GUEST COLUMN: Unfair bedroom tax hits most vulnerable residents the hardest, by Ashfield MP, Gloria De Piero

Ever since the bedroom tax was brought in, I have been contacted by dozens of constituents who have suddenly been hit by extra charges for having ‘spare’ rooms in their council houses.

It has made me so angry to see the stress and financial hardship that this unfair tax has caused to some of our most vulnerable residents.

Those who have been hit include disabled people, couples who can no longer share a room due to health problems and pensioners who have lived in the same house for decades and seen their families fly the nest.

According to Government figures, 978 households in Ashfield have been affected by the bedroom tax. That is an awful lot of people who have seen their rent increase.

Now the Court of Appeal has ruled that the bedroom tax discriminates against a domestic violence victim who has a panic room in her house and the grandparents of a severely disabled teenager who have a room for his carer to stay in.

The Department for Work and Pensions is set to appeal the decision, but I seriously hope that this ruling will be the beginning of the end to this punitive and unjust charge.

If your loved one was seriously ill and needed an organ transplant, would you want them to have one? Of course you would. We all would.

That is why the news that bereaved families have blocked the donation of organs from 547 registered UK donors since 2010 is so shocking. These donors would have provided organs for up to 1,200 patients.

The NHS is changing the way organs are donated meaning that if a deceased person is a registered organ donor it will be more difficult for their family to overrule their wishes.

It is more important than ever to let your family know if you want to donate your organs should something awful happen to you. Make sure your wishes are respected should the worst ever happen.

Lastly, I know many residents are worried about how they will cope with the smaller black bins that Ashfield District Council is bringing in.

I have been reassured by the council that if you have a large family or need extra capacity due to medical waste, they can help you if you get in touch. They have also let me know that they will collect extra waste at Christmas.

Lots of information about the new bin scheme is available on the council’s website, or you can contact them on 0800 1838484.

• As ever, I urge you to contact me with any issues you would like my help with. Pop in or write to my Ashfield office, 8 Station Street, Kirkby-in-Ashfield . NG17 7AR. Call 01623 720 399. Or email