Canterbury District Green Party

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Canterbury residents hit by bedroom tax.

534 households in Canterbury have had  their housing benefits cut as a result of the Government’s bedroom tax according to figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions (1). The figures, which cover the period April until August 2013, are the first to identify how many households have lost housing benefit payments since the introduction of the bedroom tax in April 2013.

Those households in Canterbury are losing an average of £829.66 per year. In total, the figures show that 6,921 households in Kent have had their housing benefits cut with an average loss of £868.

Stuart Jeffery, Kent Green Party Chair and European Parliamentary Candidate, said: “The bedroom tax is having a major impact on the most vulnerable and low-paid people in Kent. There are simply not enough smaller rented properties to move into, so people already living on low income are being forced to cut back even further on essentials like food, heating and clothing. This ill-conceived policy will force thousands of families in Kent into poverty”.
Evidence is now beginning to emerge that many households caught by the bedroom tax are falling into rent arrears. A survey carried out by the National Housing Federation estimates that more than half of housing association tenants who are affected by the bedroom tax have fallen behind with rent since the introduction of this policy (2).
The findings are backed up by a recent report from KCC’s Business Intelligence team, ‘Welfare Reform, Update on the Evidence of the Impact on Kent’, which concluded: “Increasing debt and debt management is a concerning issue. The introduction of welfare reforms has meant that more claimants require support to manage their finances and are increasingly getting into debt.”
The Green Party opposes the Bedroom Tax. It is unfair and targets some of the most vulnerable and poor people in society. The party is campaigning alongside many charities, disabled groups and trade unions for its immediate abolition.