Bedroom tax will 'inflict pain on thousands in Bristol'
MARION Khan loves to look after her two young grandchildren each weekend.
But 59-year-old Mrs Khan said she might have this enjoyment stripped away from her when the so-called "bedroom tax" is introduced in April.
She faces being moved from her two-bed house in Woodborough Road, Easton, because she is judged to have a spare bedroom.
If she is moved to a one-bed home, then she would be denied the chance to look after her grandchildren at weekends.
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If she stays, then the £200 she receives in benefit each month will be cut by £50.
"I love living there," she said. "It's a quiet street and I have got lovely neighbours. I don't want to move."
Mrs Khan is one of more than 4,700 householders in Bristol which will be hit by the bedroom tax.
Another victim is Phillip Dudd, 49, who lives in a two-bed house in Southville and looks after his two children four days a week.
"It's not a bedroom tax, it's a children's tax," he said.
"The idea of not seeing my children is incomprehensible to me."
Jack Dromey, Labour's shadow housing minister said in a visit to the city that the new tax was cruel and counterproductive.
He said: "It's cruel because thousands of decent men and women in Bristol will suffer and it's counterproductive because it will end up costing the public purse millions and millions of more pounds in increased benefits."
He said it was obscene that the new tax was being introduced on the same day that millionaires will get a tax cut.
He said: "David Cameron and George Osborne have no idea to have to count every penny of their income to survive, yet they are inflicting pain on thousands of Bristol people."
He pledged to tear up the bedroom tax if Labour is returned to power.
The Coalition Government is introducing the tax to reduce the number of spare bedrooms in households to ease the chronic housing shortage.
Householders who claim benefit will lose some of their money if they have any spare bedrooms.
In Bristol, Labour says council tenants with one spare bedroom will lose £11 a week and for those in low rent housing association accommodation, £16.64.
Council tenants with two spare bedrooms would lose £21 a week and housing association tenants, £29.27 a week.
The city council has released figures which shows that an estimated 4,714 households will be affected.
Of these, 3,639 are rented from the council and 1,075 from registered social landlords.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said on television: "This is about under-occupancy, let's be very clear about what this is about. We have in social sector housing, a very large number of people in houses where they have many more bedrooms than they actually need.
"What we're saying to them is you can stay where you are, but if you do you'll have to pay more.
"Exactly the same people in the same criteria who rent under in the private sector and get housing benefit are not allowed to have extra bedrooms."