Bedroom tax drives massive rise in rent arrears
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Regulation
50,000 North East families hit by ‘bedroom tax’
The government's widely condemned bedroom tax has driven an explosion in rent arrears across Wales, new research has revealed.
A survey of 22 housing associations across the country by MP Jessica Morden found that many tenants who had previously kept up with their rental payments have fallen behind on their payments since the April introduction of the controversial under-occupancy policy.
The survey, which was conducted between July and October by the Newport East MP, discovered an average of 51% of such tenants had fallen into arrears, with the number as high as 75% in some areas.
The extent of the arrears means that Welsh social landlords are already being hit with an additional £750,000 in rent arrears.
Jessica Morden said: “These figures make for horrifying reading, and show that the bedroom tax is forcing people into a spiral of debt and arrears not only in my constituency of Newport East but across the country. This is not a local problem or a statistical one-off, it is a nationwide scandal.
“People across Wales are struggling with the cost of living crisis that the Tories’ failed economic policies have created. The people affected were just managing to keep their heads above water, now the Tory bedroom tax is pushing them over the edge.
“It beggars belief that this pernicious tax is responsible for plunging an average of over half of people with a previously good record of rent payment into arrears. In some areas, the figure is as high as 75%.
“This terrible tax will see homelessness soar, and weaken the financial ability of housing associations to reinvest in upgrading their houses and building new homes. Even worse, there will be a drop in the capital to build the smaller properties needed as a result of the Bedroom Tax.
“While Tories argue that those affected would be able to find the extra money, these figures starkly show just how out of touch they are.”
The landlord worst affected has been Newport City Homes, which has seen arrears rise by £164,984 since the bedroom tax's 1 April introduction. 55% of its tenants hit by the policy with no history of arrears have fallen behind with their payments.