Housing benefit rebate on Merseyside to be £560

Houses The rebate figure is thought to be around £560

Related Stories

Nearly 2,600 tenants with extra bedrooms on Merseyside will be eligible for rebates worth hundreds of pounds after their benefits were wrongly cut.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said a legislation error meant thousands of people in social housing should have been exempt from the under-occupancy penalty.

Critics have dubbed the policy change the "bedroom tax".

The DWP said 5,000 people across the UK could be due a rebate of around £560.

Since April 2013, working-age people in social housing received housing benefit based on the number of householders and the size of accommodation.

Those with one spare bedroom face a benefit cut of 14%, not including pensioners, and 25% for those with two or more spare rooms.

'Wrongly affected'

Analysis

Either Merseyside accounts for almost half of the rebate cases nationally, or the government's underestimating the number of social housing tenants who will be recompensed for the housing benefit they have lost due to the 1996 'loophole'.

Our local councils have mostly identified and in some cases started repaying hundreds of tenants who wrongly had a portion of their housing benefit docked.

The under occupancy criteria's been the most controversial aspect of the government's welfare reforms, and on Merseyside there's a passionate band of people making sure appeals get heard, evictions get fought and loopholes get publicised.

In comparison with the private sector, people tend to stay in social housing for long periods of time - and in areas like Knowsley and Liverpool where there are areas of high unemployment and deprivation, it's not surprising that a considerable number of people have been claiming housing benefit at the same address for a long period of time.

In Liverpool, more than 700 people have been affected and will receive rebates, the city council said.

Mayor Joe Anderson said it was his intention to "make sure any Liverpool resident who has been wrongly affected by this government error gets back every penny they are entitled to".

He said he was "delighted" with the willingness of social landlords to identify exempt tenants and put any bedroom tax legal action on hold, while assessments are ongoing.

In Wirral, 450 tenants of social landlord Magenta are affected plus 150 other tenants. The authority began repaying the money a fortnight ago.

Sefton Council estimates 500 tenants are affected, as does Knowsley.

Warrington Council estimates 100 people are affected and a further 181 in Halton. In total, this equates to nearly 2,600 people.

The DWP announced last month that an error when drafting the legislation meant thousands of tenants were entitled to a rebate if they have been continuously entitled to housing benefit since 1 January 1996 at the same address.

A DWP spokesman said: "We expect very few people to be affected by this - around 5,000."

The department said it was working with councils to ensure affected claimants were kept informed.

"The removal of the spare room subsidy means we still pay the majority of most claimants' rent, but the taxpayer can no longer afford to pay the £500m cost of claimants' extra bedrooms."

The DWP said the loophole will be closed in March.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Liverpool

Weather

Liverpool

15 °C 9 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    Stalking awareness 11:05:

    Cheshire Police says it has dealt with 400 cases of stalking in the last year. One in 20 calls to a dedicated helpline are caused by harassment from a colleague

    Stalking can be sending excessive emails, gifts, letters, monitoring behaviour and being followed.

     
  2.  
    news on the hour 11:00: BBC Radio Merseyside

    The main headlines at 11:00:

    • A Merseyside couple have won a key legal battle in their fight against changes in benefit after a judge ruled it breached their human rights
    • Anfield residents are asking for a more detailed plan on the regeneration of their area after Liverpool Football Club unveiled designs for their stadium expansion
    • Unions fear museums in Liverpool and Wirral are being "destroyed" by funding cuts
     
  3.  
    More Shakey for Scousers 10:48: Sean Styles BBC Radio Merseyside

    I've got more Shakey for Scousers today with the witches going on about the cauldron where their husband is cooking a pan of Scouse. There's no wing of bat in scouse.

    And historian Ken Pye joins me to talk about the birth of Liverpool.

     
  4.  
    Banksy rat to be auctioned 10:38:

    The Banksy rat which was removed from the Whitehouse pub in Liverpool is being sold at auction in London as part of a controversial exhibition called Stealing Banksy.

    Banksy rat

    The money raised will pay for a disabled playground for children in Sefton.

     
  5.  
    Broken down lorry 10:20:

    BBC Travel News says there's a broken down lorry on the M6 at J23 at Haydock.

    The lorry is stuck on the roundabout.

     
  6.  
    Speaking properly 10:16: Sean Styles BBC Radio Merseyside

    I watched the BBC's Jamaica Inn last night, but gave up halfway through because I couldn't make out a word! And loads of us have complained about it.

    BBC's Jamaica Inn

    So is it just actors on the telly or have we forgotten how to speak properly? Let me know via email, Twitter or Facebook.

     
  7.  
    Jack the lamb 10:07: Owen Walker BBC Local Live

    One little tup lamb has become an unexpected star attraction at Home Farm, Tatton Park, which is a place many people in Merseyside visit.

    Jack the lamb

    The lamb is named Captain Jack Sparrow, after Johnny Depp's character in Pirates of the Caribbean.

