Falkirk Council’s SNP Group Spokesperson for Housing, Cllr Steven Carleschi has urged Labour members to act in the interests of vulnerable people rather than in the interests of their Tory partners within the ruling council coalition on the issue of the Bedroom Tax.
In particular the SNP Councillor wants Falkirk Council to act quickly to take advantage of a loophole in the legislation that tenants who have been in the same tenancy since 1 January 1996 and have claimed Housing Benefit throughout that period may be exempt from the Bedroom Tax.
This follows a ruling in the courts ((see ink below)
However, the loophole will only remain open until March 2014 when the Tory led Westminster government intends to act to close the loophole (see link below)
The SNP want Falkirk Council to lead the charge to find and guide the maximum number of applicants who will qualify for rebates and assist in the preparations of applications to the Department of Works and Pensions.
Said Cllr Carleschi,
“There is a short window of opportunity to take advantage of this loophole for the benefit of some of the hardest hit victims of the Tory Government’s austerity policies.
To achieve this the Labour leaders must set aside their alliance with the Tories and exploit this opportunity mercilessly in order to restore some credibility to the council.
They must also make the identification and assistance of those who may qualify a priority between now and the closure of the loophole in March.
Te council can start by cross referencing the list of tenants whose tenancies date back to prior to January 1996 with current Housing Benefit applications. Those applicants who may qualify then should be visited to complete applications to the DWP.”