Sunday, 16 June 2013

Questioning the Bedroom Tax

Green Party Kent County Councillor, Martin Whybrow, is pressing for answers on the extent to which the coalition government's 'bedroom tax' is hitting some of the county’s poorest residents. Martin says:

"While some councils around the country have been busy 're-classifying rooms' in social housing, there is concern that KCC is leaving its residents fully exposed to the bedroom tax. I have asked KCC's Andrew Ireland, corporate director of families and social care, how many households in Kent and Medway are affected by the bedroom tax and how many households have had rooms 're-classified'. I have also asked for details of the number of one bedroom social housing properties in the county and how many one bedroom properties are currently available for re-letting in the social rented sector.

"The aim of the tax is to push people out of 'under-occupied' social housing to be replaced by others with insufficient rooms. Anyone remaining is docked 14 percent of their housing benefit per week for one 'spare' room (on average, £14) and 25 percent for two or more. This form of social experiment might have sounded okay at the drawing board stage but should have been scrapped as soon as anyone had considered the reality. Instead, the government ploughed on, uniting in opposition groups as diverse as charities and the National Housing Federation(1). . "Having met of late with residents on the receiving end of this and with the local Citizens Advice Bureau, it is only too clear that behind the stats are the human costs(2)."

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FURTHER INFORMATION: Martin Whybrow  Green Party County Councillor for Hythe - St.Catherine, Cliff Road, Hythe, Kent CT21 5XW 01303 269827  07787 124794  www.kentgreenparty.org Promoted by H.Dawe for Kent Green Party, both at 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF. KENT GREEN NEWS, free ezine, is available by subscription at www.kentgreenparty.org
Notes:
1.      False Economy, the trade union-backed campaign, collected data from 107 local authorities which shows 86,000 households have been forced to look for one-bedroom homes, of which only 33,000 have become available in the past year.

2.      Many people do not want to uproot from family and friends, so they are staying where they are and suffering as a result.  Rent arrears are clearly increasing as a direct result, with evictions to follow. “Even putting aside the moral argument, the tax also makes no economic sense,” says Councillor Whybrow. “Kent’s poorest residents are under attack from a range of benefit cuts and the bedroom tax is one aspect of this. I hope to hear how our council is working to minimize the impact.”

1 comment:

Catalonia13 said...

I'm hit by the bedroom tax too even though I'm working, would like to downsize but my HA have nothing for me "There are no one-bedroom properties available to let through Choice Based Lettings - This information is correct on day of search, 11th June 2013"
even worse "There are 505 tenants under occupying by one bedroom and are subject to the under occupancy penalty