Tenants’ only option is to pay bedroom tax

Benefit claimants hit by the so-called bedroom tax have no option but to pay up – as there are not enough smaller homes available for them to move into.

Shrewsbury Shirehall stock

Both Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin councils acknowledge the changes – which came in to force today – will not immediately do anything to solve the housing shortage but will hit tenants financially.

The change to housing benefit, which mean claimants lose up to 25 per cent of benefits if they have spare bedrooms, is part of the government’s Welfare Reform Act.

Ministers claim it will encourage people to ‘downsize’ to avoid the benefit cut, freeing up larger houses for families on waiting lists.

But in both the Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin areas, council chiefs say there are not enough smaller properties available for people to move into, even if they wanted to.

The change will affect 2,130 tenants in the Shropshire Council are and 2,613 in Telford & Wrekin, who will see housing benefit cut by 14 to 25 per cent.

The lack of alternative property does not exempt people from the cut in benefit.

Councillor Keith Barrow, leader of Shropshire Council, said: “We don’t have enough smaller properties to move people around, so I don’t see how it’s going to help.”

And Councillor Bill McClements, cabinet member for resources at Telford & Wrekin Council, said: “We urge the Government to change their plans – their argument that tenants deemed to be under-occupying will be able to downsize to smaller properties simply doesn’t stack up.

“In the borough there aren’t enough houses to do this. This will only cause further misery and hardship for many of the most vulnerable in our community.”

Among those affected are Derek Evans and his wife Frances Bateman-Evans, who were told they would have to pay an extra £20 a week for their second bedroom.

The couple, who live in a two-bed property in Cedar Close, Overdale, in Telford, sleep in separate beds due to Mrs Bateman-Evans’ arthritis and said they need the spare room.

There are exemptions for certain groups, such as those with children away serving in the armed forces.

Telford & Wrekin Council has also passed a motion condemning the changes.

Comments for: "Tenants’ only option is to pay bedroom tax"

Rod

ergo its a tax then, they (the government) say dont call it a tax, but it is if you have to pay it then its a tax, simple. I dont mind people on benefits paying some taxes, after all they get the most out of the system so should put something in, but i dont like the dishonest debate from IDS, shapps etc who are saying its not a tax, but it is its a tax on housing benefit for the very poorest people which is funding a tax break for millionaires, thats the tory policy for you.

Peter

Of course it will be the only option in many cases - because this isn't about making things 'fairer' or 'more equitable' or any of the other Daily Mail rubbish. Instead, it's about punishing the poor simply for being poor. Don't forget that the vast majority of housing benefit doesn't go to 'scroungers' or to that other favourite scapegoat - immigrants - but instead to the working poor.

Meanwhile, we can afford to give away £120bn in tax breaks per annum to the richest people in the country. It's very rarely I find myself agreeing with those of a religious disposition, but this time the churches have taken the right stance on this - it's simply immoral.

Michael Dawes

I totally endorse the view of Kieth Barrow that in the absence of available smaller properties this policy will not help..other than, it seems to me, to impose a benefit cut on the most vulnerable.

Minsters bleat about the rise in housing benefit but they perhaps should understand that the collapse of public sector affordable housing provision and an over reliance on the private sector has much to answer for. Landlords will want a return not on the purchase price of a property but on its inflated value, after the boom of the last decade. Couple the resultant rents with the falling value of income..low wages payed by retail giants returning hundreds of millions in profits and the strain on the public purse becomes understandable.

Bricks and morter, council houses, built by the public sector, following from housing need surveys, not wild speculative development of the wrong properties in the wrong places would be a move in the right direction.

Lets have no more Bullington Club Bully Boy policies and some constructive planning.

Flag

What is wrong with us as a nation why don't we stand up & fight for are rights & not take this from the the goverment. Others countrys would fight a tax like this.

Thatcher 1990 = Poll Tax

Cameron 2013 = Bed Room Tax

What next..

Steve Merchant

The Nasty Party just can't help themselves, that old traditional urge to kick the weak and vulnerable and to demonise those with the least just won't go away. This will solve nothing. Just bring more crime, more pitiful lonely suicides and more depression leading to the obvious increased burden on the NHS. But at least the Tories will feel better. They will of course pay dearly for this at the next election and the Liberal Party may even disappear completely when their despicable accomplice-to-the-act is reconsidered by the voters. The sad thing is that this wretched spiteful cash trawl and the devastation that it will bring to our society need never happen if only the government had the political will to chase the big corporates down for the tax that they owe and to come down hard on a morally empty banking system that seems only capable of rewarding greed with excess.

Brian

Surely there is case to take the government to court, if there is no way to downsize. How can they penalize you.

It's very sad to see that the government in power is so out of touch with the man on the street. If the government want to save money then they need to look atthe immigrants that are coming into the UK and screwing the state in every way possible.

twiggo

And how would we do that Brian? Legal aid is now a thing of the past for most things like this thanks to Mr Cameron and his nasty party.

