BBC report reveals only 6% of bedroom tax victims have moved
Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Local Government
50,000 North East families hit by ‘bedroom tax’
The government's bedroom tax has led to only 6% of 'under-occupying' social housing tenants moving home, research by the BBC has revealed.
The controversial policy, which came in last April, was designed to encourage tenants to downsize their homes and free up properties for larger families.
And the corporation's analysis of data provided by 331 housing associations and councils across England, Scotland and Wales found that 28% of those hit by the tax are in arrears.
Only 30,000 of the 660,000 tenants affected by the bedroom tax have so far moved home.
The policy sees those deemed to be under-occupying their homes docked up to 25% of their housing benefit.
In his analysis of the report, BBC News reporter Michael Buchanan said the bedroom tax was helping the government to cut the housing benefit bill.
He said: "This research suggests the government is on course to meet a key target, namely to cut the overall housing benefit bill.
"Few people moving means more people contributing to their own rent. But doing so it seems will come at the cost of another goal - cutting overcrowding.
"Many simply can't move, repeatedly failing to find smaller properties. With demand for new homes constantly outstripping supply, too many families are likely to stay in crowded, unhealthy households.
"The increase in rent arrears is not only a problem for those tenants unable to pay. While it could lead to evictions and heartache, it is also likely to cause problems for councils and housing associations.
"Not only will their debts increase but their ability to invest in new homes will also be reduced. Given they're the main builders of affordable homes, it will be unfortunate if a policy intended to cut overcrowding leads to fewer homes being built."