'Bedroom tax' arrears concerns

Two studies have found that council tenants paying the so-called bedroom tax have been pushed into rent arrears.

'Bedroom tax' debts are 'only going to get worse'

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne has said that as the government's emergency fund runs out even more people will be pushed in to debt over the 'bedroom tax'.

Mr Byrne said: "It is very early days and that's why these figures are so shocking because the policy has only been in place five months one in three people are in debt.

"Now what's going to happen over the next few months is that the government's emergency fund is going run out, people's personal resources are going to run out and so this figure is only going to get worse."

Read more: 'Bedroom tax' arrears concerns

'Bedroom tax' will bring fairness to housing benefit

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson has defended the spare room subsidy, as the 'bedroom tax' is official known, saying that it is fairer to those on housing benefit.

The removal of the spare room subsidy is a necessary reform to return fairness to housing benefit. Even after the reform we pay over 80% of most claimants' housing benefit - but the taxpayer can no longer afford to pay for people to live in properties larger than they need. It is right that people contribute to these costs, just as private renters do.

It is just wrong to suggest the early stages of the policy - as people start to adjust to the changes - represent long-term trends in any way whatsoever. We are carefully monitoring the policy nationally ensuring the extra funds given to councils to support vulnerable tenants are used well as these changes are introduced.

– Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson

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'Most of those hit by bedroom tax' are disabled

Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the disability charity Scope, has said that the majority of those affected by the 'bedroom tax' are disabled who are 'falling in to debt to pay for essentials'.

The fact is that in 2013, disabled people are struggling to make ends meet.

Life costs more if you're disabled but living costs are spiralling, income is flat-lining, and many are getting into debt just to pay for essentials.

Disabled people are also facing huge cuts to support that they need just to do the basics, like getting up, getting dressed and getting out of the house.

The Government says time and time again that it is protecting benefits for disabled people but this simply isn't the case. We urgently need the Government to reconsider its approach to welfare.

1 in 3 hit by 'bedroom tax' are in arrears, union finds

TUC figures suggest one in three council tenants affect by the so-called bedroom tax have been tipped into rent arrears.

Since the reform was introduced in April, 50,000 households in 114 local council areas can no longer afford to pay for their accommodation - 31% of those affected, the False Economy group claimed.

The figures, obtained by the TUC-backed False Economy campaign using freedom of information requests, showed some parts of Britain suffering far more than others.

  • Barrow: 75%
  • Clackmannanshire: 67%
  • Tamworth: 52%
  • South Kesteven: 51%
  • Rotherham: 50%

Housing boss warns of 'spiralling debt' for thousands

National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr - who will set out his criticisms in a speech to the Federation's conference - said:

This is the most damning evidence yet to show that the bedroom tax is pushing thousands of families into a spiralling cycle of debt.

If these figures are replicated nationwide, over 330,000 households could already be struggling to pay their rent and facing a frightening and uncertain future.

What's more, people can't even move to smaller homes to avoid the bedroom tax because there aren't enough smaller properties out there.

Housing associations are working flat-out to help their tenants cope with the changes, but they can't magic one-bedroom houses out of thin air. People are trapped.

What more proof do politicians need that the bedroom tax is an unfair, ill-planned disaster that is hurting our poorest families? There is no other option but to repeal.

Ministers argue tenants should not get spare room free

Grant Shapps insists the reforms are fair and will save £500m a year. Credit: PA

Ministers say private sector renters do not get spare rooms for free, and argue the change will save around £500 million annually.

Tory chairman Grant Shapps previously wrote to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon demanding an apology after his special rapporteur on housing Raquel Rolnik said the reform was causing "great stress and anxiety" to "very vulnerable" people.

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51% of 'bedroom tax' tenants had rent problems

Social tenants deemed to have more bedrooms than they need have had their housing benefit reduced. Credit: PA

The National Housing Federation found that a quarter of tenants affected by the reform in 38 housing associations it questioned went into arrears for the first time between April and June.

Just over half (51%) of the 63,578 tenants of 51 housing associations were unable to meet their rent payments in the first months of the new system.

NHF: 1 in 4 hit by 'bedroom tax' in arrears for first time

Welfare reforms have been met with fierce protests. Credit: PA

One in four households hit by the so-called "bedroom tax" has been pushed into rent arrears for the first time, the body representing housing associations said.

National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr said the figures underlined demands for the housing benefit cut to be scrapped to prevent families entering a "spiralling cycle of debt".

Under the Government's welfare reform, social tenants deemed to have more bedrooms than they need have had their housing benefit reduced.