Earlier today, Stephen went on the Daily Politics programme to discuss the government's bedroom tax policy with Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke after research conducted by the BBC revealed the policy was placing thousands into rent arrears.

The BBC's research suggests that around 6% of social housing tenants in Britain affected by the bedroom tax have actually moved home. Worryingly, the research also found that 28% of affected tenants were in rent arrears for the first time. 

Stephen pointed out that the policy, which is designed to require social housing tenants with spare rooms to downsize, is "not working" and is a "very unfair policy"  that may actually cost the taxpayer more overall. Stephen remarked "what we don't know is where those 6% have gone to. I think that some of them have gone into private rented accommodation where the rent is much higher and that rent will be paid by housing benefit so it is perfectly possible, as the University of York has suggested, that this policy will end up costing more overall than it has saved."

Stephen went on to say "it is very unfair to penalise people if there is nowhere smaller for them to move to. That is the problem in so many places, there just isn't anywhere smaller. That is why the proportion that's moved is so small and they are simply just getting a fine because the government has decided where they live is inappropriate for them...if there isn't anywhere smaller to move to, it is grossly unfair just to clobber them with a tax"

Stephen went on to explain that if elected in 2015, the next Labour government "certainly will abolish it".

You can watch the discussion on the Daily Politics by clicking here

AuthorStephen Timms