Borough households could be due bedroom tax rebate

Tenants in Amber Valley hit by the bedroom tax could be due a rebate following a Government blunder.

Thousands of people across the UK have been wrongly identified as liable for the bedroom tax, or spare room subsidy, as a result of an error by Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) when drafting the legislation.

Amber Valley council’s benefits team are now working out which of the borough’s 868 households could be eligible for rebates, which could be worth around £640 per claimant. The error affects working age tenants in social housing who have occupied the same home continuously since 1996.

Mark Griffith, of Amber Valley council, said: “The process of finding those cases which may no longer be subject to the under-occupancy charge is still ongoing. Any monies paid out by Amber Valley as underpayments of housing benefit will be reimbursed by the Government.

“Some tenants are already aware of the situation and we are also working with social landlords to help identify affected cases.

“Any tenant who wants advice on this or any other benefits matter can call us on 01773 841470.”

Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills said: “If that’s the law then people should get their money back. It is a bizarre loophole and I expect it to be amended. In the meantime I urge people to contact Amber Valley if they are in this situation.”

In Amber Valley 705 tenants under-occupying by one bedroom were subject to a 14 per cent reduction in their eligible rent, 163 were under-occupying by two bedrooms and subject to a 25 per cent reduction.

The bedroom tax affects 660,000 housing benefit claimants living in social housing. The policy imposes a penalty of between £14 and £22 a week on working-age tenants deemed to have more bedrooms than they need. The DWP estimates around 5,000 households will be exempt, while housing experts believe it could be as high as one in 25 of housing benefit claimants.