'Bedroom tax' arrears revealed

This Is Lancashire: Campaigners and opposition figures accused the Government of "sneaking out" the bedroom tax figures on the same day as the Cabinet reshuffle Campaigners and opposition figures accused the Government of "sneaking out" the bedroom tax figures on the same day as the Cabinet reshuffle

Almost 60% of households affected by the "bedroom tax" changes were in arrears as a result of the cut to their housing benefit, an internal Government review has found.

Under the policy, social tenants deemed to have a spare room see their rent eligible for housing benefit reduced by 14%, rising to 25% if they have two or more extra bedrooms.

The review found that there was widespread concern that those affected were "making cuts to household essentials" or incurring credit card or payday loan debts to make up the shortfall.

The Government was accused of "sneaking out" the report on the day of the Cabinet reshuffle, and Labour described the policy as "cruel".

Some 20% of those affected had paid none of the shortfall and 39% had only paid their landlords part of the money owed, the interim report for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) found.

The report found 522,905 households were affected by the policy in August 2013, which equates to 11.1% of social tenancies.

Some 4.5% of claimants downsized to avoid being hit by the measure within the social housing sector within six months of the removal of the spare room subsidy (RSRS) policy coming into force in April last year.

The report found 18% of affected claimants said they had looked to earn more, rising to 50% of those who said they were unemployed and seeking work.

But the report said: "Landlords reported that, five months into the RSRS, 41% of tenants have paid the full RSRS shortfall, 39% have paid some and 20% have paid none.

"There was widespread concern that those who were paying were making cuts to other household essentials or incurring other debts in order to pay the rent."

Some 57% of claimants were cutting back on household essentials and 35% on non-essentials in order to pay their shortfall.

A quarter of claimants (26%) said they had borrowed money - 21% from family and friends, 3% said they had borrowed on a credit card and 3% had taken payday loans - although it was not known whether they had a history of borrowing for other purposes.

Some 10% had used savings and 9% been given money by their family.

The report said: "Landlords state that they will eventually evict RSRS-affected non-payers, though at the time of the research most were currently only in the early stages of this process.

"Many landlords expressed concern that collecting rent from people who can't afford to pay whilst in their current circumstances is damaging relations between landlords and tenants."

The DWP said rent arrears in the social sector were nothing new, around 50% of housing association tenants were in arrears before the RSRS came into force and the latest figures showed arrears were falling.

Officials highlighted the £345 million made available to support people affected by the changes - £20 million of which went unspent.

The department said its wider package of housing benefit reforms were set to save the taxpayer over £6 billion between 2011/12 and 2014/15 and reduce expenditure by £2 billion annually compared to its forecast level.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: " This department is delivering some of the biggest welfare reforms in over 60 years, designed to return fairness to the system, and we are on track to make the £6 billion savings we had previously set out.

"At the same time we are helping to make sure our housing benefit reforms have a transformative effect on the lives of those who in the past were faced with a system which trapped people into cycles of workless and welfare dependency.

"The scaremongering by those opposed to our welfare reforms - in particular our housing benefit reforms - has been proven to be without substance, and we are already seeing the effects of people moving into work."

But TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "The Government has shamefully sneaked out a report, under the cover of the reshuffle, that lays bare the damage wreaked by the bedroom tax.

"It shows how people affected by the tax are simply not able to move and instead are being pushed into rent arrears. As a result, many could end up losing their homes altogether.

"Government claims that the bedroom tax will free up under-occupied housing stock are farcical. The number of households affected by the tax during the first five months of its operation has fallen by less than 5%.

"The bedroom tax is widely feared by tenants and the verdict from landlords and housing support workers is equally damning.

"Fewer than one in ten landlords say that government help for struggling tenants is working well and local authorities report that it is making it more difficult for them to house homeless single people.

"The bedroom tax is one of the most pointlessly cruel welfare policies instigated by a Government that remains determined to take away the safety net that so many rely upon. It is shameful that ministers are now trying to hush up the damage it's causing."

Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves said: " Today the Government admitted that over half of those paying the bedroom tax are in arrears.

"This shows their bedroom tax has made life harder for thousands of people. David Cameron should scrap his cruel and costly tax on bedrooms; if he won't, a Labour government will."

Comments (11)

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7:42pm Tue 15 Jul 14

beach1e says...

there is no such thing as a bedroom tax, what we do have is a huge amount of people that rely on the state for their housing ,these self same people think they have the right to deprive others of the right to a home when they dont have the need of all the bedrooms they have.
its simple...choose to not pay rent, get thrown out..if only we had a government with guts.
there is no such thing as a bedroom tax, what we do have is a huge amount of people that rely on the state for their housing ,these self same people think they have the right to deprive others of the right to a home when they dont have the need of all the bedrooms they have. its simple...choose to not pay rent, get thrown out..if only we had a government with guts. beach1e
  • Score: -6

8:08pm Tue 15 Jul 14

lisers says...

