New figures show effect of Bedroom Tax in Lancaster & Fleetwood

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Nearly 600 households in the Lancaster district and 400 people in Wyre have been hit by the Government’s Bedroom Tax, new figures show.

The figures, released on the first anniversary of the introduction of the charge, show that 581 households in Lancaster were affected by the tax between May and November last year, with 416 impacted in Wyre.

Yet a recent BBC survey suggested that just six per cent of those affected in the UK had been able to downsize to a smaller home.

Cat Smith, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said: “Labour has already pledged to scrap this cruel and unfair tax if we win the next General Election.

“The Bedroom Tax hits vulnerable people in the Lancaster district, some of whom are already really struggling to make ends meet and the Government’s own figures show that two-thirds of people affected nationally are disabled."

“The Conservative-led Government has known all along that there were not enough smaller homes for people to move to - its figures for how much the Bedroom Tax would raise were based upon people being hit by the tax and show it was always intended for use as a cash cow.

“But worse still, last month’s Budget shows the housing benefits bill is rising and will cost £1 billion more than thought over the next five years as people are forced to move to more expensive private rented homes by the Bedroom Tax and the shortage of affordable housing.”

Ms Smith added that Labour would fund its move to scrap the Bedroom Tax by reversing the Government’s recent tax cut for hedge funds and a shares for rights scheme which has opened up a tax loophole meaning lost revenue of £1 billion.

Separate constituency figures for Lancaster and Fleetwood show the number of households affected by the Bedroom Tax stood at 538 in May 2013.

By November 2013 that figure had reduced to just 460, suggesting few of those hit by the tax have been able to move house.

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