1. ITV Report

4,000 families 'at risk' of losing home due to "bedroom tax"

4,000 families are said to be at risk of losing their homes Photo: ITV News Wales

A body who represents people living in social housing says 4,000 families in Wales could lose their home as a result of changes to the amount of housing benefit they receive.

The Welsh Tenants Federation says that 40,000 households will be affected by the UK Government's decision to cut the amount of money paid to families under what it has called the "bedroom tax" and 10% of those would need to move home.

The changes being introduced in April mean that families who have a spare room in their home would lose 14% percent of the money they receive and those with two spare rooms would lose 25%.

Julie Pithers has lived in a specially adapted two bedroom property on her own in Pontypridd for the last 14 years. She says she relies on income support and disability living allowance as well as receiving housing benefit. At the moment she uses the second bedroom to transfer from her different wheelchairs.

Julie says she's concerned about the changes as it will mean she either needs to move out of her specially adapted home, take in a lodger or to pay the extra money out of her income.

I think it is horrible, not just for me but for other people as well. I think that they are cutting so much of disabled people at the moment that with the other benefits coming as well I don't know if it will affect my money then either.

– Julie Pithers

The Department for Work and Pensions says that changes to Housing Benefit entitlement for working-age tenants from April 2013 'will reflect household size.'

The UK Government says that by 2013/14 an estimated 32% of working-age Housing Benefit claimants living in the social-rented sector in Great Britain will have more bedrooms than their household reasonably needs.

We will expect tenants to make a contribution towards the rent if they are living in accommodation which is larger than they need in the same way that Housing Benefit claimants living in the private sector do now.

– Department for Work and Pensions statement

Community Housing Cymru say that the changes to housing benefit will hit thousands of people right across Wales. The organisation that represents Housing Associations says it will lead to an increase in homelessness.

It follows claims from The Welsh Tenants Federation that 4,000 families in Wales could lose their home as a result of changes to the amount of housing benefit they receive.

There is simply not enough affordable housing in Wales to enable people to downsize to a smaller properties. We need to urgently build more affordable homes and our members are working on innovative ways to deliver more with less. New affordable homes would also boost the economy and provide much needed jobs.

– Amanda Oliver, Head of Policy at Community Housing Cymru

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