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Welcome to Bath IDS - housing association reveals 800 families face repossession due to government policies

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Welcome to Bath IDS - housing association reveals 800 families face repossession due to government policies

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Housing, Local Government

Welcome to Bath IDS - housing association reveals 800 families face repossession due to government policies Welcome to Bath IDS - housing association reveals 800 families face repossession due to government policies

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith faced protests today as he visited Bath to check the progress of universal credit, which is being trialled in the city.

The minister's visit coincided with the publication of a damning report by Bath and North East Somerset Council which revealed the impact government welfare reforms are having on the city.

Among the shocking statistics in the report was a submission from Curo housing group, the area's biggest housing association, which revealed that 800 families have been issued with notices of possession in the district, including 124 who were already in breach of a court order to pay money they owe.

Curo has told the council that it is alarmed at a combination of rent rises caused by government demands, a reduction in council tax support, and a proliferation of high-cost lenders.

It says that many people on the Citizens Advice Bureau’s books have debts 10 times their monthly income, with a marked increase in debt relief orders.

Curo’s own rent arrears are increasing and the landlord says it is bringing in "stiffer" affordability checks to identify people who will not be able to afford to pay. It has evicted 11 tenants during the current financial year.

“We are finding increasing numbers of customers are struggling to pay 'affordable rents' – which is the tenure that all current new-builds and a percentage of relets have to be let on – these are 80% of the market rent," Curo revealed.

Mr Duncan Smith was met with boos as he visited Bath's Jobcentre this morning. He was accused of being a "coward" after electing to use the back entrance of the building to avoid protestors.

The council's report also revealed there are now 4,621 households waiting for permanent accommodation on the local housing register, with the total growing by around 100 a month.

The introduction of the bedroom tax means the highest demand is for one-bedroom homes, with 58% of people wanting such accommodation.

The report shows an increase in the number of people seeking housing advice from the council and that some social landlords are now asking for rent in advance from people on benefits starting new tenancies.

It also shows an increase in rough sleepers - from 22 in 2012 to 33 last November.

The report adds: “The increased demand for one-bedroom properties in social housing as well as the reduction in the availability of properties has exacerbated this problem.”

Pic courtesy of George Aylett @georgeayl

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