Over 17,000 people in Kent and Medway to fall foul of bedroom tax
Published by Porchlight for Porchlight in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Local Government
Working-age families will have to find another £47 a month
From 1 April, the bedroom tax – a cut to the financial support people on low incomes get towards their rent – comes into effect. Figures released this week by the National Housing Federation show that over 17,000 people across Kent and Medway will be told to move into a smaller property or lose an average of £569 a year because they have a ‘spare’ room.
For these working-age families, finding another £47 a month will be incredibly difficult, if not impossible. Many will have to choose between heating and eating. Even those who want to downsize, can’t. There just simply aren’t enough smaller properties.
The bedroom tax affects all working-age housing benefit claimants who are deemed to have one or more extra bedrooms in their council or housing association home. This includes separated parents who share the care of their children, families where young children have a small bedroom each, foster carers, people with mental health issues and disabled people who have their home specially adapted for their needs.
Mike Barrett, Chief Executive of homelessness charity Porchlight says:
“These aren’t families or individuals living a life of luxury. They are normal households who are struggling to make ends meet. If something isn’t done now to stop this policy then we are certain to see people facing rent arrears and eventually eviction. People are being asked to find more money or uproot their lives and move to a smaller property. Neither of which exists. It’s just another driver for homelessness and an attack on the poor. Demand for our services is sure to increase as a result.
“The Government must look again at the impact of this tax on disabled and vulnerable people. Otherwise it will hit our communities hard – and we’ll all have to pick up the pieces.”
National Housing Federation Chief Executive David Orr says:
“This perverse tax is doing exactly what the Government promised it wouldn’t – hitting the most vulnerable people in our society. They are being penalised for a weak housing policy that for years has failed to build enough affordable homes and reduce the housing benefit bill.
“The bedroom tax is ill-thought, unfair and will force thousands of people to cut back further on food and other expenses in order to stay in their own homes.
“It is also incompetent as it will cost the nation money rather than saving it. The Government must repeal this ill-conceived policy, but at the very least right now it must exempt disabled and other vulnerable people from these cuts.”
Figures provided on number of bedroom tax losers and average amount lost per year at constituency level are National Housing Federation estimates, based on regional level data from DWP regional totals which assume the same proportion of tenants affected locally as regionally.
Bedroom Tax statistics for Kent and Medway by constituency (PDF - opens in new window)