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'Bedroom tax' hits vulnerable families

The so-called bedroom tax has been one of the coalition's most controversial measures. The Government insists the under-occupancy surcharge is freeing up council accommodation for those who most need it.

But critics say it's forcing vulnerable families into debt. Now, Brighton and Hove Council is encouraging those affected to swap their properties. Malcolm Shaw reports.

VIDEO REPORT: Smaller homes only available for one per cent of 'bedroom tax' victims

It's been revealed that thousands of tenants in the south-east are being forced to pay the so-called 'bedroom tax' - and yet it's virtually impossible for them to move into smaller homes.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed an extreme scarcity of one-bedroom social housing across the region.

It means that in Medway, for example, smaller homes are available for only one per cent of people paying the penalty for having a spare room. In Thurrock, the situation is little better. John Ryall reports.


  1. National

Labour: 96% affected by 'bedroom tax' cannot move

More than 96% of households affected by the so-called 'bedroom tax' are unable to move into smaller properties, Labour has claimed.

An estimated 238,266 households have been hit by the housing benefit cut for people deemed to have a spare room, according to data from 95 councils in England, Scotland and Wales.

Responding to Freedom of Information requests from Labour, 61 local authorities were able to estimate how many one or two-bedroom council properties are vacant in their area - a total of 9,095 proporties.

Read: What is the Government's controversial 'bedroom tax'?

  1. Christine Alsford

Tenant's worries over 'Bedroom Tax'

A woman who has lived in the same property for more than 30 years says it is going to cost her an extra fifteen hundred pounds a year to stay in her home, because of the so-called 'Bedroom Tax'. Linda Jarrell is disabled. She says she cannot face leaving her home, and will have to find the money.

Housing associations across the South say they are gearing up to help thousands of tenants hit by a reduction in housing benefit in the upcoming welfare reforms.

There are just a few days to go before the new rules come into effect. Our social affairs correspondent Christine Alsford reports.

  1. Christine Alsford

Widow packs her bags

A widow who was told she would need to pay an extra £14 per week to stay in her home, is packing the last of her belongings and moving out.

Under government welfare reforms, her two bedroom bungalow is judged to have more space than she needs. So she's having to move out before her housing benefit is cut back.

Thousands of people in the South say the so called "Bedroom Tax" is unfair. But isn't it just as unfair to expect others to spend months and years on waiting lists in cramped and overcrowded conditions?

With 250,000 households living in overcrowded rented accommodation, can you tell the other side of the story? If so email


Good news on the bedroom tax

Protests against controversial welfare reforms have been held across the region despite assurances from the Government that the most vulnerable will be protected.

Parents of children with disabilities and foster carers have been told they won't be forced to pay extra towards their rent or move to smaller houses once the Government's so-called ''bedroom tax'' comes into force. But some say that the exemptions don't go far enough. Charlotte Wilkins reports.

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