Families hit by 'bedroom tax' tell of finance fears

Karen and Terry Avery Credit: Karen and Terry Avery

The government's so-called 'bedroom tax', due to come into force from April, will affect around 660,000 social housing tenants across the country.

Read More: What is the government's controversial 'bedroom tax'?

Under the plans those living in social housing who are deemed to have a spare bedroom will be asked to downsize or face a cut in benefits. Tenants in social housing will have their benefit reduced by 14% if they have a spare bedroom, or 25% if they have two or more extra rooms.

The government says the proposals will save money and help deal with a housing shortage by encouraging people to move out of homes that are too big for them, but Labour and campaigners say the changes will hit vulnerable people the hardest.

Read More: Two thirds of those hit by 'bedroom tax' are disabled.

ITV News has been highlighting the impact the changes will have on people across the UK, and many families have come forward to share their stories.

Karen and Terry Avery

Terry Avery had a severe stroke three years ago and is unable to use the left side of his body, and is in a wheelchair. The couple live in a two bedroom home, specially adapted to Terry's health needs. Karen said it would be impossible for the couple to sleep in the same room:

Dawn Sinclair

Dawn Sinclair Credit: Dawn Sinclair

Dawn Sinclair is a single parent of two children and suffers from curvature of the spine and other back problems, leaving her unable to work. She said she is worried about the costs associated with moving from her home.

Clare Curness

Clare Curness Credit: Clare Curness

Clare Curness suffers from complications related to operations to remove bowel cancer in 2007. She lost her job in 2011 due to her illness, and almost lost her home as she could not pay her mortgage, but now rents her home from the council. She receives nutrition through a machine which she hooks herself up to, and uses her second room as a sterile medical room to do this.

Andy and Carol Dobson

Andy and Carol Dobson Credit: Andy and Carol Dobson

Andy Dobson was born with MED (multiple epiphyseal dysplasia) and uses a walking stick and a wheelchair. His wife Carol is his carer. They live in a three bedroom property. One of the rooms has been fitted with a lift from the ground floor, meaning there is no room left for a bed. They will now have to register for a smaller property. Andy said:

Yvonne Crook

Yvonne Crook Credit: Yvonne Crook

Yvonne is a foster carer who lives in a three bedroom house, and cares for three children, two boys and one girl. Two bedrooms in her house are classified as empty, as foster children are not counted as permanent residents. She will have to pay the extra money to continue caring for children in her three bedroom home. She said:

Mark and Mandy Sloan

Mark and Many Sloan Credit: Mark and Many Sloan

Mark and Mandy Sloan are both disabled and live in a three bedroom house. Their dining room has been adapted to a bedroom, but the house does not serve their needs. They want to move into more suitable accommodation, but their council will not agree, and they will have to pay extra from April. Mark said:

Watch: Tenants hit by 'bedroom tax' tell of financial misery'