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Thousands of low-income tenants have been plunged into "heat or eat" hardship as a result of the bedroom tax, a government-commissioned analysis of the policy's impact reveals.

The study, published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), finds that 60% of the 523,000 tenants affected have been unable to meet housing benefit shortfalls of between £14 and £22 a week in full.

The report finds that hard-pressed tenants are cutting back on food and energy, or running up debts with friends or high-credit lenders to try to meet rent payments.

Although one in five claimants has registered an interest in downsizing, shortages of smaller properties mean just 4.5% of tenants had been able to move to a smaller home.

Four-fifths of claimants told researchers they were finding it "very" or "fairly" difficult to meet the shortfalls, and many said they would continue to spend less on household essentials over the next 12 months.

One social landlord told researchers: "Our customers (tenants) are in severe hardship through this reduction in housing benefit and many are needing vouchers for food banks after making rent payments.

"Customers are distraught and telling us they cannot cope and we are dealing with regular threats of suicide."

Tenants told researchers that financial pressure caused by the bedroom tax mean that they struggled to afford school uniforms, or family swimming trips. They had cut down on going out, or having grandchildren round for a meal.

Read the full story in The Guardian

The interim report “Evaluation of Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy” which was published by the DWP covers the first six months of the bedroom tax after its introduction in April 2013.

Joe Halewood, housing consultant and ‘Bedroom Tax’ commentator, says in his blog, says “the DWP interim report is as vague and woolly as you would expect on this point (and every other point) and frankly the report is 163 pages of turgid indecisive nonsense and anyone expecting some revelatory insights will be seriously disappointed”.

Comments  

#7 Elaine 2014-07-30 17:37
I don't have a problem with making those who CHOOSE to live in a larger home pay, but those who have registered an interest in moving to a smaller home, but who are prevented from doing so by a lack of such homes should not pay until 10 weeks AFTER they are FIRMLY OFFERED a smaller home. That would be fairer and humane. Why Punish people who are prevented by the Governments OWN policies from doing what is asked of them?
#6 Eli48 2014-07-22 13:40
Quote:
Just heard latest news Liberal democrats have done a u turn on bedroom tax realised its toxic serves no purpose except create unbearable hardship & financial problems to families, then without shame,spineless Labour are not happy with lib dems U turn!!!!!!! Simple common sense, there are no empty suitable to needs houses waiting for people to move into.Why do we actually vote all these empty headed politicians in?
We did not vote them in. They put themselves in power.
+1 #5 Paul Richards 2014-07-17 23:08
Hi angela & Matata2011,
Don't worry - the Lib-Dems will be destroyed at the next General Election! - Nick Clegg & Simon Hughes cannot answer any 'direct' questions regarding this - on Channel 4 News this evening the 'Lib-Dem' Treasury Minister, Danny Alexander begrudgingly said a non-decript 'sorry' (for what they have done), to the interviewer.
Originally they supported wholeheartedly the idea of bringing in the
bedroom tax (together with the Tories)
They have done a 'U-turn' in not supporting the bedroom tax as they are very worried that they will be decimated at the General Election and that they will not have any 'Power' any more.
That is all the Lib-Dems want and have always wanted - POWER.
In my own personal opinion, although they were supposed to stand up for less privileged people' - they have definitely not done that. They got into bed with the Tories and in the future they are going to have to pay for this very ill-informed decision.
#4 clare green 2014-07-17 13:52
To cut a long story short, when I was in my 20s in the 1980s a pilot scheme was started that was very similar to the bedroom tax - I lived on a housing co-op in London at the time, and we were part of this (66 flats) it failed but not before it caused misery and untold damage, if the lib dems have seen the light even at this stage there may still be a move to stop this and repeat history.
+1 #3 Matata2011 2014-07-17 05:59
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/17/nick-clegg-u-turn-bedroom-tax
#2 Matata2011 2014-07-17 05:39
Just heard latest news Liberal democrats have done a u turn on bedroom tax realised its toxic serves no purpose except create unbearable hardship & financial problems to families, then without shame,spineless Labour are not happy with lib dems U turn!!!!!!! Simple common sense, there are no empty suitable to needs houses waiting for people to move into.Why do we actually vote all these empty headed politicians in?
+1 #1 angela 2014-07-16 20:27
I have no option but to pay this as my housing association admits it has no suitable housing for to move to where is the fairness in this law I have to pay £48 per month and i fear it wont be long before i find my self in arrears

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