Stevenage Labour Party beds down in ‘bedroom tax’ protest

Members of Stevenage Labour Party bedded down in the town centre to protest against bedroom tax

Members of Stevenage Labour Party bedded down in the town centre to protest against bedroom tax - Credit: Archant

MEMBERS of the Stevenage Labour Party were lying down on the job on Saturday in protest of ‘bedroom tax’.

Councillors and party members bedded down in Stevenage town centre to make a stand against the Conservative-led Government policy which comes into effect in April.

The new rules will affect housing benefit, paid to less well-off council and housing association tenants to help with rent.

If tenants are deemed to have one spare room, the amount of rent eligible for housing benefit will be cut by 14 per cent. If they have two or more spare rooms, the cut will be 25 per cent.

The Government estimates the average household affected will lose £14 a week, saving the taxpayer £505m in the first year.

Nearly 400 people in Stevenage will be affected, while in North Herts, more than 1,000 will miss out financially.

Last week the Government’s work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith made a change to the policy by announcing foster carers and armed forces personnel who live at home would be exempt.

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“The bedroom tax is a cynical attack by the government on many aspects of family life,” said Stevenage Borough Council leader and Labour parliamentary candidate Sharon Taylor.

“Families will pay for keeping a room for children at university, for rooms for children in separated families, grandparents who have extra rooms to help with childcare and disabled couples who need separate rooms to cope with their medical needs.

“This is a cynical assault by the Conservative-led Coalition Government which penalises those already struggling in these days of austerity.

“There are just not thousands of empty homes for these people to go to and if they go into private housing, that will increase the benefit bill not reduce it.”