Housing association backs UN official's slamming of 'abhorrent' bedroom tax
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Communities, Housing
50,000 North East families hit by ‘bedroom tax’
Coast & Country Housing has welcomed the findings of a United Nations' special rapporteur, which branded the bedroom tax a "shocking" policy that should be abolished.
Raquel Rolnik's conclusions have sparked uproar amongst Tories, with party chairman Grant Shapps calling her words a "disgrace".
However, in an open letter the chief executive of 10,000-home provider Coast & Country backed the official's findings.
CEO Iain Sim wrote: "A United Nations official branding the bedroom tax a breach of human rights and calling for it to be scrapped totally vindicates the stance taken by residents and social housing landlords.
"UN special rapporteur Raquel Rolnik says the policy breaches the basic right to housing as there are not enough smaller properties for tenants to move to.
"This fact, which the powers-that-be are determined to ignore, is starkly illustrated by the situation at Coast & Country.
"We have 569 one bed properties and on average 30 become empty each year.
"Based on this it would take us 37 years to rehouse people affected by the bedroom tax who need to downsize.
"Tenants moving into smaller privately rented accommodation would actually cost the government more as rent in the private sector is higher than that charged by social housing landlords.
"Coast & Country has calculated that if all its tenants affected by bedroom tax did this the impact on the government’s benefits bill would be an annual increase of £456,248.
"The abhorrent bedroom tax is not only causing severe hardship among tenants, but has the potential to affect housing associations’ operations with an increase in rent arrears and impact on lettings performance.
"The sooner the government has a rethink on this the better."