The Express & Star has been inundated with letters and messages about the introduction of so-called “bedroom tax.”
The newspaper’s investigation about the numbers of people unable to downsize to a smaller property prompted a fierce debate among readers, with more than 100 comments left.
Here is a selection of the responses we received:
Les said: “Benefits should only go to people who are in need of them, they are not a replacement for fags, beer and bingo money.
“I would stop all child benefits. If you can not afford kids, you should not have them.”
But reader Jim had another opinion, saying: “This heavy-handed attempt to pare spending will become Cameron’s Poll Tax and, as it did with Thatcher, will spell the end of Tory mis-rule. The savings will be minimal.”
Pat responded to those who supported cuts in benefits and said: “I hope none of you ever get made redundant, or have an accident or get a debilitating condition.
“This has nothing to do with housing shortage because pensioners who live in a three-bedroom house do not have to pay.
“If there is a housing shortage why are we still letting another million foreigners in next year?”
Sharon Smith said: “I always worked. When I divorced my first husband our home was repossessed and I was rehoused in a council house with our children.
“Some people do not ask to live on the state but their health will not allow them to work. Reading what people think of us is very unpleasant. We are not scroungers.
“It’s not our fault our extensively adapted council house has spare rooms.”
Nick was critical of the use of the term “bedroom tax” and called it a “shameless lie” by Labour. He said: “Clearly, it is not a form of taxation. How can it be when it is purely a reduction in taxpayer-funded housing benefit paid by the Government, rather than a percentage of a working wage taken for government revenue?
“Whether one agrees or not with the view that the welfare budget has, over more than a decade, spiralled uncontrollably and is unsustainable, hence the need for a reduction in welfare, it is a valid topic open to sensible discussion.
“However, to claim that this is a “bedroom tax” is totally disingenuous and helps further Labour’s hoodwinking of the electorate into returning them to power in 2015 – the very same political party, complete with many of the same figures, that were responsible for the utter ruination of this country in the first place.”
And Trevor Lloyd said: “Why do people keep calling it a bedroom tax? It isn’t a tax, it is a benefit cut. The Labour party should apologise for misleading the people.”