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  1. ITV Report

Cornish MP hopes to cut the “bedroom tax"

Andrew George is calling for change to the controversial bedroom tax Photo: Photo: PA

Proposals to change the so-called bedroom tax, put forward by a Cornish MP, have passed their first parliamentary hurdle.

Andrew George, Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives, says benefit cuts to people in social housing who have a spare bedroom, shouldn't apply to those with medical reasons or no suitable alternative. But the Government says the changes would cost £1 billion and the measure is likely to be defeated - despite Labour support.

One of the many protests against the so-called bedroom tax. This took place in Exeter in 2013 Credit: ITV Westcountry

Andrew George wants to secure exemptions to the Government’s Spare Room Subsidy.

It would mean people with disabilities could use a spare room for storing medical equipment, or for their partner to sleep in if they are unable to share a bedroom, without losing housing benefit.

63% of people in Devon and Cornwall affected by the bedroom tax have disabilities Credit: National Housing Federation

At the moment claimants face a cut in housing benefit of 14% for one 'spare' bedroom or 25% for two or more 'spare' bedrooms.

That could amount to up to £600 for people living in Devon and Cornwall.

I would have preferred to abolish the Bedroom Tax altogether but for a Private Members’ Bill to have any chance of success, compromises have to be reached, but hopefully a workable set of compromises have now been reached. The poor have as much entitlement to a stable family home as the better off. There are better ways of solving our housing crisis than creating misery for the most vulnerable. I look forward to working with my parliamentary colleagues to produce a Bill that will have a profoundly positive impact on the lives of many people right across the country.

– Andrew George MP

Many people may try to downsize to avoid having their benefits cut but Mr George says that finding suitable alternative accommodation in places like Cornwall is very difficult.

Well the MP has had success with the Bill's first reading in Parliament. It will now go to a second reading in the House of Commons but will still have some way to go before it becomes law.