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Wirral Tory backs Labour move against Government 'bedroom tax'
IN AN extremely unusual move, a member of the council's Tory group has joined a Labour call to scrap the Government’s so-called "bedroom tax".
In a notice of motion tabled at the full council meeting on Monday night, town hall leader Cllr Phil Davies claimed the under-occupancy charge was forcing people on low incomes out of their homes and into debt.
He called for urgent action to deal with the growing demand on advice services from tenants unable to pay their rent, which is “approaching crisis point.”
Among those in support of this was Leasowe Conservative councillor Ian Lewis.
He said: “Most of the people affected by the ‘bedroom tax’ in Leasowe and Moreton have no alternative accommodation.
“Since the last Labour Government first introduced the 'under occupation pilot' in 2001, the number of new homes built for rent has fallen, while housing associations are saving millions of pounds as a result of low interest rates.
“I want to see the costs of housing benefit controlled, but without the distress that is being caused to so many people in the area I represent.
“I believe we should be looking more closely at the level of rents being charged by housing associations, which are rising year after year, above the level of inflation.”
Councillor Davies said: “Can I congratulate Ian Lewis for standing his ground and saying that he was against this policy.
“I intend to write to him, and the Liberal Democrat group, to form a ‘coalition of the willing’ in trying to have this iniquitous policy scrapped.”
Conservative leader Cllr Jeff Green said: “We have a situation where houses have a lot of additional rooms and people live in overcrowded accommodation.
“The council has acknowledged that this is an issue.”
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