Bedroom tax: Please don’t evict people

As an Ashfield resident affected by the Bedroom Tax (BT), I started a local campaign against it, focused on a petition to Ashfield District Council /Ashfield Homes Ltd.

The petition mainly asks for a publicly stated no-evictions policy and for reclassification of all social properties as having only one-bedroom, to prevent the tax being charged.

Numerous people have canvassed for signatures and now approximately 1,000 people have signed the paper-based petition, so it’s hoped that the petition can be debated at the full council meeting in December.

Bedroom tax has been foisted upon ADC and other councils by central Government and there is no doubt that ADC has taken steps which mitigate the effects of BT on tenants, such as getting Government permission for a hardship fund which boosts Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) funds to £713,000.

Unfortunately, many residents have been unaware they can claim DHP and that any money not paid out by the end of the financial year on 31st March, will have to be returned to central Government.

Tenants suffering BT hardship can get a DHP claim form from ADC on 01623 450000. If awarded it usually lasts for several weeks.

Extensions of DHP can be applied for when it runs out, and people can re-apply if turned down.

Tenants can also appeal against the decision to charge them bedroom tax in the first place, by writing to Ashfield District Council, Urban Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, NG17 8DA, stating that they wish to appeal against “Under-occupation Penalty” (Bedroom Tax) being deducted from their Housing Benefit, and stating their reason. It may be that a ‘spare’ bedroom is in fact a dining room, for instance.

Those wishing help with DHP and appeals can contact me on 07928027891 or their local Citizens Advice for guidance.”

John Moore