Tenants struggling to pay their rent because of the bedroom tax have been urged to take in a lodger by a city MP.
John Hemming (Lib Dem Yardley) said those hit by benefit cuts could rent out a spare room to make ends meet.
And he also accused Birmingham City Council of deliberately leaving tenants in unsuitable accommodation for political reasons.
Yesterday we revealed the council has just 75 one-bedroom council properties available, with 11,257 applicants on the waiting list.
The figures illustrate the difficulty faced by tenants forced to downsize because of the Government’s reforms to housing benefit, called a “bedroom tax” by Labour.
Under the policy, social housing tenants face benefit cuts if they are considered to have a spare bedroom. The aim is to encourage them to move to a smaller property, freeing up larger homes for big families.
But critics point out there is often nowhere for them to go.
Yet Mr Hemming said tenants with spare rooms could also make up for the loss in housing benefit by taking in a lodger.
He said: “There is also the option of taking in a lodger, even if it’s a family member.
“People in the private sector get a lodger if they are a bit short of cash.
“Well, right now the country is a bit short of cash. It’s an option.”
He also criticised Labour-run Birmingham City Council, adding: “There are a lot of people living in overcrowded conditions and the council isn’t doing enough to get them moved or swopped with the people who are undercrowded.
“The council seems to be deliberately dragging their feet in dealing with the issue of overcrowding to cause more stress and misery over the bedroom tax than there needs to be.
“I get people coming to me who are living in overcrowded conditions and would actually free up these smaller properties if they had the chance, but they can’t get anywhere because the council doesn’t want to know.
“It looks to me as if they are dragging their feet for political reasons.”