Report Shows Long Term Problems with Bedroom Tax
- 06 Jun
Report shows the damage that the bedroom tax has caused and the time it will take for individuals affected to recover.
The research shows that two bedroom properties will be freed up too slowly to meet demand, even if single 'under-occupiers' were put at the front of the queue for one-bedroom accommodation, which is unlikely to be the case as there is already a long list of people waiting for accommodation.
The report has been published by East 7, which is a group of nine prominent housing associations from the East of England, and the figures are based on findings in this area.
The long term problems with the bedroom tax that research found is a large gap between the number of tenants requiring one-bedroom homes (nearly 30,000) and the number of lettings available each year (less than 4,000).
This means that even tenants cannot afford the loss from their benefits and who want to move, will be unlikely to be able to move for a long time, in particular as there are 82,000 households on the waiting list for accommodation.
Even in the most optimistic outcome for the policy, of allocating a third of one-bedroom lettings each year to people who need to downsize to avoid the tax, it would take over 24 years to rehouse all the current under occupiers.
Even if almost every vacancy was given to those needing to downsize to one-bedroom accommodation, it would still take over eight years to rehouse all the transfers. Those in three-bedrooms needing to downsize to two-bedrooms would be cleared in just over two years.
This is all dependant on what housing is available in each area, and therefore will create an extremely biased post-code lottery of those that are able to move out of under occupancy housing, as some who have no accommodation available will be stuck paying the bedroom tax for years, dependant on what accommodation their local authority has available.
East 7's chairman, John Cross, said:
If the government is serious about wanting to achieve greater efficiency and better use of social housing stock, housing associations will need greater freedom in the sale of their assets.
Only then can they rationalize their portfolios to best meet local housing and community needs.
The sale of a single property, for example, could fund the building of multiple new social homes for rent and shared ownership, or dozens of adaptations to cater for those with disabilities, or multiple loft conversions to help tackle overcrowding problems.
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