beach1e wrote:
there is no such thing as a bedroom tax, what we do have is a huge amount of people that rely on the state for their housing ,these self same people think they have the right to deprive others of the right to a home when they dont have the need of all the bedrooms they have.
its simple...choose to not pay rent, get thrown out..if only we had a government with guts.
well you obviously have no idea of what your talking about or any compassion either ,this unfair tax is aimed at the poor wether in work or not and most affected are disabled who live in these adapted houses at a cost of thousands of pounds and as their is a lack of smaller properties all over the country not just Swindon the tax is totally unfair and unworkable and while your talking about rights why is the tax not aimed at pensioners
[quote][p][bold]beach1e[/bold] wrote: there is no such thing as a bedroom tax, what we do have is a huge amount of people that rely on the state for their housing ,these self same people think they have the right to deprive others of the right to a home when they dont have the need of all the bedrooms they have. its simple...choose to not pay rent, get thrown out..if only we had a government with guts.[/p][/quote]well you obviously have no idea of what your talking about or any compassion either ,this unfair tax is aimed at the poor wether in work or not and most affected are disabled who live in these adapted houses at a cost of thousands of pounds and as their is a lack of smaller properties all over the country not just Swindon the tax is totally unfair and unworkable and while your talking about rights why is the tax not aimed at pensioners lisers
  • Score: 2

8:18pm Tue 15 Jul 14

Sussex jim says...

It is NOT a "tax". The benefit is being adjusted to reflect the needs of those who cannot earn enough to pay for their housing. If they then wish to rent a larger property, they must pay the excess themselves. Benefits are for those who have temporarily fallen on hard times; not a lifestyle choice
Recipients should be lucky that their basic housing is free- paid for by other hard working taxpayers. Although I do agree that this new system should have been phased in over a year or two.
It is NOT a "tax". The benefit is being adjusted to reflect the needs of those who cannot earn enough to pay for their housing. If they then wish to rent a larger property, they must pay the excess themselves. Benefits are for those who have temporarily fallen on hard times; not a lifestyle choice Recipients should be lucky that their basic housing is free- paid for by other hard working taxpayers. Although I do agree that this new system should have been phased in over a year or two. Sussex jim
  • Score: 1

8:47pm Tue 15 Jul 14

southy says...

What the Government and local councils are failing in telling people is that if you was a resident in that home from 1996 and before you are excempt from Bedroom tax
What the Government and local councils are failing in telling people is that if you was a resident in that home from 1996 and before you are excempt from Bedroom tax southy
  • Score: 1

9:24pm Tue 15 Jul 14

Boris says...

Sussex jim wrote:
It is NOT a "tax". The benefit is being adjusted to reflect the needs of those who cannot earn enough to pay for their housing. If they then wish to rent a larger property, they must pay the excess themselves. Benefits are for those who have temporarily fallen on hard times; not a lifestyle choice
Recipients should be lucky that their basic housing is free- paid for by other hard working taxpayers. Although I do agree that this new system should have been phased in over a year or two.
Another ignorant person who has no idea of what he is talking about. In most local authority areas, and particularly around here (Colchester, Tendring etc) there are simply not enough smaller properties available. So a person with 3 bedrooms who is deemed to need only one bedroom cannot move on because there is no one-bedroon home available. Before you sound off zbout the bedroom tax, learn the facts.
As someone who claims to be from the same county as Robert Tressell, you should hang your head in shame.
[quote][p][bold]Sussex jim[/bold] wrote: It is NOT a "tax". The benefit is being adjusted to reflect the needs of those who cannot earn enough to pay for their housing. If they then wish to rent a larger property, they must pay the excess themselves. Benefits are for those who have temporarily fallen on hard times; not a lifestyle choice Recipients should be lucky that their basic housing is free- paid for by other hard working taxpayers. Although I do agree that this new system should have been phased in over a year or two.[/p][/quote]Another ignorant person who has no idea of what he is talking about. In most local authority areas, and particularly around here (Colchester, Tendring etc) there are simply not enough smaller properties available. So a person with 3 bedrooms who is deemed to need only one bedroom cannot move on because there is no one-bedroon home available. Before you sound off zbout the bedroom tax, learn the facts. As someone who claims to be from the same county as Robert Tressell, you should hang your head in shame. Boris
  • Score: 0

9:43pm Tue 15 Jul 14

fredaj says...

lisers wrote:
beach1e wrote:
there is no such thing as a bedroom tax, what we do have is a huge amount of people that rely on the state for their housing ,these self same people think they have the right to deprive others of the right to a home when they dont have the need of all the bedrooms they have.
its simple...choose to not pay rent, get thrown out..if only we had a government with guts.
well you obviously have no idea of what your talking about or any compassion either ,this unfair tax is aimed at the poor wether in work or not and most affected are disabled who live in these adapted houses at a cost of thousands of pounds and as their is a lack of smaller properties all over the country not just Swindon the tax is totally unfair and unworkable and while your talking about rights why is the tax not aimed at pensioners
It is not a tax......
[quote][p][bold]lisers[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]beach1e[/bold] wrote: there is no such thing as a bedroom tax, what we do have is a huge amount of people that rely on the state for their housing ,these self same people think they have the right to deprive others of the right to a home when they dont have the need of all the bedrooms they have. its simple...choose to not pay rent, get thrown out..if only we had a government with guts.[/p][/quote]well you obviously have no idea of what your talking about or any compassion either ,this unfair tax is aimed at the poor wether in work or not and most affected are disabled who live in these adapted houses at a cost of thousands of pounds and as their is a lack of smaller properties all over the country not just Swindon the tax is totally unfair and unworkable and while your talking about rights why is the tax not aimed at pensioners[/p][/quote]It is not a tax...... fredaj
  • Score: 6

9:46pm Tue 15 Jul 14

fredaj says...

