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    New figures are suggesting that social housing tenants that have previously kept on top of their rent payments have now been forced into arrears since the introduction of bedroom tax.

    The data which had been supplied to Jessica Morden MP by social landlords in Newport and Monmouthshire show that 55% of tenants have fallen into arrears as they have been affected by the under-occupancy policy. The research also shows that arrears have increased by a staggering £197,445.71 across Monmouthshire Housing Association (MHA), Melin Homes, Charter Housing and Newport City Homes.

    This policy sees social housing tenants that are seen to be under-occupying their homes receive cuts to their housing benefit of up to 25%.

    Jessica Morden, Labour MP for Newport East, said: “We are talking about people who were just keeping their heads above water, but ensuring their rent was paid.

    “This tax is pushing them over the edge. So far, housing associations are taking the financial hit, but that cannot continue forever. It seems this terrible tax will not only mean homelessness will go up, but it will also weaken the financial ability of housing associations to reinvest in upgrading their houses and buying new homes.

    “Ministers have argued that those affected would be able to find the extra money, these figures starkly show this is not the case.”

    The MHA told the MP that 386 of its tenants had been affected by bedroom tax. On March 31st 165 of the group were in arrears yet by the middle of June, 168 others had fallen behind with their rent, meaning there has been a 76% rise since the beginning of the policy.

    Newport City Homes also reported that 1,916 of its households have been hit by the tax. Figures went from 652 tenants in arrears in April to 1,344 in August.

    Source: 24dash
    August 21, 2013 by Laura Matthews Categories: Housing And Benefits

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