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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 Catherine McKinnell Catherine McKinnell Shadow Minister (Treasury) 3:00 pm, 23rd April 2013

I thank my hon. Friend for the powerful case she is making for the review. I also want to express my concern about the attitude that people have a choice about whether to pay the bedroom tax or spare room subsidy. I am pleased that my hon. Friend mentioned the instability that the policy will cause to children, because one of the most worrying cases that I have encountered was that of constituents who have three children: a little boy aged three, a boy aged 13 and a little girl aged eight. They live in a three-bedroom property, and they have been told that the 13-year-old boy has to share with his three-year-old brother until he is at least 14, so they have to find extra money for one year to pay the bedroom tax. [ Interruption.] The problem is not that the children will have to share, but that the family will have to pay the bedroom tax. The children are in local schools, and if the family have to move, they will have to uproot the children and the three-year-old will probably have to go to a different school. Families cannot manage to send their children to three different schools across the city. The policy is uprooting a family who are in a secure home and whose children are in secure education, and that is just one family. The long-term damage to ordinary families is deeply worrying, and they do not have a choice because they do not have the money to pay the bedroom tax.