IT HAS been revealed that the bedroom tax has cost Caerphilly county borough council tenants almost £4m in three years.
Freedom of Information Act requests show that since the tax was introduced in 2013, council tenants have paid out an additional £3,780,945.
They also show that while 95 tenants who were affected by the spare room subsidy have downsized or moved to alternative council accommodation, 1,921 are currently continuing to pay the tax.
Councillor Colin Mann, leader of the Plaid Cymru group, said: “These figures show the impact this awful tax is having on many council tenants, who are forced to pay more rent to stay in their homes. This comes at a time when many are struggling to meet food and energy prices.
“We have always stood out firmly against the bedroom tax and have campaigned for its abolition ever since it was introduced. It should be scrapped but the heartless UK Government shows no sign of doing so. They seem intent on making the poor poorer.”
The information also reveals that the additional amounts collected across Caerphilly county borough has risen each year.
In the 2013/14 financial year, the council’s estimated total amount paid by tenants due to the tax totalled £1,211,409, before going up to £1,261,884 the following year.
Across the 2015/16 financial year, it is £1,307,652.
Cllr Mann, ward member for Llanbradach, added: “There is not the suitable alternative accommodation available for many people so tenants have no choice but to extra pay rent.
“The introduction of the bedroom tax also meant the authority had to bring in additional support staff.”
A Caerphilly Labour group spokesman said: “It’s disgraceful that some of the hardest-hit residents in Caerphilly county borough have had to bear these unfair charges. We put the blame for this squarely at the door of the last government, which imposed the bedroom tax, while also cutting budgets of Welsh Government and councils.
“Despite this, Caerphilly CBC has invested in dedicated resources to support tenants affected by the bedroom tax.