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London borough declares bedroom tax "morally right"

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London borough declares bedroom tax "morally right"

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing

London borough declares bedroom tax London borough declares bedroom tax "morally right"

Hammersmith & Fulham Council has come out in favour of the Government's bedroom tax saying it is "morally right".

The Conservative-controlled London borough argues that the national policy, due to be implemented from April, is a "crucial step" towards reducing the country's £23billion-a-year housing benefit bill, while helping to ease the shortage of family-sized homes for people who really need them.

H&F Council has some of the cheapest social rents in inner-London. It costs £122 per week to rent a council three-bedroom home, while a similar property in the private rental sector costs an average £770. A five-bedroom home costs £140 to rent from the council while its equivalent in the private sector costs £1,335.

Councillor Andrew Johnson, H&F cabinet member for housing, said: “At a time when the nation is broke, it is completely unfair for social housing tenants to receive a large taxpayer subsidy to live in oversized homes while hard working residents renting in the private sector, or paying a hefty mortgage, pay through the nose and can only dream of affording a spare room. We simply have to reduce the housing benefits bill which hard working taxpayers fork out for."

However, the council insists that the new government rules need to be applied fairly and has set up a housing payment scheme for exceptional cases. For example, if a spare room has been turned into a sensory room for a disabled child.

The council, which estimates that 824 of its tenants will be affected by the changes, is encouraging people to downsize so homes can be freed up for families "who really need the space". Around 48 households are currently in the process of being relocated to smaller accommodation.

Also from this month, H&F Council is no longer granting new social housing tenancies for life except for elderly or vulnerable people. Instead, all new tenancies will be for five years, or two years in some circumstances.

The council says that when a tenancy is coming to its natural end, it will be able to find a smaller home for those who find themselves underoccupying.

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