Labour: 'Bedroom Tax' error hits thousands

The Government has been accused of understating the number of council tenants who have been wrongly hit by 'bedroom tax'. Council data says at least 16,000 households had wrongly had their benefit cut but Labour says the true figure could be 50,000.

DWP expects 'very few' affected by 'bedroom tax' error

The Department for Work and Pensions said the regulations were now being amended and that it still believed its earlier estimate of the numbers affected by 'bedroom tax' errors was correct.

The Department for Work and Pensions stands by its figures on the number of people wrongly billed over so-called 'bedroom tax'. Credit: Press Association

A spokesman said: "We expect very few people to be affected by this - around 5,000 - and are working with councils to ensure affected claimants are kept informed.

"The removal of the spare room subsidy means we still pay the majority of most claimants' rent, but the taxpayer can no longer afford to pay the £500 million cost of claimants' extra bedrooms."

Read more: What is so called 'bedroom tax'?

Labour: 'Bedroom tax' has been a fiasco from the start

Shadow work and pensions minister Chris Bryant has accused Iain Duncan Smith of "picking numbers out of thin air", with regards to the people wrongly charged the so-called 'bedroom tax'.

Iain Duncan Smith told Parliament that 3,000 to 5,000 people had been illegally charged the 'bedroom tax' thanks to the loophole, but it's now clear he was just picking numbers out of thin air.

The bedroom tax has been a fiasco from start to finish and now the Government have been caught out trying to downplay how many people are exempted by it.

This would be a farce if it weren't for the upset this has caused many vulnerable families and the huge cost to taxpayers.

– Shadow work and pensions minister Chris Bryant

Read more: What is so called 'bedroom tax'?

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Labour: 'Bedroom Tax' error could hit close to 50,000

Labour has accused the Government of understating the number of council tenants who have been wrongly hit by the so-called 'bedroom tax' changes to housing benefit.

The opposition party said local authority data showed that, as a result of a loophole in the legislation, at least 16,000 households had wrongly had their benefit cut - while the true figure could be closer to 50,000.

Labour has accused the Government of understating the number of council tenants who have been wrongly hit by so-called 'bedroom tax'. Credit: Press Association

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has previously told MPs that between 3,000 to 5,000 tenants were thought to have been affected by the error.

But after submitting Freedom of Information requests to all 346 local authorities in the UK, Labour said responses from the 140 councils which have so far replied showed that 16,450 households had been incorrectly caught.

Shadow work and pensions minister Chris Bryant said that if there was a similar rate of wrongful deductions across the whole country, the final total would be almost 50,000.

Read more: What is so called 'bedroom tax'?