CAMPAIGNERS of the so-called 'bedroom tax' are angry that almost half of those who applied to Barnsley Council for help to pay their rent were refused.

The government allocated £364,513 to the council to help people who are struggling to pay their rent following a cut in benefits for people deemed to have a spare bedroom.

The council responded to a Freedom of Information request made by the campaign which disclosed that less than half the money available has been spent seven months into the financial year.

There were 1,449 applications made for discretionary housing payments so far this year and the FOI shows only 780 have been successful.

To date £151,646.83 has been paid out under the scheme and up to November 11 there was £188,908.88 left in the pot.

The FOI says it's anticipated the fund will be completely spent by March.

Fran Postlethwaite, from the campaign group, said when the payment is awarded it's usually only for a few months and tenants then have to reapply.

She's urging the council to do more to support those hit by the bedroom tax who are struggling to pay their rent.

"We're regularly meeting tenants who are unaware that they can apply for this help," she said.

Andy Hemingway, from Berneslai Homes, said leaflets and follow-up letters have been sent out which included information about discretionary housing payments.

He said more than 3,000 affected tenants were contacted between January to March last year, including home visits by housing management officers, which included providing information about DHP.

He said: "When people contact the rents team to discuss rent payments, if appropriate, the staff will advise them about DHP and send an application form."