estimated that around 40,000 residents would be entitled to refunds when the DWP's mistake was revealed, says he may now have underestimated the figure.

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