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    3,803 people have been affected by the Government’s spare room subsidy in Sandwell, with 2,432 now in rent arrears.

    The borough council’s finance chief, Councillor Steve Eling, allowed councils to develop a strategy which identified individuals that were falling behind on rent and support them if they are eligible for support through discretionary housing payments, reports the Express and Star.

    He said: “The way government benefits  reforms have played out on the ground is tens of millions of pounds have been spent on welfare changes which haven’t worked and have caused a lot of misery. A significant proportion of people affected by this policy have accrued arrears. This policy was about nothing else than reducing the benefits bill from the start. Anything else that was said about it was a smokescreen. There simply are not enough properties for people to move to downsize. No-one wants to evict a family but the reality is we are going to have situations where people will have to be evicted. We’re very much looking to be proactive and help people avoid debt and arrears, and eviction would be the very last resort. We’re doing all we can to avoid getting to that stage. We can’t pretend bedroom tax does not exist. We’ve got to deal with it but it’s causing an enormous amount of hardship.”

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    May 01, 2014 by Laura Matthews Categories: Housing And Benefits

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