MP's leading battle against bedroom tax
A CARMARTHENSHIRE MP is urging the authority and housing associations to look at reclassifying their housing stock.
Jonathan Edwards, MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, is calling on Carmarthenshire Council and other housing operators in the county, to take legal advice to see what their options are.
He has made the call ahead of Government plans for a bedroom tax, due to be introduced in April 2013.
Mr Edwards led Plaid Cymru's opposition to the bedroom tax in last week's Plaid/SNP/Green opposition debate in Westminster, coming just 40 votes shy of defeating the Government.
During that debate, Mr Edwards criticised Labour for making the issue a political dividing line between it and the UK Government, but failing to bring a vote on the matter to the House of Commons. In letters to Carmarthenshire Council's executive board member for housing Tegwen Devichand and to the chief executives of five different housing associations, Mr Edwards cited the case of Knowsley Housing Trust in Merseyside, which recently reclassified nearly 600 family houses as smaller properties.
Mr Edwards said: "Public anger towards this toxic Tory policy is growing day by day.
"That is why Plaid Cymru, along with our Green and SNP colleagues, chose our opposition debate on this issue.
"I've urged the county council and local housing associations to seriously consider, following the necessary legal advice, whether they are able to reclassify their housing stock to smaller properties in order to mitigate the effects of this unjust and unworkable proposal.
"Wales will once again be disproportionately hit by the bedroom tax. We must do all we can to support those most vulnerable who depend on housing benefit.
"That includes, of course, recipients who work for a living but still quality for housing support because of their low income.
"Reclassifying properties is a way in which councils and housing associations can take a positive and proactive defence against the serious consequences of this unfair policy."