£120,000 paid by Shropshire council due to bedroom tax

  • Due to a rising number of people struggling with their rent due to the bedroom tax, Shropshire council have had to pay out almost £120,000. /images/rent_due.jpg

    Freedom of Information requests by the Shropshire Star have found that 568 people were awarded discretionary housing payments due to bedroom tax from April 2013 to March 2014. This totalled a cost of £119,974.95.

    A spokeswoman for Shropshire Council said: "These are people who have a shortfall between their rent and their housing benefit payments. There are many reasons why a household may be unable to move, such as a specific area wanted, rent arrears, a specific property type required and support needs."

    Chief executive of the National Housing Federation, David Orr said: "People stung by the bedroom tax are being forced to make difficult choices on which bills to pay and which essentials to go without. They are living in fear that they will lose their homes and have resorted to borrowing from friends and family to try and get by. Housing associations have spent millions of pounds working more closely with their tenants, introducing projects to tackle fuel poverty and working with food banks to help alleviate food poverty. But these services have costs, which leaves less money for building new homes. As we feared and warned, the bedroom tax is having a disastrous impact. The only solution is to abolish this policy which fails on every level."

    A DWP spokesman said: "The removal of the spare room subsidy is a necessary reform to restore fairness to the system and make better use of our social housing stock. We have made almost £345m available to support vulnerable people since reforms were introduced last year, and of the money allocated to Shropshire Council over £60,000 was unspent. Tenants are taking action in a number of ways, and we have seen over 25,000 people across Great Britain successfully downsizing their home or finding jobs and increasing their earnings."

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