Wellingborough Tory councillor resigns over ‘bedroom tax’

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A Tory councillor has resigned from the Conservative Party over its ‘unfair’ and ‘discriminative’ so-called bedroom tax policy.

Wellingborough councillor Barbara Ainge stood down from the borough’s Conservative Party last week due to her concerns over the policy, which affects people in council and social housing whose homes are deemed to be under-occupied and who will have their housing benefit reduced unless they move to a smaller property.

Cllr Ainge, who will now act as an independent councillor, announced her intention to resign after the ruling Conservative group refused to adopt a motion put forward by the borough’s Labour councillors, which requested Wellingborough Homes and other social landlords or housing associations in the borough do not evict tenants for debts arising from the imposition of the “bedroom tax”.

Cllr Ainge, a retired midwife, said: “I can’t accept the Conservative policy on the so-called bedroom tax.

“It’s totally unfair and it discriminates against the vulnerable.

“People’s circumstances are so complicated that it just could not possibly work to the advantage of the community, and when the Labour group put forward a motion to ensure that people wouldn’t be evicted if they got into financial difficulties I didn’t have a second thought not to agree with them.

“If you’ve had the house for 20 years you have met friends there. Often families are dispersed, for various reasons, and your friends and neighbours are as important as family.

“A man or woman who has separated from their partner and has children is going to lose the right to have their children to stay with them.

“If you have a child who is a student, and who has to come home during the holidays, they have to live with you for six months to keep that room.

“The biggest problem in Wellingborough is that there is not enough housing, and people should be aware that we have a lot of people in this borough who are now relying on a food bank, which is appalling.

“If more councils stood up and said how bad it was for their communities and lobbied Central Government it may force the Government to think again. I would hope that people who voted for me would support me.

“If anyone has a huge problem I would ask them to contact me because I know how precious their vote is. I wouldn’t want them to think that I don’t value their vote.”