An estimated 26,000 people across the UK protested against the Government's introduction of the bedroom tax this weekend before it's introduction on 1st April.
However, George Osborne insists today that it is the right thing to do, and they 'will make work pay'.
There has been constant protests in the run up to the introduction, with many asking for it to be repealled, but the coalition argue that it is needed to free up the accomodation.
George Osborne has today said that most households will benefit from the changes, in particular the increase in tax allowance, and that the critics speak ill-informed rubbish. He said:
For too long, we've had a system where people who did the right thing – who get up in the morning and work hard – felt penalised for it, while people who did the wrong thing got rewarded for it.
This month, around nine out of 10 working households will be better off as a result of the changes we are making. This month we will make work pay.
Now, those who defend the current benefit system are going to complain loudly. These vested interests always complain, with depressingly predictable outrage, about every change to a system which is failing.
This has been criticised by The Resolution Foundation, a leading think tank, as they say most of the money saved from this for low income households will get taken up by the reductions in the welfare system.
The opposition say there is no alternative accommodation for 96% of those affected by the tax, and campaigners say that this change, with at least two-thirds affected being people with disabilities, will lead to an increase in homelessness and poverty.
Read more on Bedroom Tax here.
The Welsh communities minister has said the reform agenda, particularly the bedroom tax, will have a ‘devastating impact’ on the country. The benefit cuts brought in yesterday are likely to be felt more so in Wales, than the rest of the UK, as 18.4%of the Welsh working-age population claimed benefits, compared with 14.5% across Great Britain.
Huw Lewis claimed that the government has forced people to choose between cutting back on food or heating:
After months of debate and opposition we will begin to see the very real impact the changes to welfare will have on thousands of people’s everyday lives.
Independent reports show that the proposals will take at least £590 million from Wales and this will have a damaging, destabilising and devastating impact on people and possibly whole communities across the country.
Politicians in Northern Ireland have said they will be worst affected as is not ready for sweeping changes to the way benefits are paid, especially bedroom tax.
Michael Copeland, a member of the Stormont social development committee, said:
The bedroom tax is a controversial issue but it is even more controversial in Northern Ireland as we simply don't have the housing stock to facilitate those who would wish to move to a smaller property.
The long-term effects of proposed welfare reform on the economy, particularly on low-paid working families with children, will be disproportionate to the rest of the UK.