A couple of days ago I had a telephone call from a local resident. She was distraught.
The lady called me to say she had had her housing benefit notification letter for the coming year and she didn't know what to do.
Her housing benefit had been cut from just short of £18 a week to just over £2.00 because the bedroom tax doesn't take into account income, it's based on 'eligible rent'.
From somewhere the lady in question has got to find the best part of £15.00 EVERY week.
Now my caller isn't what is euphemistically described as a shirker. She is a single mum who works hard in a low paid job a walking distance away from her home.
She doesn't claim full benefit but because of her low income but she needs help to make ends meet.
And now she doesn't know what to do.
She can't find £15.00 each week when her budget is so tight to begin with but she can't easily move because there is a massive shortage of smaller homes in her area and she won't be able to walk to work if she moves further afield.
And there lies the problem and the reason why the bedroom tax IS a tax.
Oxforddictionaries.com defines a tax as 'a strain or heavy demand'.
What is a new bill of £15.00 each and every week when you simply haven't got the money if it isn't the very worst kind of strain?
Dictionary.com says that a tax is 'a burdensome charge, obligation, duty or demand'.
What greater burden is there than not knowing whether you are going to be able to provide a home for your family? Or keep your job?
And of course the bedroom tax provides a great obligation on those having to pay it. Cough up or be evicted.
Unfortunately because the bedroom tax is a regressive one designed to hit the poorest in our society it's not one that can be easily avoided.
No, decent hardworking people are facing a tax they have no way out of.
Just because money isn't being paid to the treasury in the wider definition it doesn't mean that the bedroom tax isn't a tax to those families hit by it.
Next time a Conservative tells you it isn't a tax, it's a 'spare room subsidy' just remind them of my caller and the true impact of this disgraceful burden.