Bedroom Tax may lead to a rise in Homelessness
- 05 Feb
Many living in social housing are already struggling to pay the bills, and the rise from Bedroom Tax could lead to a rise in eviction and homelessness.
David Cameron says it is fair as there are people in private rented accommodation who cannot afford a spare bedroom, but the knock on effect from the cut will take more money out of the economy.
From 1st April, if you live in social housing and have a spare room you could be affected, and may only receive housing benefit for one bedroom.
This is an attempt from Mr Cameron to reduce the £23 billion pounds spent per year on housing benefits, as people on benefits are getting privileges that private renters cannot afford.
Children under 16 of same sex will be expected to share, and children under 10 will be expected to share regardless of gender.
Those with a spare room will either have to leave their home for a smaller place, or receive a cut in their housing benefit. This will put a big strain on social services to rehouse all of these social tenants, as well as the extra costs.
This is difficult enough for someone to face, in particular for those who have lived their for years with their families who have grown up and moved out, but on top of that there are not enough smaller homes to accommodate all of those who would need to move.
Disabled tenants will be allowed an extra room for a carer to stop overnight, but if a disabled person needs a separate room for their partner, this will not be exempt from the benefit cut.
If parents are separated, only one of the tenants will get the spare room, which will have a big effect on if you only have children come to stay with you for part of the week as one parent will either be paying more for the rooms, or have to move to a smaller home and have no space for the children to stay.
Foster carers who take in children also will not be entitled to have the spare bedroom, which is likely to discourage people from fostering as it will cost them more money.
Those who have a family member away in the Armed Forces will not be exempt; but they will receive a smaller cut to their benefits.
The overall effect is expecting to increase evictions and therefore homelessness as the main people who will be effected are those who are already struggling to make ends meet according to Shelter Scotland.
Homeless charities fear it could lead to a huge rise in evictions, if those who are not able to move to smaller homes cannot afford to pay the rent.
Thousands of those who have a spare room have nowhere to downsize to, so would just lose the money. According to the National Housing Federation, there are 180,000 English social tenants in two-bedroom homes, but fewer than 70,000 one-bedroom available social homes as this is just not the style that have been built as it restricts who can live in them
It is also likely to have a knock on effect on other services as the money removed from the pockets of people in social housing is any additional cash they would spend, leaving them just scraping by on basics.
This appears to be the intention of the cut, as the government don't think it is fair for people on housing benefits to have extra cash at the same time as having a spare bedroom if those renting privately can't afford it, but this will take millions of pounds out of the economy, which will come at the same time as putting more pressure on services from more people struggling to survive on limited money and needing more help.
It is thought that the economic benefits of any money gained from the bedroom tax, will be far outweighed by the additional pressures it will put on health services and social services especially due to the expected rise in homelessness.
Former Lib Dem leader Kirsten Bayes has also pointed out that £42,000 of the money saved will now have to go in to administering the welfare grants that are now required to subsidise the loss people will suffer from the bedroom tax. She has pointed out, why not just let people keep their money instead of take it off them and then have to pay administration to give it back to them?
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