One in ten people affected by changes to housing benefits in Waltham Forest are in line for a refund

Local MP Iain Duncan Smith

Local MP Iain Duncan Smith

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

At least one in ten people affected by the so-call bedroom tax in Waltham Forest have wrongly had their benefits cut, it has emerged.

A recently discovered loophole in housing benefit reform legislation, which cut payments to those judged to have an unused spare room, means tenants who rented properties from a housing association or council since January 1 1996 or before are exempt.

It has emerged that 146 of the 1,503 people affected by the changes in Waltham Forest, introduced at the start of the year, should not have had their benefit cut.

These people have yet to be notified by Waltham Forest Council, which admitted more could have had their benefits incorrectly reduced.

The changes are part of sweeping reforms to the benefits system devised by Chingford MP and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith.

Mr Duncan-Smith told the House of Commons yesterday the ‘technical issue’ will lead to ‘fewer than 5,000 people being affected’.

A council spokesman said identifying those wrongly penalised was at the “very early stages”.

“The council will ensure those affected are re-assessed shortly and any extra housing benefit will be paid in full by the DWP,” he added.

“No-one has actually been re-assessd or contacted about the issue yet.

"The exercise is ongoing and we expect to identify additional cases later as we work through all the cases that have had a restriction applied.”

A DWP spokesman said: "We are looking at this issue carefully and working with local authorities, and we will take any necessary action in due course.

“We expect very few people to be affected.”

It was revealed that grandmother Stephanie Bottrill, who referenced the “bedroom tax” in a suicide note before taking her own life, was exempt from the subsidy.

Philip Connelly, of Disability Rights UK, is calling on the government to abolish the tax.

He said: "I am calling on the government to repeal this tax, it is discriminatory and the DWP should go back to the drawing board.

"Up to 70 per cent of families affected by the bedroom tax have a disabled child - it needs to be abolished."

Comments (9)

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4:49pm Tue 14 Jan 14

stickmanny says...

Only 5000, and most of them parents of disabled children.

Some ideas for the Labour Manifesto - put IDS in the stocks, take away his inherited millions and make him beg on the streets.
Only 5000, and most of them parents of disabled children. Some ideas for the Labour Manifesto - put IDS in the stocks, take away his inherited millions and make him beg on the streets. stickmanny
  • Score: 5

7:14am Wed 15 Jan 14

soapbox3 says...

Why has this incompetent idiot IDS still got a job?
Why has this incompetent idiot IDS still got a job? soapbox3
  • Score: 3

2:23pm Wed 15 Jan 14

OngarRS says...

Here we go again - it is NOT a tax. It is a reduction in your benefits if you have a property which is too large for your requirements. What on earth is wrong with that? If you want a bigger place, go and pay for it yourself.
Here we go again - it is NOT a tax. It is a reduction in your benefits if you have a property which is too large for your requirements. What on earth is wrong with that? If you want a bigger place, go and pay for it yourself. OngarRS
  • Score: -5

6:24pm Wed 15 Jan 14

stickmanny says...

OngarRS the One Muskateer. One for Me and All for Me
OngarRS the One Muskateer. One for Me and All for Me stickmanny
  • Score: 1

7:47pm Wed 15 Jan 14

OngarRS says...

stickmanny wrote:
OngarRS the One Muskateer. One for Me and All for Me
Yep - if my taxes get spent on you, then it is a waste of money for sure. Look after yourself - don't expect others to. And it is still NOT a tax.
[quote][p][bold]stickmanny[/bold] wrote: OngarRS the One Muskateer. One for Me and All for Me[/p][/quote]Yep - if my taxes get spent on you, then it is a waste of money for sure. Look after yourself - don't expect others to. And it is still NOT a tax. OngarRS
  • Score: -4

7:53pm Thu 16 Jan 14

soapbox3 says...

Ongar rs
I guess you think its alright to give taxpayers money to pay mp s second homes and pay for their fuel bills and pay for their pay rises not to mention bankers bonuses or large corporate companies not paying their bit . But hey, lets hit those that have nothing in the first place. Go back to where you crawled out from and take IDS and co with you.
Ongar rs I guess you think its alright to give taxpayers money to pay mp s second homes and pay for their fuel bills and pay for their pay rises not to mention bankers bonuses or large corporate companies not paying their bit . But hey, lets hit those that have nothing in the first place. Go back to where you crawled out from and take IDS and co with you. soapbox3
  • Score: 2

9:16pm Thu 16 Jan 14

OngarRS says...

soapbox3 wrote:
Ongar rs
I guess you think its alright to give taxpayers money to pay mp s second homes and pay for their fuel bills and pay for their pay rises not to mention bankers bonuses or large corporate companies not paying their bit . But hey, lets hit those that have nothing in the first place. Go back to where you crawled out from and take IDS and co with you.
I do not agree with giving money to MPs either. Read my post: people should look after themselves - that includes MPs. I also don't agree with bankers' bonuses. But if you have a house that is too large and you don't need it, then you don't get money to live in it - that's fair. At least IDS is trying to do something about it.
[quote][p][bold]soapbox3[/bold] wrote: Ongar rs I guess you think its alright to give taxpayers money to pay mp s second homes and pay for their fuel bills and pay for their pay rises not to mention bankers bonuses or large corporate companies not paying their bit . But hey, lets hit those that have nothing in the first place. Go back to where you crawled out from and take IDS and co with you.[/p][/quote]I do not agree with giving money to MPs either. Read my post: people should look after themselves - that includes MPs. I also don't agree with bankers' bonuses. But if you have a house that is too large and you don't need it, then you don't get money to live in it - that's fair. At least IDS is trying to do something about it. OngarRS
  • Score: -5

10:47pm Thu 16 Jan 14

soapbox3 says...

Ongar rs
Most people do pay their way and take care of themselves. Sadly things happen in life and some people have to rely on benefits and are unable to get employment or are sick or disabled. This could happen to you. The bedroom tax or whatever you want to call it is purely another way this government has found a way to punish the poorest. You really should not believe all the propaganda IDS and co like to put out.
Ongar rs Most people do pay their way and take care of themselves. Sadly things happen in life and some people have to rely on benefits and are unable to get employment or are sick or disabled. This could happen to you. The bedroom tax or whatever you want to call it is purely another way this government has found a way to punish the poorest. You really should not believe all the propaganda IDS and co like to put out. soapbox3
  • Score: 3

10:54pm Thu 16 Jan 14

stickmanny says...

he's misanthropic, needs a therapist.
he's misanthropic, needs a therapist. stickmanny
  • Score: 1

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