Bedroom tax will make forces son homeless in Plymouth
A PLYMOUTH mother may not be able to offer her military son "a home, or a bedroom" when he returns from duty thanks to the Government's controversial "bedroom tax", David Cameron has been told.
The Prime Minister was tackled at Westminster over the impact of the controversial move to impose an under-occupancy penalty on tenants by the woman's constituency MP Alison Seabeck.
Mr Cameron promised to look into the case, but stressed the need to deal get to grips with a £23billion housing benefit bill, and pointed out many in privately rented properties "cannot afford extra bedrooms".
The changes will see housing association and council tenants have housing benefits cut if they are deemed to have spare bedrooms.
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From April it will mean a 14 per cent cut for one spare room – and 25 per cent for two.
The Government says the proposals will save money and help deal with a housing shortage by encouraging people to move out of homes that are too big for them.
Raising her constituent's case at Prime Minister's Questions, Plymouth Moor View MP Ms Seabeck said: "Is it right that a mother in my constituency may not, because of the Prime Minister's bedroom tax – and as confirmed by his Minister – be able offer her son, serving in Her Majesty's Armed Forces, either a home or a bedroom on his return from duty?"
Responding, the PM said: "I will happily look at the case she mentions, but our reforms to housing benefit have a clear principle at their heart.
"There are many people in private rented accommodation who do not have housing benefit and cannot afford extra bedrooms. We have to get control of housing benefit. We are now spending, as a country, £23billion on housing benefit, and we have to get that budget under control."
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "We owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who serves their country and that's why we give extensive support to servicemen and women and their families while they are serving and afterwards.
"There are almost one million spare bedrooms in social housing being paid for by the taxpayer, and we need to ensure these rooms are actually used. However, wives or husbands of those in the Armed Forces who are serving away from home will be unaffected by these changes."
It follows recent warnings there are not enough smaller properties for families to downsize into if they want to avoid the "bedroom tax".