PRESS RELEASE: For Immediate release
Scrap the Bedroom Tax Defend Council Tax Benefit Nottingham: Cathy Meadows 07913476905
Protesters rally to demand Nottingham City Council refund bedroom tax tenants.
Tenants and supporters are protesting outside Loxley House at 1pm today because Nottingham City Council have:
– Ignored tenants who have tried to claim bedroom tax refunds (under CPR 2006 or 1996 loophole[i])
– Paid money to landlords which should have been refunded to tenants.
– Delayed investigating tenants’ exemptions and requests for refunds.
One tenant who was exempt but paid bedroom tax for nearly a year has been trying to claim a refund since June and has still not received it. Nottingham City Council paid the refund to Nottingham Community Housing Association but neither the Council nor the Housing Association will hand over the money. Another tenant had to write three letters to the Council between August and October before the Council would investigate whether they were exempt (which they were).
Because council housing benefit records do not go back far enough, the Council asked Social Landlords and City Homes to provide lists of tenants who could be exempt. These investigations ended in May 2014[ii] – but tenants who were exempt were left off these lists. Even though the Council have known since June 2014 that exempt tenants were left off the lists, they refuse to meet with campaigners and say they will not do anything else to try and identify tenants wrongly charged.
Protesters are demanding that the Council:
– Immediately refund all tenants known to be exempt.
– Respond promptly and properly to all enquiries about exemptions.
– Write personally to all bedroom tax tenants of 2013/14 whose claims go back further than the Council records, to inform them about the exemption.
– Publicise the exemption in the local press.
– Provide information, posters and leaflets about the exemption to all advice centres, job centres and community groups etc.
– Launch an independent investigation into why tenants have been left off lists and why the Council didn’t take further action.
– Launch an independent investigation into why the Council have paid money which should have been refunded to tenants, to landlords.
Notes for Editors
[i]The CPR 2006 was identified in December 2013. It affects working age tenants in social housing who have occupied the same home continuously (or have been forced to move) and have been claiming Housing Benefit since 1996.
[ii] Letter to campaign from David Liversidge, June 2014