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More than 100,000 sign Wirral carer's online 'bedroom tax' petition
A WIRRAL carer’s online petition against the ‘bedroom tax’ has gathered 130,000 signatures from opponents across the world.
Dawn Thomas, from Birkenhead, set up the petition in December and presented a printed version of it to MP Frank Field at his constituency surgery on Friday afternoon.
It has since been forwarded to welfare minister Iain Duncan Smith.
The changes, which came into force at the beginning of April, mean those living in a house deemed too big for their needs will have a proportion of their benefit cut.
The shake-up means tenants in council houses and social housing could face paying £728 extra a year.
Meanwhile, those with more than one spare bedroom face a 25% cut in housing benefit.
The cover letter for Dawn’s petition reads: “This ‘tax’ has not been thought out properly. It will further damage family life and long-standing communities.”
Dawn, a full-time carer whose son David has Down’s Syndrome, told the Globe: “I want this government to repeal this dreadful and immoral tax on people’s homes.
“I’m a realist and am not confident that it will ever happen, but I want Iain Duncan Smith to realise how much opposition there is to this tax.
“The bedroom tax is Tony Blair’s baby. David Cameron has come in and taken up the idea.”
Dawn, a Wirral Partnership Homes’ tenant said: “The distress this ‘tax’ has brought about is immeasurable.
“Social housing was intended for people who cannot afford to buy their own homes. Now the same people are being taxed out of their homes.”
Ministers say the “under occupancy penalty” will reduce the housing benefit bill, currently more than £20 billion a year.
The Department for Work and Pensions said the change would save taxpayers £480m a year and affect around 600,000 people. The average loss for a single empty bedroom will be £14 per week, it adds.
Last month around 40 protestors gathered outside Wallasey Town Hall to make their views heard on welfare reform, claiming the changes would unafirly penalise benefit claimants living in council or social housing.
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