3,300 Dundee households to be hit by ‘bedroom tax’

dundee courier

22 January 2013

 

MORE THAN 3,300 Dundee households face having their housing benefit slashed when the controversial bedroom tax is 
introduced in April.

dundee houses 

New figures from the city council’s 
housing department have revealed the 
proposals will cost tenants in the social rented housing sector £1.3 million a year.

One charity has warned the tax 
will “inevitably” cause an increase in 
homelessness.

Occupancy Tax, or “bedroom tax” will apply to people of working age who rent their home from a council or housing authority.

People affected will see their housing benefit reduced if they are considered to live in a home with more bedrooms than they need.

Those deemed to have one extra bedroom will have their housing benefit cut by 14% and those with two or more extra bedrooms will incur a 25% cut.

Senior Dundee politicians have hit out 
at what they have called the “cruelty” of 
the tax.

Housing convener Jimmy Black said:

“From the figures we see that 3,387 households will be affected in total in Dundee.

“Of these, 583 will lose 25% of their housing benefit and the other 2,084 will lose 14%.

“Tenants in two-bedroom council 
properties will lose benefit entitlement of approximately £9.93 each per week, or £516 a year.

“Those with two ‘spare’ rooms in a 
council property will lose entitlement of £20.07 per week, or £1,044 per year.”

Mr Black warned the bedroom tax will mean “real hardship”.

“It will mean less money to spend on food, fuel and essential clothing,”

he said.

“Loan companies will only lend to 
people on benefit at very high rates of 
interest and there is only so much that Credit Unions can do to help.

“Tenants cannot just suddenly move to a smaller house, because there are not enough smaller houses.

“The tax could only have been dreamed up be people who have never been poor.”

The projected £1.3 million shortfall only covers affected tenants in council properties. The figure could be higher when 
housing association tenants are also taken into account.

Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie said he has already been contacted by constituents concerned that they will be forced to leave their homes or find money to pay for their “spare room”.

“One constituent is very upset that his daughters will no longer be able to stay with him because he cannot afford to top up his rent when housing benefit is cut,”

he said.

“The crazy logic of this is that, if 
families lose their homes over this, 
councils will have the very expensive task of rehousing them.

“It would be cheaper to brick up their so-called spare bedrooms and leave them where they are.

“This is a cruel change by the UK 
Government which will hit many thousands of households in Dundee alone.”

Shelter Scotland last night warned the new tax could cause an increase in people sleeping rough.

Director Graeme Brown said:

“The UK Government’s changes to the local housing allowance are forcing people out of their homes just because they have a ‘spare’ room.

“Penalising people for having an extra room also assumes that there is a ready supply of smaller or shared properties for them to move to. This is simply not the case in Dundee or elsewhere.

“The consequence will be people forced to move in with strangers or stuck in homes with mounting rent arrears and a further descent into debt.

“Our worry is that, with these cuts leading 
to increased hardship, our best efforts and those of others in the advice sector will only scratch at the surface of the problem.”

ksmyth@thecourier.co.uk

 

Dundee Courier

 

Comments
  • Boadacia! January 27, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Buckingham Palace has a few extra spare bedrooms for us all!

  • Tali January 27, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    I’m going to ask for a disabled person’s housing grant to knock the two bedrooms together. They’re only cupboard size anyway.

  • Ian Davies January 27, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    In my area many 1 bedroom properties are more expensive than 2 & 3 bedroom properties so it could end up costing councils more, for instance some 1 bedroom flats are £20 more expensive than the house I have lived in for the last couple of years. It also concerns me that those forced to downsize will end up sending large amounts of perfectly good stuff to landfill just because they no longer have room for it.

  • Dissabled dave January 27, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    There is a way for families to get round this. If the parents get divorced they can’t be forced to share a bedroom and as they are currently joint tenants neither can be forced out leaving the other with the house. The adults will be entitled to a bedroom each raising their needs by one bedroom. There are currently a lot of cases of house owners who have divorced but have continued to share the one house because they can’t afford to buy a house each with the proceeds of the sale of the marital home, so there is precedence for this situation.

  • LM January 27, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    I wonder, does the same apply to taxpayer funded homes and second homes for parliamentarians (who believe they are not paid enough)?

  • Red Oktober January 27, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Dundee has a long history of radical activism and I’m sure that they will be organising a can’t pay wont pay campaign.
    We need to support each others campaigns to fight against the “bedroom tax” and the rest of the so called welfare reform.
    This is likely to be the “Poll Tax v2” which can bring down Cameron as surely as the original campaign did Thatcher.

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