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Council's 'Feeling the Pain' report shows majority of bedroom tax victims now in arrears

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Council's 'Feeling the Pain' report shows majority of bedroom tax victims now in arrears

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

50,000 North East families hit by ‘bedroom tax’ 50,000 North East families hit by ‘bedroom tax’

Sixty-five percent of Salford's social housing tenants hit by the government's controversial bedroom tax have fallen into arrears, a new report has revealed.

Salford City Council has seen the amount of residents in arrears double since the April introduction of the under-occupancy policy.

And the cut in housing benefit means every Salford family struck by the tax is losing at least £725 per year.

The council's ‘Feeling the Pain’ report details how thousands in the city are struggling to make ends meet as a result of the coalition government's cuts and welfare changes.

The report highlights how the average loss in benefits per Salford household stands at £1,600 per year.

More than 11,000 people in the city are on the housing waiting list, with 7,000 of them needing a one-bed property, as tenants try to avoid losing out to the bedroom tax. But the area only has 8,000 one-bed homes, all of which are currently occupied.

Almost half of Salford's population is in receipt of at least one form of welfare, with reductions to most forms of support now affecting more than 43,000 households.

The council says it has been prevented from helping all of the residents affected after the government slashed funding to aid vulnerable tenants.

Money for the ‘social fund’, as it used to be known, has been cut by 45%, leaving less available to those in need, while demand has skyrocketed.

Numbers of requests for financial help have been huge, with 80% of applications for discretionary housing payments (DHP) coming from residents also affected by the bedroom tax.

Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart said: “We feared the worst when the government’s benefit cuts were announced, now we have the evidence to show just how badly Salford is hurting right now.

“Salford people are being hit with two lots of cuts by the government. They are losing benefits income and the government is giving the council less money to provide services and support residents."

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