A GOVERNMENT gaffe has meant 28 East Staffordshire households have been wrongly charged the ‘bedroom tax’.
The figure emerged after a Freedom of Information request from the Labour Party.
A loophole in the Government’s spare room subsidy meant people who had lived in the same house and received housing benefit since 1996 should have been exempt.
It is thought the tax affects about 660,000 housing benefit claimants who are deemed to have more bedrooms than they need.
Jon Wheale (right), Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Burton said: “I imagine for the 28 people affected by being wrongly made to pay, this has caused them real problems.
“This isn’t about knocking the local council officials.
“This is about a Government in Westminster which is out of touch with the real lives of local people.”
MP for Burton Andrew Griffiths said those affected would be refunded.
He added: “However, the rules aim to ensure that people receiving benefits in social housing get only the same as housing benefit recipients renting from a private landlord.
“Lots of people in Burton including homeowners would like extra bedrooms but finances mean that they can’t afford it, and the welfare budget just can’t pay to give people spare bedrooms.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “We are working with councils to ensure affected claimants are kept informed.
“The removal of the spare room subsidy means we still pay the majority of most claimants’ rent, but the taxpayer can not afford to pay the cost of claimants’ extra bedrooms.”