Bedroom tax adds to victims’ plight, says West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Mark Burns-Williamson said people who had been moved to safe houses were being unfairly caught by the tax because panic rooms were not properly differentiated from spare bedrooms.
He said: “Those who have fled their homes to be placed in a safe house with a panic room should not be penalised and put at risk by having to move again because an essential room is classed as too much space.
“Domestic violence can happen to anyone and can have far-reaching effects, so we need to do all we can to help victims rebuild their lives without fear of becoming homeless.”
Mr Burns-Williamson signed a petition by the trade union GMB to the Department for Work and Pensions urging it to exempt domestic violence victims from the tax, as is the case with foster families or households with adult children in the armed forces.
The spare room subsidy was removed by the government in April 2013 in a change commonly referred to as the bedroom tax.
It reduced the payment given to council tenants or people who receive housing benefit for households considered to have more space in their home than necessary.
Mr Burns-Williamson said this change unfairly included panic rooms in safe houses for victims of domestic abuse.