ELECTION candidates in Wythenshawe and Sale East are being challenged to speak out against the bedroom tax, as data reveals more people are paying the levy in the constituency than anywhere else in the country.
The 'bedroom tax' - officially known as the Social Sector Size Criterion - is levied against anyone living in social housing who is deemed to have one or more 'spare' bedrooms.
Labour's Mike Kane - who was elected as MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East in 2014 - says the narrow definition of a 'spare' room and the absence of alternative smaller accommodation means the charge is "deeply unfair".
Data shows there are 3038 tenants in the Wythenshawe and Sale East constituency who face the levy - more than in any other constituency in the UK.
Now Mr Kane is to challenge all election candidates standing locally to publicly oppose the charge in the run-up to the general and local elections on May 7.
He said: "The bedroom tax is a deeply flawed scheme that unfairly penalises tenants in some of the most deprived areas of the country.
"Those tenants in the social sector deemed to have a 'spare' room face a typical levy of around £700 a year. And the cruellest irony of all, is that even when tenants want to avoid the charge by moving, there aren't any smaller properties for them to move in to.
"We now know that more tenants across Wythenshawe and Sale East are being charged the bedroom tax than in any other constituency across the country.
"And that's why I am challenging anyone who stands for election here - in the general or local elections - to speak out against this unfair tax.
"We quite simply owe it to the people of Wythenshawe and Sale East to do what we can to end an injustice that has trapped too many families in our community in an impossible position."
The bedroom tax is levied against tenants in the social housing sector who are deemed to have a 'spare' bedroom. It works by restricting housing benefit to allow for one bedroom for each person or couple.
Those with one 'spare' room lose 14 per cent of the Housing Benefit eligible rent. Those who have two or more 'spare' rooms lose 25 per cent. On average the bedroom tax costs families £700 a year.
No allowance is made for parents who want a room available because they have weekend access to a child from a previous relationship or for couples who prefer to sleep alone, even for medical reasons. Nationally two-thirds of households affected by the bedroom tax include a person with a disability.
Where circumstances change - where a member of the family dies or a child leaves home to live independently, for example - tenants become liable for the charge.
Data shows that across the four Manchester constituencies (Central, Gorton, Withington and Wythenshawe and Sale East) the bedroom tax is being paid by 8441 tenants. Across Greater Manchester that figure is in excess of 28,000.
The abolition of the bedroom tax would be a priority for a Labour Government.