BEDROOM tax has the potential to deliver a devastating blow to the poorest people in society both on an individual level and through housing associations.
THE dreaded bedroom tax – which will trap thousands of council and housing association tenants in rent arrears – has the potential to deliver a devastating blow to the poorest people in society.
From April, social housing tenants who receive housing benefit will have their support cut by 14 to 25 per cent if they have one or more “spare” bedrooms in their house.
The inverted commas are important because a room classed as spare by this miserable Government may actually be in use – just not every night of the week.
Most people in that situation cannot move into a one-bedroom house because there are simply none available – and, in any case, they need their so-called spare room.
Their housing support is going to be cut and they have no alternative accommodation to move into.
There are thousands of other cases – the disabled, the mothers of armed forces personnel and foster carers – who need for one reason or another to have the space for people staying over.
In the heat of criticism, the Government are moving crab-like towards some concessions, on foster parents and troops serving overseas.
But the vast majority of housing tenants will be pushed into stretching their frozen wages or benefits to breaking point.
No wonder people like Janice Martin – who we interview today – feel they are being pushed to breaking point themselves by worry over how they will cope.
Not just individuals will be hurt. Housing associations – who rely on rent to give them income and credit for borrowing to build new houses – will have their credit rating hurt by arrears. That will mean less houses for rent in the social sector.
As the Government’s crawling concessions, show this is another ill-thought-out policy devised to take a short-cut route to saving money.
There are no short-cuts in reducing poverty – but then this Government seem set on creating more poverty, not less.
The Prime Minister and his Cabinet have prioritised a tax cut for millionaires while devastating the lives of people who have done nothing to deserve it.