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Police warn that ‘relentless’ bedroom tax is turning people into criminals

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Police warn that ‘relentless’ bedroom tax is turning people into criminals

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Finance

Police warn that relentless bedroom tax is pushing people into the arms of loans sharks Police warn that relentless bedroom tax is pushing people into the arms of loans sharks

The government's controversial bedroom tax has come under fire once again, with concerns expressed by police chiefs that its victims are being forced to turn to crime and unscrupulous loan sharks.

Cleveland and Durham's Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) believe the under-occupancy policy is piling financial pressures on families across the region, and have highlighted that, according to the government's own figures, 59% of tenants struck by the 'spare room subsidy' have been unable to meet their basic housing costs.

Barry Coppinger, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, said: "[The] Bedroom tax leaves many in severe hardship and I’m concerned that some families will turn to volatile loan sharks as a short-term solution. The pressure increases when they can’t pay what they owe the unlicensed moneylender, particularly if a threat of violence is looming over them.

"Deep and relentless welfare reforms have a knock-on effect on other crimes, particularly shoplifting, as families turn to the black-market to buy food and other items they can’t afford in the shops. I would reiterate the importance of seeking trusted financial advice, accessing credit unions and asking to be referred to a food bank. Food bank locations in Cleveland are on the information section of my website."

Durham's Police and Crime Commissioner, Ron Hogg, added: "We predicted that this tax would cause massive problems for some of the most vulnerable in our society. With more welfare reform yet to be implemented the situation will only get worse.

"Many in our communities will struggle to put food on the table or pay their utility bills. As these financial pressures grow we would encourage the use of credit unions and urge those affected to seek trusted financial advice"

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