No longer can you challenge unfair dismissal, housing problems etc etc if you can't afford the legal costs yourself.

nothings free

Commented on another post on this too, however as an after thought why this is just pretty nasty is these poor people cant fight back as the tories have done a good pr excersise by keep saying that all on benefits are lay abouts whether you have been on benefits for 1day or 3 years you are ALL classed as idle .

Anybody with an ounce of common sence knows this is absolute tosh .

Ok if we get a persons to take the first p/t minimum wage job to come along or f/t or two p/t or this lot lets be honest would like to remove the EU directive on how long you can force a person to work in a week loads of jobs if their are any??? if you rent a social house and are on low wages you will still need possibly a little help through H/b to meet the rent you will still be subject to the bedroom tax , the social sector have no smaller homes available so ahhhhhhh you are now working though, so the chances are pretty high you can now move over to the private sector oh hold on a minute you will still need help with H/B more infact plus you will be in a smaller property but hey thats ok a private landlords getting the dosh and the benefits cliam is hidden even from the landlord TAKE NOTE those private landlords yes we give housing benefit to your renter who works but you do not know because it is none of your business.

.

This is i am afraid a harsh lesson to all who voted torie we do have council house tories, /lib/dems and the cant be bothered to vote unfortunatly you reap what you sow 24 months and the tories will be gone but damage done again to society and to the way people treat each other but it does seem to be in british society that they need spanking on occasion or they are not happy.

Kev N

This is a triumph of idealism of realism.

Idealistically people would live in housing that best suited the number of people in their house.

Realistically there are not enough properties of the right size to make it happen.

The lack of thought up front really does show that politicians are overpaid. yet they claim they deserve even higher rates of pay at the same time as cutting the pay of those they are supposed to help.

This never was about matching peoples needs to the property size required it was all about cutting the tax bill.

Encouraging people off benefits and in to work is all rather admirable but to do it so unfairly and under a banner of 'we are all in this together' just gives way to lie of who these politicians are serving. It's not us it's themselves.

Take a look at their lavish expenses bills, their high salaries for behaving like school children in the houses of parliament.

They reflect so poorly on society and yet they wonder why society isn't as good as it could be.

They could do the decent thing like the Cypriots did lead by example and cut their own bloated wages and benefits first.

Gold plated pensions for those that represent us - yet they introduce Quantative Easing which has devalued the annuities of those coming up to pensionable age (£100K annuity used to get £15K per year income now it's only £5K - 1/3 of what it was)

But I don't see any politician that is worth their wage.

Far from representing the public they put themselves first. When will we see a conviction politician? not soon they are about being career politicians.

The thing is though there IS property's out there people just don't want to take them, Homeswapper is a great way to swap your home and there is people there who are on benifits but want the world so can't get a place.

I currently have a 2 bed maisonette and I am in need Of a 3 bedroom property, I work so rent isn't an issue but we are saving to buy our own home however the house prices are stopping us at the moment so we need to move for now. There are loads of people on there thr need to swap due to the bedroom tax but have rediculas expectations and are simply not moving.

People forget there is options out there and tenements have known the changes were coming for over a year now and have simply egnored the situation. At the end of the day this will save the country millions and if you don't want to move - get a lodger to pay the extra bedroom tax.

nothings free

A bit rose tinted glasses ,as for the lodger scenario after october you will need to register as a landlord should you take in a lodger sorry but social landlords will not be having that.

Brimondo

It's very hard to feel sympathy with these people claiming poverty on the news. There was a being interviewed in her lounge on tv last week close to tears as as she didn't know how she could afford to loose the £25 per month - her lounge had laminate flooring, leather couch, 2 vases of fresh flowers, sky + box in the background and mobile phone on the coffee table.

I've worked ever since I left school and had Saturday jobs before that. Never claimed a penny in benefits even pay for private healthcare and it annoys me that so much is given to those who don't want to work. Of course there are genuine poverty cases im sure, but there are many more scroungers - by the way I work in social housing and see it 1st hand every day!

nothings free

Sorry but view of a numpty and a bit of a porky pier me think too , YOU are making assumptions also she could have been made redundent last week ? you work in social housing , do you? what sector of it?Gardener? as you are not very knowledgable .As for all the so called new stuff oooooh flowers the shock of it your just a nosey oik making assumptions.

660, 000 homes will be affected do you know the total amount of social renters? the rest then are strivers and grafteers mate what are you ?.

I have worked ever since leaving schoo at 16 and at 50 i have rented in the social sector for 8 years it is one of only a handfull left in our village every thing i have i work dam hard for 60hrsplus by running my own business no sick pay for me when off with a sniffle or a 37 hour

week in cushy not very hard working job like you, me two new cars, three holidays , ooooooh new furniture and a decent wadge in the savings i pay full council tax, water rates and £455 monthly rent on a 3 bed property i paid to put in a new kitchen , new bathroom .oh and i pay private dental plan not private health care not worth it .

