New figures released by Leeds City Council show that an estimated 41,000 Leeds households will be affected by Government cuts to council tax benefit and the introduction of the Government’s bedroom tax.
Government cuts to council tax, and the introduction of the controversial ‘spare bedroom tax’, will see 41,000 households lose nearly £9.4m, according to Leeds central MP Hilary Benn.
Mr Benn, who is also Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said:
“These figures are shocking. They show just how hard the Government’s benefit changes will hit Leeds families, including those who are working. It is estimated that 41,000 households will lose nearly £9.4 million pounds in income when times are tough and every penny counts. It is the most deprived communities in Leeds that will be hit the hardest, and a number of families will lose out twice over.
“The Government’s changes will mean, for example, that a widow living in the family home of 20 years with two spare bedrooms who gets housing benefit to help her pay the rent will suddenly see her rent rise as that help is cut. And yet these bedrooms may well be where her grandchildren come to stay or a friend when she is unwell. Divorced or separated dads with a spare bedroom where their son comes to visit over the weekend will be hit too. And there are not enough smaller properties to move into for people affected, even if they wanted to.
“On council tax, councils like Leeds are trying to do their best to protect the most vulnerable, but this cut in funding by the Government – which comes on top of huge cuts by ministers to Leeds’ overall council budget – leaves them with no option but to reduce council tax benefit for the poorest, so putting up their council tax. All over the country, some people on very low incomes will be asked to pay sums of money they simply cannot afford, just like the hated Poll Tax. In fact, the Tory Minister who came up with the original Poll Tax has called David Cameron’s decision Poll Tax Mark 2.
“And what will really anger people is that these changes – which will take £9.4m away from people on the lowest incomes in our city – will start to bite in the very same month that every top rate tax payer will given a tax cut by the Government. It’s not just unfair; it’s immoral.”