Homes set to shrink in Welwyn Hatfield to beat the ‘bedroom tax’

Homes are set to shrink in Welwyn Hatfield

Homes are set to shrink in Welwyn Hatfield - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

MORE than 100 homes are to “shrink” as housing chiefs aim to beat the controversial ‘bedroom tax’.

A reclassification set to be discussed today (Thursday) could see officials try to circumvent controversial benefit reforms.

Roughly 100 three bedroom houses look set to be classed as two bedroom homes, as one of the rooms is less than 50 square feet.

Under plans being weighed up, the third bedroom would be classed as a box room – meaning tenants will not be hit in the pocket.

A government shake-up means benefit claimants now receive lower payments if they have a spare room in their council or housing association-owned home.

More than 800 households have been affected in Welwyn Hatfield.

Several other four-bed homes will be relabelled as three bedroom properties.

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Conservative councillor Roger Trigg, executive member for housing, said: “We think some 50 square feet is small enough to not be a bedroom, it might be enough for a little computer study.

“I think it is unfair to the tenants when it is that small to call it a full size bedroom when it comes to the bedroom tax – if I am allowed to call it that, the spare room subsidy.”

Condemnation of the Conservative-led cuts united leaders of the opposition parties, with both the Lib Dems and Labour anticipating the changes.

Labour group leader Kieran Thorpe said: “The bedroom tax is bad enough without being classed as a box room.

“It is wrong to punish people for having an empty cupboard and it shows the amount of extra work that this council is having to do in dealing with this unfair piece of legislation.”

Lib Dem group leader Tony Skottowe said: “This was almost inevitable given the legislation.

“When you look at the legislation, there is going to be some impact, and some of the legislation is frankly daft – some of it is really quite silly.”

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