B&H have told all tenants that they will not be evicted for arrears due to a reduction in housing benefit due to the under occupation of their accommodation.

So of course their are arrears. Lots of arrears.
B&H have told all tenants that they will not be evicted for arrears due to a reduction in housing benefit due to the under occupation of their accommodation. So of course their are arrears. Lots of arrears. fredaj
  • Score: 1

9:54pm Tue 15 Jul 14

stevo!! says...

Sussex jim wrote:
It is NOT a "tax". The benefit is being adjusted to reflect the needs of those who cannot earn enough to pay for their housing. If they then wish to rent a larger property, they must pay the excess themselves. Benefits are for those who have temporarily fallen on hard times; not a lifestyle choice
Recipients should be lucky that their basic housing is free- paid for by other hard working taxpayers. Although I do agree that this new system should have been phased in over a year or two.
Correct.

It is a subsidy paid by the government, reflected in its name Spare Room Subsidy.

Taxes are dues payable.

Too many stupid people can't work that bit out.
[quote][p][bold]Sussex jim[/bold] wrote: It is NOT a "tax". The benefit is being adjusted to reflect the needs of those who cannot earn enough to pay for their housing. If they then wish to rent a larger property, they must pay the excess themselves. Benefits are for those who have temporarily fallen on hard times; not a lifestyle choice Recipients should be lucky that their basic housing is free- paid for by other hard working taxpayers. Although I do agree that this new system should have been phased in over a year or two.[/p][/quote]Correct. It is a subsidy paid by the government, reflected in its name Spare Room Subsidy. Taxes are dues payable. Too many stupid people can't work that bit out. stevo!!
  • Score: 1

10:13pm Tue 15 Jul 14

getThisCoalitionOut says...

This government picks on the poor and vulnerable. Are any questions raised for how many bedrooms MP's have in all their properties that they make us pay for?

How many MP's own London homes but in order to rip us all off further they "rent" them out to other MP's and claim for renting another "home" and this is all allowed.

Cameron promised to stop the expenses rip offs but has he done anything at all - no, that shows you just how corrupt this traitor is, who comes from a long line of non tax paying family members.
This government picks on the poor and vulnerable. Are any questions raised for how many bedrooms MP's have in all their properties that they make us pay for? How many MP's own London homes but in order to rip us all off further they "rent" them out to other MP's and claim for renting another "home" and this is all allowed. Cameron promised to stop the expenses rip offs but has he done anything at all - no, that shows you just how corrupt this traitor is, who comes from a long line of non tax paying family members. getThisCoalitionOut
  • Score: 3

7:53am Wed 16 Jul 14

nigelej says...

getThisCoalitionOut wrote:
This government picks on the poor and vulnerable. Are any questions raised for how many bedrooms MP's have in all their properties that they make us pay for?

How many MP's own London homes but in order to rip us all off further they "rent" them out to other MP's and claim for renting another "home" and this is all allowed.

Cameron promised to stop the expenses rip offs but has he done anything at all - no, that shows you just how corrupt this traitor is, who comes from a long line of non tax paying family members.
Finally someone who talks the truth one rule for them one for us . One of our mps claims £2000 per month for seconded home in London when he can get back to swindon in an hour by train . That's 4 months my rent . And I would guess square footage his bedroom is the size of my bungalow
[quote][p][bold]getThisCoalitionOut[/bold] wrote: This government picks on the poor and vulnerable. Are any questions raised for how many bedrooms MP's have in all their properties that they make us pay for? How many MP's own London homes but in order to rip us all off further they "rent" them out to other MP's and claim for renting another "home" and this is all allowed. Cameron promised to stop the expenses rip offs but has he done anything at all - no, that shows you just how corrupt this traitor is, who comes from a long line of non tax paying family members.[/p][/quote]Finally someone who talks the truth one rule for them one for us . One of our mps claims £2000 per month for seconded home in London when he can get back to swindon in an hour by train . That's 4 months my rent . And I would guess square footage his bedroom is the size of my bungalow nigelej
  • Score: 0

9:14am Wed 16 Jul 14

pauls55 says...

The Bedroom tax is the ComDem's poll tax, a complete shambles which hits the poorest most. How did Iain Duncan Smith keep his job for heavens sake? He may was well go the whole hog and wipe out all the poor,sick and disabled people with a shot gun, something this awful government have been metaphorically doing since it came to power.
The Bedroom tax is the ComDem's poll tax, a complete shambles which hits the poorest most. How did Iain Duncan Smith keep his job for heavens sake? He may was well go the whole hog and wipe out all the poor,sick and disabled people with a shot gun, something this awful government have been metaphorically doing since it came to power. pauls55
  • Score: 0
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