A political party is calling for changes to housing rules to protect tenants affected by the so-called ‘bedroom tax’.
The Kirklees Liberal Democrats have submitted a motion to Kirklees Full Council tomorrow pitching solutions to resolve local problems.
They say there are 1,933 people affected by the under-occupation charge – which sees a cut in housing benefit for every spare bedroom a tenant has.
The Lib Dems are calling on their council colleagues in the Labour, Conservative and Green and Valley Independents to follow the lead of Stockport Council.
The Greater Manchester authority has a ‘non-eviction’ policy for tenants willing to downsize but unable to find a smaller property due to lack of availability.
Clr Andrew Marchington, a Golcar ward member, said: “The policy of non-eviction we are proposing would mean that any social tenant who says they want to move would be automatically be protected from eviction and any arrears they build up while they wait for their new home.
“The lack of available social housing is not the fault of tenants, it is the fault of successive national Governments over the last three decades to protect and replenish the housing stock.
“The current Government has so far provided £8m to Kirklees to build more housing and pledged to build 170,000 affordable home in England by 2015 but even this will not solve the problem or make up for the years of neglect,” Clr Marchington added.
“It is a sad state of affairs but what the Cabinet should be doing is using the power and options Government are providing to put things back on the right track in terms of building new homes while finding ways to help and support tenants to deal with their financial responsibilities.”
At present Kirklees figures show that 1,933 social tenants have had their housing benefit reduced because of under occupation and 182 are currently waiting to move to a suitable and smaller property.
The number has reduced from 2,069 in April when the changes came into affect and 136 tenants have already downsized voluntarily.
The group’s motion includes ideas which include the council purchasing derelict or empty homes for social housing rental and lobbying the government to allow councils to access unused borrowing limits of other councils to build new homes.