COUNCILS in North and East Yorkshire are looking into the impact of a Government blunder which left thousands of people across the UK being wrongly identified as liable to pay the so-called “bedroom tax”.

Up to 40,000 people could reportedly be affected following the error by the Department of Work and Pensions, affecting working-age social housing tenants who have been living in the same home since 1996.

A mistake meant 17-year-old housing regulations were not updated when the legislation for welfare changes introduced last year was drafted.

Pauline Stuchfield, City of York Council’s assistant director of customer and business support services, said the authority was notified of the issue this week.

She said: “We are currently identifying housing benefit recipients affected to assess the impact of these changes and make any adjustments as soon as possible.”

A spokeswoman for Selby District Council said it had begun an investigation to find out whether any of its claimants were affected, although it did not think many would be.

An East Riding of Yorkshire Council spokesman said it was “working proactively to identify the affected households” which might be exempt from the payment and those which were affected would have their accounts amended “as a matter of urgency”.