Ceredigion MP Mark Williams, has continued to express concerns about the effects of the ‘bedroom tax’ in the county and across Mid-Wales.
In a debate held in Parliament on Thursday following a Welsh Affairs Select Committee report, Mark Williams raised a number of issues regarding the policy, focusing on the impact the policy is having on veterans and disabled people, and the challenges faced in rural areas when there is so little alternative housing available.
Mr Williams said: “I do appreciate that it is up to Local Authorities to best determine how to use their discretionary housing payments to best suit the needs of residents. However I still have concerns about this policy, and am often contacted by constituents who are experiencing difficulties.
“Of particular concern is the effect and worry the policy is placing on disabled people - those whose homes have been specially adapted for their needs, but who may be required to move or pay for an extra bedroom. Moving those in adapted housing, contrary to saving money which is what this policy seeks to do, seems a complete waste of resources. What about the costs incurring to the public pursue to adapt the new home - this is not to mention the strain and worry of the situation."
Mr Williams added he was also concerned about the effect the policy has on servicemen.
"We need more exemptions to ensure that at no point servicemen or their families are required to pay for a bedroom which they need to use. Indeed I have been in discussion with local veterans and the local Armed Forces Champion, Cllr Paul Hinge about this. We need to continue to ensure that there is consistency between all areas of Government policy on the application of the Community Covenant.
“Lastly, but importantly, I am also greatly concerned that in rural areas there is simply not the required amount of housing for this policy to work, and we should not expect anyone to move miles from their communities and families. The housing stock is insufficient in Ceredigion for this to be viable. The debate was an opportunity to raise these issues with the Ministers responsible, and will be pursing them further.”