Bedroom Tax is 'deplorable' says disabled Stroud resident hit by policy
A 61-YEAR-OLD disabled man whose housing benefit is due to be cut because he has a spare bedroom in his council apartment believes the Government's new policy is 'deplorable'.
From April, Pete Glastonbury will be one of 486 social housing tenants in the Five Valleys affected by the Coalition's change to housing benefit rules.
Dubbed the 'bedroom tax', the change will see housing benefit reduced by 14 per cent for tenants who have one free bedroom and by 25 per cent for those who have two or more.
Mr Glastonbury, who lives alone, currently receives housing and disability benefit after having sustained a shoulder injury last year which has left him unable to work.
The former plumber, who needs prescription painkillers, will now have his housing benefit cut by £16.32 per week because he is considered to be under-occupying his two-bedroom council apartment in London Road.
Although he would be willing to downsize, Mr Glastonbury believes the policy is unfair because there is a shortage of one-bedroom properties available in the area.
"There just aren't any one bedroom properties out there, not even in the private sector," he said.
"This policy has been ill-thought through. How am I supposed to downsize when there isn't the accommodation to move into?
"It's deplorable really and in my opinion this policy is aimed at those who can ill-afford it."
According to the National Housing Federation, there are 180,000 council tenants under-occupying two-bedroom homes in England but fewer than 70,000 one-bedroom properties available in the social sector.
Labour's parliamentary candidate David Drew who is opposed to the policy, said it was wrong to "put a gun to people's heads and tell them 'you're going to move come what may' when there isn't the accommodation available".
Stroud MP Neil Carmichael defended the policy, however, saying: "It is not a tax. It is about bringing social housing in the public sector in line with the private sector so we have much more fairness and access to accommodation."
The Tory politician said he had met families living in over-occupied social housing who needed bigger homes and that something needed to be done to reduce the Government's annual £23 billion housing benefit bill.