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Bedroom tax victims helped out by new housing developments

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Bedroom tax victims helped out by new housing developments

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Development

Bedroom tax victims helped out by new housing developments Bedroom tax victims helped out by new housing developments

Two new housing schemes in Merseyside are helping families hit by the government's controversial bedroom tax, developers say.

The 62 two-bed homes have met a sharp rise in demand for such properties since the coalition attached a financial penalty to so-called spare bedrooms.

Social landlords Cobalt Housing, Liverpool Housing Trust and Beechwood Ballantyne Community Housing Association – all part of Symphony Housing Group – are behind the schemes, which are worth a combined £6.5 million.

Vacant land on the former Boot Estate in Norris Green, North Liverpool, has been transformed to make way for 44 two–bed properties available for 'affordable' rent, while 18 two-bed homes for rent have also been built on the site of a former care home in Beechwood, Wirral.

Bedroom tax victim Stevie Dodd (pictured), 27, has moved into her new home in Wirral with her five-year-old daughter.

The BBCHA tenant, who downsized from a three-bed home, said: “I was getting into arrears because I had to pay the bedroom tax. I was so worried about getting into debt and I couldn’t see how I was going to manage financially.

The part-time cleaner added: “I now save £12 a week which has made such a difference. It really feels like I have been given a fresh start and I can create new memories here.”

Meanwhile, mum-of-one Claire Hill, 30, moved in to her new semi-detached home in Norris Green after also downsizing from a three-bed house.

The Cobalt Housing tenant, who works part-time at a health centre, said: “I am so much happier in my new home and I have saved £48 a month as I no longer have to pay the bedroom tax.

“I was starting to get into rent arrears and I was worried about how I was going to manage. But now I have moved into a lovely home which is in a much nicer area with friendly neighbours. I feel as though I can start to get back on track with my finances.”

The developments were funded by Cobalt Housing, LHT and the Homes and Communities Agency.

Symphony Housing Group's deputy chief executive, John Burt, said: “These new properties are helping to significantly regenerate our neighbourhoods and support customers affected by the government’s bedroom tax.

“While this is positive news for some tenants, many more are affected by welfare reform and there remains a severe shortage of smaller homes for them to downsize into.

“We think the bedroom tax is unfair and, alongside other housing associations, we continue to lobby against it and urge the government to think again.”

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