Council to take £1m out of housing budget to help bedroom tax victims
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Communities, Finance, Housing
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Southwark Council is to take £1 million out of its housing revenue account to support tenants hit by the government’s wide-ranging welfare reforms.
The money will be added to the £1.1m given to the council by the government for discretionary housing payments, and will be used to provide short-term assistance to people affected by the likes of the bedroom tax and the benefit cap.
The fund will also be used to allow disabled tenants living in specially adapted larger properties to remain there without paying the bedroom tax.
Cllr Ian Wingfield, deputy leader and cabinet member for housing management, said: “As a result of central government’s welfare reforms, we’ve seen a 288% increase in requests for discretionary housing payments since last year. The money we have been given to provide support to our tenants is not enough, and Southwark refuses to see our most vulnerable tenants fall into a spiral of debt and difficulty as a result.
“Southwark has made the difficult decision to top up discretionary housing payments from our savings, rather than increase charges to residents or push the costs onto our most vulnerable tenants.”
Southwark currently has over 2,800 tenants affected by the bedroom tax, whose combined loss in housing benefit over a year is more than £3m.