Refunds due in Dearne after bedroom tax error

John Healey, MP
John Healey, MP

Dearne residents who pay the bedroom tax could be refunded after a blunder by the government meant thousands of people have been wrongly paying the controversial tariff.

t is thought as many as 40,000 people – or five per cent of those paying the bedroom tax – could be eligible for a full refund.

round 8,000 families in Rotherham and Barnsley have been paying on average up to £17 a week extra since April. That means around 400 could get back as much as £700.

The error affects working age tenants in social housing who have occupied the same home continuously since 1996. An oversight by the Department for Work and Pensions when drafting the legislation means that the housing benefit regulations dating from 1996 were not updated when the coalition legislated for the bedroom tax.

Dearne MP John Healey said: “The bedroom tax has always been badly thought through. Now we know the Government have levied the tax illegally in some cases.”

The DWP has vowed to remedy the problem as soon as possible and a spokesperson said the department believes ‘very few’ tenants nationwide will actually be affected.