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Bedroom tax protests across the region

Campaigners against the Bedroom Tax will protest across the region today to mark a year since its introduction.

Hundreds of supporters from all over Yorkshire are expected to join the Leeds campaign Hands off our Homes.They will celebrate a year of campaigning that they claim has put the government on the defensive,

There will also be a protest in Lincoln, organised by the Unite Community branch in Lincolnshire.

"The Bedroom Tax has been beaten in Scotland, and just like the Poll Tax 25 years ago, it can be beaten in England too. It's welcome that Labour nationally have promised to scrap the Bedroom Tax if they get into power, under pressure from grassroots campaigners.

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– Nick Parker, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in Lincoln

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Disabled 'refused bedroom tax aid"

Anti-bedroom tax campaigners protesting in Barnsley Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Nearly one third of disabled people hit by the so-called bedroom tax have been refused discretionary payments to help them meet the shortfall in their rent.

Demand for the support has tripled this year but applicants face a postcode lottery when it comes to being accepted.

The National Housing Federation found that 29% of disabled residents - more than 3,800 people from the 98 local authorities who responded to Freedom of Information requests - in England who asked for help following the reforms were rejected.

In parts of Kent the success rate was just one in ten, while the level rose to nearly three in North East Derbyshire, Rotherham and parts of Lancashire.

Overall, seven in ten people affected who applied for a discretionary housing payment in the first six months of the policy received one, the study found. But in parts of North Yorkshire the rate fell to just two in ten.

National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr said: "Whenever ministers are challenged on the bedroom tax, they tell us vulnerable people are not at risk because of these discretionary housing payments.

"Now we know the truth: this so-called bedroom tax protection is starting to look like a postcode lottery, with many disabled people and vulnerable families facing miserable odds of getting help.

"Even those who are lucky enough to get support will have to reapply time and time again, each time facing the stress and worry that the funds will be withdrawn, while councils are being inundated with applications.

"This support fund is ineffective and deeply unfair - just like the bedroom tax itself. The only real solution is to repeal it."

The Department for Work and Pensions spokesman insisted the money available to councils to make discretionary payments had gone up significantly.

A spokesman said: "We more than tripled the money we give to local authoritiesto £190m this year to ensure that help was available to those who need it most.

"The cash was given to local authorities to distribute because they deal with their customers on a day-to-day basis and are best placed to see to it that the money reaches those who have the greatest need.

"We will continue to monitor progress closely while our reforms bed down."

Full report: Grimsby 'bedroom tax' protest

Dozens of people have attended a protest in Grimsby against the Government's so called 'Bedroom Tax'. The event was organised by a new group associated with the union Unite.

Those affected by the recent Government changes to housing benefits now have to pay around 14 pounds a week extra if they have spare bedrooms, or move. Kate Hemingway reports.

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Rally to fight 'bedroom tax' in Grimsby

Protestors against the Government's so-called 'bedroom tax' are holding a rally in Grimsby. It has been organised as part of a campaign by Unite Community, a new scheme launched by the Unite Union.

The rally is being held as a public display of the frustration and anger felt by union members, who say people are being made 'victims' with the introduction of the new tax.

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