January 24th, from 24Dash.com

One of the chief architects of the Government’s ‘bedroom tax’ has 11 spare bedrooms of his own, it has been revealed.

Welfare minister Lord Freud, whose under occupancy rules will soon see social tenants with spare bedrooms hit with benefit cuts, owns an eight-bedroom country house in Kent that he only stays in during the weekends and holidays.

On top of the eight bedrooms that sit empty for the majority of the year, the minister’s main four-bed home in London’s Highgate is occupied only by himself and his wife, leaving another three bedrooms vacant, the Sunday People reported.

The 62-year-old’s under-occupancy regulations will see around 660,000 social tenants face losing an average of £14 a week from April.

Labour MP Jon Cruddas told the Sunday People: “The bedroom tax is one of the most abhorrent attacks yet by this government on some of the poorest people in Britain.  This is rank hypocrisy and more evidence of how out of touch this Government is with normal people. How would Lord Freud feel if he was told to downsize his properties?”

Freud told 24housing magazine last year that he was having a sculpture made of two Kentish princes that were murdered in his country pile, Eastry Court, in around 665.
The mansion is one of the oldest buildings in Kent.

The Tory was flustered last week during a BBC Radio Five Live interview when he was challenged over the planned changes.

One man who will be forced to downsize his property asked where his children would sleep when they came to stay, to which the minister suggested a “pull-out bunk” or a sofa bed.

Further challenged on the outcomes of the plans by host Victoria Derbyshire, Freud kept repeating the Government’s reasons for the changes without addressing individual concerns directly.