     
  8.  
    News on the hour 09:58: BBC Radio Merseyside

    The headlines at 10:00 include:

     
  9.  
    Stalking awareness day 09:36:

    Cheshire Police tweets: Today we support National Stalking Awareness Day - #endthefear tinyurl.com/mgko259 #NSAD14

     
  10.  
    Ward robot 09:28:

    A robot has been used in a children's ward to allow patients to communicate with each other and with staff.

    Child at Alder Hey hospital, Liverpool using an interactive robot

    Children and young people at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool were able to control where the robot went.

     
  11.  
    Rwandan genocide remembered 09:23:

    Liverpool will mark the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.

    Lord Mayor Gary Millar will be joined by the High Commissioner of the Republic of Rwanda and Young Lord Mayor in laying wreaths at the Rwandan Genocide Memorial stone in St John's Garden today.

    Coun Millar said: "This service is our way of honouring all those who suffered and keeping their memory alive."

     
  12.  
    Everton for Cleverley? 09:11:

    The BBC Sport Gossip Column says Everton manager Roberto Martinez is thought to be considering a move for Manchester United and England midfielder Tom Cleverley, 23, as a long-term replacement for 33-year-old Leon Osman.

    Manchester United and England midfielder Tom Cleverley

    You can read the full story in the Daily Mail.

     
  13.  
    Latest updates
     
  14.  
    First haircut for 11 years? 09:06:

    The BBC Sport Gossip Column says a Liverpool fan in Kosovo who vowed not to have his hair cut until Liverpool won the Premier League is so confident the Reds will win the title that he has booked himself into the hairdressers for the first time in 11 years.

    You can read the full story in the Metro.

     
  15.  
    News on the hour 08:58: BBC Radio Merseyside

    The headlines at 09:00 include:

     
  16.  
    Taxi driver arrest 08:43: Liverpool Echo

    A taxi driver allegedly threatened pedestrians with an axe after they asked him to stop blowing his car horn repeatedly.

    Shocked witnesses called police after the drama at the rank in Dawson Street, off Whitechapel, near Williamson Square, Liverpool city centre, which happened at around 2.30pm on Saturday.

     
  17.  
    Museums 'destroyed' by cuts 08:39:

    Unions say museums in Liverpool and Wirral are being "destroyed" by funding cuts.

    Eight are closed today, so staff can be told about potential redundancies.

    The Department for Culture, Media and Sport says: "As with all sectors right across government our museums and galleries have had to play their part in reducing the deficit."

     
  18.  
    Heavy traffic 08:35:

    BBC Travel News reports: Heavy traffic on the M62 eastbound between J8 Burtonwood and J9, (Winwick).

     
  19.  
    Pay for museums? 08:20: Tony Snell BBC Radio Merseyside

    National Museums Liverpool is closing all its museums today to speak to staff about future planning in the face of funding cuts.

    The Museum of Liverpool

    It's uncertain times for them, so we're asking if you would be willing to pay an entrance fee to help them, and if so how much would you pay?

     
  20.  
    Your pictures 08:14: Owen Walker BBC Local Live

    Check out this beautiful picture of Liverpool taken from the Mersey Ferry. Thank you to Paul Hunt for tweeting it.

    Sunrise over Liverpool

    Do you have any pictures of Merseyside you'd like to share with us? Send them in via email, Twitter or Facebook?

     
  21.  
    Bright with warm sunshine 08:08:

    BBC Travel News says any early mist and fog patches will gradually clear during the morning, with most places becoming bright with warm sunshine.

    Weather graphic for 13:00 on 24.04.2014

    However, a few heavy showers are possible in the afternoon.

     
  22.  
    Liverpool stadium plans 08:03:

    Liverpool FC have revealed plans to increase Anfield's capacity from 45,500 to almost 59,000.

    Anfield expansion plan artist's impression

    The Main Stand would be expanded to three tiers, while work on the Anfield Road Stand is also proposed.

     
  23.  
    Good morning 08:00: Owen Walker BBC Local Live

    I'm here with today's news, sport, travel and weather updates for Merseyside.

    If you'd like me to feature your comments or pictures, send them to merseyside.locallive@bbc.co.uk or tweet us at @bbcmerseyside.

     

Features

  • Frank Sidebottom on Frank Sidebottom's Fantastic Shed Show on ITV in 1992To be Frank

    How a cult comic character inspired a major new film


  • Beckford's TowerFolly or fact?

    The unlikely debt capital of Britain


  • Observatory in Chile with sun in the backgroundStar struck

    Why tourists are flocking to Chile's observatories


  • Two people using sign language Signing out

    The decline of regional dialects for the deaf


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • PortlandTake it easy

    Could this be the most relaxed business city in the world?

Programmes

  • Papers Please gameClick Watch

    Meet the ‘bedroom programmer’ whose game has sold half a million copies and won a Bafta

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.