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Bedroom tax fiasco: 124 Westminster families owed £700 each

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Bedroom tax fiasco: 124 Westminster families owed £700 each

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Housing

Westminster Westminster

A total of 124 families living in social housing in Westminster are owed £700 each after wrongly being hit with the government's bedroom tax.

Coalition ministers bungled when drafting the controversial under-occupancy policy by failing to spot legislation that exempts tenants who have been constantly claiming housing benefit from the same residence since 1996 from paying the tax.

Westminster Council officers told councillors: “In January 2014, the Department for Work and Pensions announced that tenants whose tenancy commenced before 1 January 1996 and have received HB continuously should not be affected by the under occupation cap. Analysis confirms that there are 124 under occupation cap cases that qualify for the '1996' exemption. The benefits team are now organising their re-assessment.”

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the Labour Group, said: “This huge government bungle has cost 124 of the most vulnerable families in Westminster over £700 each, some of whom are now in rent arrears or have had to cut down on essentials in order to pay the new tax. The bedroom tax has caused nothing but misery and the sooner it is scrapped the better."

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