Will i give my home up nope unless they pay me too , why should i they are not means tested they are allocated on nead and 9 years ago after being a farm tenant the farmer wanted his house back so we got this as we were classed in need THEN, AND NOW I HAVE IMPROVED MY EARNING POWER i do not claim anything as such the guv say im fine and a good striver they will never punsih me and the old folk are fine too .

As to the argument it is tax payer funded yep i pay high rate tax and my wife works full time too as dose my son we just live in an area which still has homes at affordable rents every one else or large % in the private sector are claiming H/B what we pay in our taxes easily compensates for our subsidised home old chum..

What i do have is empathy for the poor folk and was brought up by decent parents who taught me not to make assumption on others and treat others as you wish to be treated yourself , work hard pay your way save hard and enjoy the fruits of your labour, this coalition just appeals to people of your ilk who were not taught any of those valuable life lessons.

Brimondo

I'm sorry, I read as far as I could (about halfway) but feel I can not continue reading without the aid of a translator.

If you are a high earner as you state, you may wish to purchase your own home and free up funds for somebody in real need.

nothings free

Although a social renter i am entitled to own property as many do and rent it out to the private sector this will afford me the luxury of purchaseing a suitable property in the future when i decide too.

However i as many others in my situation pay our rents on time and abide by our tenure and have not got any intention of handing our homes back until we decide too why should we?they will just hand it to a lay about with 20 kids an assumption on my part i admit.

My neighbours dread the day i hand it back and leave, as their house value will plummet with the calibre of the tenants the social sector now give affordable social rentals too.

What i do know is i will hand back at 65 when i retire or earlier if they pay me to go, perhaps if the social sector rented to the workers and strivers then in some of the towns and cities they would not have trouble makers living in them ?? .

But for you to condem everyone on benefit while not being aware of their whole situation is astounding especially as you say you work in the social sector.

660,000 social rented homes will be subject to the bedroom tax , out of 3.9 million social homes the other are exempt as they do not claim benefits are oap's or require a spare room for a carer or foster children a bit of reality brimondo and less of the sweeping statements .

reallyconfused

Wow laminate flooring AND flowers, whatever next?

You'll be telling us they can afford a bath twice a month next....sheer luxury.

Brimondo

Intelligent, well thought out retort - good for you :-)

Shrewsbury Mum

Times are really hard and already many people are only just holding their heads above water as it is. You only have to see the increase in payday loan companies, pawn shops and food banks to get how bad things are. Homelessness and repossessions are already rocketing and the bedroom tax will only make things worse with even more families in B&Bs and more people sleeping in hostels and on the streets. It is convenient for Keith Barrow to appear be critical of the bedroom tax as we head towards the local elections in May but his hand-wringing doesn't alter his record of taking from the most vulnerable while feathering the nests of the wealthiest which is just as bad as the government's. He's been happy to reward councillors with free iPads within days of closing the Grange Day Centre, and to cut free meals on wheels while paying consultants so much that it has to be kept secret until after the elections. His party is the same as George Osborne's and David Cameron's and they share the same agenda. He has already decimated many of the services that people really need locally and if he and his cronies get back in in May we'll be saddled with IP&E and we'll lose even more. Please vote them out when we have the chance.

nothings free

split the votes by standing as independants or vote labour or ukip or loony party .We have a tory led council because people cant be bothered to get up off bottoms and vote

kabc

This bedroom tax is going to make a lot of family homes short on money. I work 24hrs a week and claim housing benefit as my wages don't cover my rent. I live in a 3bedroom house but because my children are under 10 I get penalised. I tried to do a house swap but my house falls under a section 106 act where you need local connections to live in my property, so it isn't like I haven't tried. With having to pay £70 a month for a bedroom which is used is going to make it even harder for me as its money I don't have spare. If I could work full-time I would but I have two children to look after as well.

Pete

Try getting a job if you want the luxury of spare empty bedrooms. Stay and pay or move to smaller appropriate accommodation.

nothings free

Simple list all the smaller properties these people can go to or point them in the correct direction .

The government pay out a fortune in H/B to the private rental sector , i suggest these people go there, allowances are higher , infact the poster working 24hrs i strongly suggest you do that .

Shrewsbury Mum

Pete,

What you've written is just knee-jerk prejudice. Most people who get housing benefit already work. There isn't enough 'smaller appropriate accommodation' to go round. And as for what you call 'the luxury of spare empty bedrooms', lots of them aren't spare bedrooms at all, they are rooms needed for the care of disabled family members or the bedrooms of children at university who need them out of term-time, or rooms to enable children to stay with their mum or dad following divorce.

Roger

I understand that the letters came in the post today. It was a shock for a lot of the tenants because they never really understood what was going happen. The general reaction seems to be how can we pay that? The choices now are heat, eat or pay rent but you can't do it all and there is absolutely nothing they can do about it. People are distressed, feeling hopeless to deal with it, very frustrated and very angry. I understand that facebook has been in melt down all day as people express their opinions.

The interesting thing is that it should hit facebook so hard when you consider that the Arab Spring to overthrow oppressive Dictators was all started and organised over social media. It will be interesting to see how this one develops as further instalments of bad news come through the letter boxes.