Bedroom tax 'affecting one in three council tenants'

Published by Daniel Jones

Almost one out of every three council housing tenants have been hit in some way by the introduction of the so-called "bedroom tax".

New figures from False Economy, published by the Trade Union Congress, show roughly one-third of those living in council-owned housing have fallen behind with their rent since the new tax arrived earlier this year.

The bedroom tax puts an extra cost on living in a home with spare bedrooms. For instance, single people who occupy a two-bedroom property now have to pay a fee for the room they do not use, as part of a plan designed to encourage Britons to get the most out of the country's available housing stock.

False Economy made a freedom of information request in order to find out how the bedroom tax has hurt households and the data revealed more than 50,000 tenants (31 per cent of the total) have been pushed into arrears.

Clifford Singer, campaign manager at False Economy, said the figures show there is "predictable chaos" within the country's council housing rental market at the moment.

"The worst part is that these figures have been collated while councils' emergency Discretionary Housing Payments are still available; they are being used up at record speed and when they run out, these figures will only get worse," he added.

Should people be forced to leave their rented home as they can no longer afford it, they may be tempted to move into the private rented sector. This is potentially good news for landlords around the UK.

While 31 per cent of people in the country as a whole have been forced into arrears due to the bedroom tax, the figure in some regions is actually far higher. For instance, in Barrow, three-quarters of all council house tenants have fallen behind with their rent since April.

Under the terms of the bedroom tax, housing benefit is reduced by either 14 or 25 per cent, depending on how many bedrooms are left empty.ADNFCR-1645-ID-801639506-ADNFCR

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Published on: September 19, 2013

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