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Clause 2 - Personal allowance for 2013-14 for those born after 5 April 1948

Part of Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 23rd April 2013.

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Photo of Ian Mearns Ian Mearns Labour, Gateshead 3:00 pm, 23rd April 2013

I really think that the hon. Member for South East Cornwall needs a reality check when it comes to life on the ground for families in areas such as the north-east of England. In my own local authority area, between the registered social landlords and the local authority housing stock, 4,000 families are affected by the spare room subsidy, or the bedroom tax, as we prefer to call it. What choice do families in Gateshead have? They could go to the private rented sector, where, on average, rents for similar or even smaller properties can be 25% to 40% higher. Where is the gain for the Treasury in moving families from a sector with lower  rents into one with higher rents to circumvent the bedroom tax? In addition, every other housing authority in the area—in Tyne and Wear, in Northumberland and in Durham—is in exactly the same boat. Families would have to get on their bikes and go an extremely long distance, possibly to the south-west of England, to exert the choice that the hon. Lady has talked about.