A right-wing Tory politician has said that the controversial bedroom tax should be extended to include pensioners within its net.
Julian Brazier, MP for Canterbury, has claimed he is unhappy that pensioners are exempt from the widely ridiculed under-occupancy policy, and that such a move would "free up accommodation for young families".
The divisive tax - which sees those deemed to be under-occupying their homes by having spare bedrooms docked up to 25% of their housing benefit - currently only applies to those in social housing who are below pensionable age.
In a letter to one of his constituents, the Christian MP wrote: “There are 250,000 social housing tenants living in overcrowded accommodation and over two million people on waiting lists.
“It is unacceptable for the government to subsidise people to live in accommodation that is too big for their needs.”
The Department for Work and Pensions has been forced to make a raft of ad hoc changes to the bedroom tax since its April 2013 introduction. Changes include making the parents of armed service personnel exempt from the policy when they live at home but spend months away with the army. And legal disputes continue to rage over the predicament of disabled tenants who use spare rooms for occasional overnight carers.
Brazier has a reputation as a right-winger. He is a member of the Conservative Christian Fellowship and has voted in the House of Commons against gay rights and the fox hunting ban.
Also in his letter he wrote: “There are a lot of young families desperate to move to larger accommodation, and older people who could downsize.
“I am not particularly happy at the fact that pensioners were made exempt from this measure.”