A blunder by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has resulted in around 200 tenants in Fife being wrongly hit with the bedroom tax.
Any tenant who has been in receipt of housing benefit continuously since 1996 should not have been affected by the under-occupancy reductions.
The DWP has now confirmed to all councils it made an error and a number of tenants should not have had their housing benefit reduced – although it does plan to amend the regulations to end this exemption.
In the meantime, it’s been left to councils to sort out the mess.
Councillor David Ross, Fife Council’s depute leader, said: “This is yet another example of how these welfare reforms are proving to be badly thought through, unjust and unfair.
“The DWP has made a blunder with its regulations and Council staff are being left to pick up the pieces. We estimate around 200 tenants in Fife have been wrongly penalised by having their benefit cut under the bedroom tax rules since April this year.
“The council is now working hard to identify any tenants affected by this error so we can correct their awards.”
Tenants who have had their housing benefit wrongly reduced will be entitled to a rebate.
Louise McLeary, of the Fife Anti-Bedroom Tax Campaign, said: “We’re pleased for the tenants who will benefit from this ruling but frankly it is yet another example of how ill thought out this evil bedroom tax is. It is certainly time for it to be scrapped – it’s unjust and unworkable.”
The campaign group has helped a number of people appeal against reductions in their benefits, and is willing to help anyone affected by the DWP’s latest error. The camnpaign group can be contacted on 01592 267402 or 01597 200597.
To contact Fife Council regarding housing benefit issues, call 03451 551155 or visit your nearest local office.