The number of Bedroom Tax victims due for a refund after a “technical error” meant they were wrongly charged the so-called under ‘under-occupancy penalty’ could be up to four times higher than Ian Duncan Smith told the Commons on Tuesday. The news comes days after it emerged that a woman who committed suicide over the policy would have been exempt.
Asked how many residents — mostly disabled people — are due a refund because they have been living in the same home and claiming benefits since 1996, IDS told MPs:
“We have already made it clear that the number is likely to be between 3,000 and 5,000″
But an analysis by the Chartered Institute of Housing based on a sample of cases suggests that between 6,500 and 12,500 tenants will be getting their money back. Housing solicitor Sam Lister claims the figure is even higher — a minimum of 15,000 to 20,000:
“It varies from place to place, but it can’t be as low as 5,000 or 6,000.”
With the DWP refusing to reveal how they arrived at their figures, IDS has been accused of “not having a clue” what is going on. Having blamed his permanent secretary, other departmental officials and IT companies for various cock ups on the Universal Credit programme, it is — of course – local authorities who are responsible for the current confusion on the Bedroom Tax:
“we will be clearer about that when the local authorities, which are responsible for collecting the data, come forward with the final facts”
It can’t be long before IDS says that bigger boys did it and then ran off.