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New bedroom tax in line to affect 7,000 people in Sussex
9:40am Friday 8th March 2013 in News
The bedroom tax could affect more than 7,000 people in social accommodation across Sussex.
From April 1, those in council or housing association homes with a spare room will have the amount of state subsidy reduced.
Government ministers claim the controversial move is fairer, adding it will reduce the annual £20 billion housing benefit bill while freeing up homes for the thousands of people on waiting lists.
But critics have claimed the policy, now being dubbed as a “spare room subsidy”, will see thousands of people forced out of the homes they have lived in for decades.
They add the disabled, sick and those caring for relatives will all be affected.
Figures released by the National Housebuilding Federation based on Government estimates indicate 7,097 people across Sussex will be affected by the change.
Of these, 1,409 are in Brighton and Hove.
After the changes, the figures show a resident in Brighton Kemptown with one extra bedroom will have to find £606 a year more to stay in their home.
A spokesman for Brighton and Hove Labour Party said: "The hypocrisy of our local Tory MPs is incredible.
"On the one hand they have voted to give millionaires a £100,000 tax break each and on the other they are punishing the most vulnerable across the city with a bedroom tax.
"This is a clear case of Tory double standards."
But Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby said: "As an MP, one of the issues that I deal with most frequently is helping constituents who are on the social housing waiting list, and helping families living in over- crowded accommodation.
"This policy will make better use of the social housing stock, as well as tackling the unsustainable housing benefit bill.
"It also corrects an inherent unfairness in the current system in which people receiving housing benefit in the private rented sector cannot receive a spare room subsidy, while those in social housing can."
The Government said pensioners and people living in temporary accommodation will not be affected by the changes.
People who need a spare room for an overnight carer are also exempt while bereaving families will have a year before the policy will affect them.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: "These changes are about fairness."
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