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Campaigners in the UK have been celebrating after they found a little-known regulation that exempts many social housing tenants from the Bedroom Tax.

The Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2006 state (in not so many words) that, if you have been in receipt of Housing Benefit since before January 1, 1996, then you are exempt from the Bedroom Tax.

The relevant part is on pages 32 and 33 of the PDF file, and schedule 3 (4) (3) (b) (ii) states that a break of up to 4 weeks in the continuous period is allowed.

Many people have seen this as a considerable victory, as it may affect a large proportion of the 660,000 households hit by the spiteful tax. Everyone who has lost money because of it has been urged to check whether they can appeal on these grounds.

Some have noted, with sadness, that people who have died – like Stephanie Bottrill  – might still be with us if we had earlier knowledge of the regulation.

Now here’s the bad news: You have to have proof that you have been in receipt of HB since before January 1, 1996, or the authorities will ignore any exemption request.

Or, as a Vox Political commenter put it: “Just been on to HB as we should be free of this bedroom tax and they just told us we need proof of being here since this time scale which after all these years we don’t. And they said their records only go back six years. My God, they just won’t have it, will they? So stuck again as no proof as housing and DHSS don’t go back to 1/jan 1996.”

How many others are in the same situation?

Worse still, look at this comment from a DWP spokesman, published in the Morning Star‘s coverage of the story: “”We are aware of a potential regulatory issue in relation to pre-1996 social sector housing benefit tenants and the removal of the spare room subsidy,

“We are looking at this carefully and will take any necessary action to clarify our position as soon as possible.”

We all know what a DWP clarification is; it’s legislation to ensure that the regulation is removed – in order to ensure that the cock-up is erased from history and there continues to be no obstacle to Iain Duncan Smith’s plan for the impoverishment of the masses.

That’s what he tried with Workfare, after all – even if he couldn’t get it right.

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