Exeter Green Party is urging the Labour controlled city council to refuse to evict tenants who are unable to pay what has become known as the Bedroom Tax when it is introduced in April.
Green Party-controlled Brighton and Hove City Council has confirmed it will refuse to evict those who cannot afford to pay the ‘bedroom tax’. The council is the first in England to take such a position.
The Bedroom Tax is part of welfare reforms that will cut the amount of benefit that people can get if they are considered to have a spare bedroom in their council or Housing Association home. The measure will apply from April 2013 to tenants of working age. All claimants who are deemed to have at least one spare bedroom will be affected.
This will include separated parents who share the care of their children and who may have been allocated an extra bedroom to reflect this; couples who use their ‘spare’ bedroom when recovering from an illness or operation; families with disabled children and disabled people including people living in adapted or specially designed properties.
More than 800 housing tenants in Exeter are set to be hit by an under-occupancy penalty which comes into force next month, a campaign group estimates. More than half of those affected by the tax will be disabled according to the National Housing Federation.
Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, who led an Opposition Day debate on the bedroom tax in Parliament, said: ”The so-called bedroom tax legislation is morally wrong and a cause of great potential hardship. We should not be prepared to evict hard-pressed families, the disabled and other vulnerable people purely because they are unable to pay this unjust levy on a home they either cannot or should not have to leave.”
Andrew Bell, Exeter Green Party policy officer said: “The Green Party has been at the forefront of the campaign against this wicked tax. I know many in the Labour Party say they are equally appalled by this tax. Let Labour members in Exeter demonstrate their opposition by voting to follow the example set by the Green Council in Brighton and Hove and pledge to refuse to evict any tenant who is unable to pay.”